NEW YORK — For fans of New York hip-hop, it was an amazing sight: [artist id="860639"]50 Cent[/artist] surrounded by not just the [artist id="1237480"]G-Unit[/artist], but D-Block, the [artist id="1232931"]Diplomats[/artist], [artist id="1244296"]Red Café[/artist], [artist id="1886999"]Cory Gunz[/artist], [artist id="1595900"]Maino[/artist] and newcomer Trav. What a moment! On Saturday night, Fif held his first ThisIs50 Music Festival on Governors Island (a longtime military base in New York Harbor that is gradually being transformed into a public park), where some of his favorite artists converged on one stage.
“I wanted to make a festival that didn’t necessarily have to have an artist [who has a] single in rotation at the time,” 50 explained to MTV News at the show. “That doesn’t directly reflect good hip-hop. It reflects marketing dollars spent by the major corporations, the companies. Tonight we have everybody that means something to us musically in one spot. When I bring Cory Gunz, Trav, Maino …”
Just then D-Block rolled up.
“Check this out, this is impressive: Now we got Jadakiss out here. This is real! Tell me anywhere else you can go where you can see everybody. It represents different portions of hip-hop. You got the Lox, the new young gunners Cory Gunz, Trav, Maino. Jimmy [Jones] and Juelz [Santana] coming. They say New York City, we don’t actually get along, that’s not true. We could work together and get more money than we can get apart, and they gonna see us do it in the future.”
Fif’s bill also included openers Wale and Kid Cudi, who brought all the hits from their young careers such as “Chillin’ ” and “Day N’ Nite,” respectively. Then you had Papoose, Slaughterhouse, the aforementioned Cory Gunz and Trav, then the more established crews — Diplomats, D-Block and G-Unit — closing out.
“We mixed it up,” Fif said of the set. “We made a set that got all of us rocking. They get to see it properly, so they get to see all of us rocking at different points in the actual sets, not just who got positioned. You know how sometimes you go to the tour and some people’s music is louder than others? They fix it. As long as [the audience] leaves saying that everybody that came out to the festival had a good time, it’s mission accomplished.”
The Dips came out with a flurry of their NYC bred hits such as “Gangsta Music” and “Hey Ma.” The Unit was next.
50, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo came out to “Crack a Bottle” and Fif threw his leather jacket (probably worth a few thousand dollars) out in the crowd. “Ryder Music” came next, followed by a small piece of “I Get Money.” Shortly after Fif rapped his classic line “have a baby by me baby, be a millionaire,” the music transitioned to Fif’s new single, “Baby by Me.”
Shortly into that song, Fif instructed DJ Whoo Kid to stop the music. He wasn’t getting the reaction he wanted.
“Who did you come to see?” he asked. “I know. We in New York City and they don’t wanna hear the lovey dovey sh–. You want me to take y’all back?
“What Up Gangsta” came next.
After “OK, You’re Right,” Fif turned the stage over to D-Block for a short set. The Yonkers collective rocked the crowd with hardcore tunes such as “Walk Witt Me,” “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye” and “Who’s Real.”
The Unit came back out with “Ayo Technology” and a sprinkling of other hits before giving Maino some shine with his big hit “Hi Hater” and “All the Above.” Red Café and Wyclef Jean also made guest appearances — Clef jumped in the crowd during his performance.
“50 Cent represents the struggle of the black man,” Jean proclaimed before going into “Sweetest Girl.”
50 Banks and Yayo returned for a fuller, complete version of “I Get Money” and closed, bringing out ’90s-era R&B group Intro for their “Funny How Time Flies” — it’s one of Fif’s favorite records.
The ThisIs50 Festival may not be a one-off — Fif said he’s thinking about taking the show on the road.