The Fall Of Curtis: How September 11, 2007 Changed Everything For 50 Cent


50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake, "Ayo Technology"

50's next album, Before I Self-Destruct, was originally scheduled for a late-2008 release, but the project kept getting delayed for one reason: nobody paid attention to the lead singles. 2008's "Get Up" and early 2009's "I Get It In" landed on Nos. 53 and 44 on the charts, respectively—a far cry from the unstoppable hit "In Da Club" just six years prior.

Before I Self Destruct didn't see the light of day until November 2009—after 50 spent much time complaining that he wasn't a priority at Interscope—and debuted at No. 5 on the charts, a seemingly unfathomable occurrence for the man that once ruled rap.

But his decline goes deeper than his chart performance on the charts. After September 11, 2007, he just seemed to lose all of his mojo. The man once responsible for ending careers engaged in a battle with Rick Ross—who had just been exposed as being a former parole officer—and somehow lost. The idea of 50 Cent battling Rick Ross, whose fake gangster persona is a veritable alley-oop pass to anyone looking for a good insult, and ending up in the worse position just showed how far he had fallen. Instead of the systematic destruction he laid on Ja Rule, 50 donned a jheri-curl wig and took Rick Ross' baby momma shopping before releasing a sex tape starring her. The approach did little to endear anyone to his side of the battle.

As the years went by, 50's attempts to get attention were more bizarre and ineffective. Just take a look at how the Voice has covered him: "50 Cent is done with the album-releasing game," "The Day 50 Cent Threatened Gawker.com, Michelle Obama, and His Own Grandmother on Twitter," and "Here is a video of 50 Cent singing Kumbaya." That's not even mentioning his weird relationship with Chelsea Handler, a twitter feud with a poodle and his throwing his own G-Unit buddies under the bus.

What's even more alarming about 50 Cent's increasing irrelevance is the fact that he's been on his best musical run since the Get Rich Or Die Tryin' years. His mixtapes War Angel, Forever King, and Big 10 contained gems like "Shooting Guns" and "Stop Crying." But 50 Cent hasn't been able to connect with his audience the way he did a decade ago.

Empires fall. It's just a fact of life. And while many factors contribute to the downfall of a dynasty, there's always one major moment that signals doom—a major loss, the death of an emperor. For 50 Cent, it was losing his head-on challenge for chart supremacy on September 11th, 2007. Five years later, he has yet to recover, holding on for dear life while trying to reclaim the magic that made him rap's most feared and powerful entity.

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