Ten years ago today, the hip-hop landscape shifted. 50 Cent, a young upstart from Queens, New York, put the rap game in a chokehold with the release of his debut studio album "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." The album was an audio snapshot of a hustler balancing machismo with romance and vengeance with ego. On "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," 50 pocked gritty street tales with stitched hooks that thawed the iciest of haters, mainstreaming a style popularized by his foe Ja Rule and appropriated to boost his own ascent.
The album, released on February 6, 2003, debuted atop the Billboard 200 with a staggering 872,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and held court at No. 1 for six weeks. It also presided over the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for eight weeks, and has since moved 8,172,000 copies to become the fourth best-selling hip-hop album in the United States.