NEW YORK — 50 Cent has been on a high-octane promotional run for the past few weeks to support his latest effort Before I Self Destruct, and on Monday night, the hulking rapper ended his trek where it all began, on the streets of New York.
Flanked by his G-Unit family and hundreds of fans who waited outside in the cold to catch a glimpse of the entertainer, 50 Cent made good on his promise to deliver a good show at Manhattan's Highline Ballroom for MySpace's The 50th Release show.
G-Unit's Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo were first up to bat, bouncing back and forth, exchanging raps as fans waited for the main event.
As he did on the previous night's American Music Awards performance with Eminem, 50 slyly made his entrance onto the stage to the sounds of yells and screams and launched right into his verse from "Crack a Bottle."
"It's bottle, after bottle/ The money ain't a thing when you party with me," 50 rapped as the crowd joined in. "It's what we into, it's simple/ We ball outta control like you wouldn't believe."
Clad in a black-and-tan leather vest, oatmeal Timberland boots and shiny jewelry, 50 went into some of his darkest rap tales.
"I done told you, boy, I'm a soldier boy/ I got no choice but to be a rider/ I approach you, boy, with the toaster boy/ Get to point-blank range and fire," Fif warned on the catchy song "G-Unit Rider, Part 2." 50 followed up the melodic track with more smash songs from his vault: "I Get Money," "What Up Gangsta" and "Crime Wave." The MC grinned from ear to ear, commanding the audience's attention with each lyric.
Next, 50 turned his attention to the many female patrons in the audience with the single "Baby by Me." The song's introduction excited one woman so much, she leaped a few feet from the adjacent V.I.P. area, just to get closer to the stage. Fif then launched into his new single, "Do You Think About Me," joined by guest crooner Governor.
Midway through the show, he turned things up a notch.
"Where my n---a at?" 50 shouted. As Jay-Z's "Do It Again" track sounded off, Beanie Sigel emerged from the bowels of the backstage area and dived head first into his verse off the record.
"You know how Mac come through on the club tip/ Everybody real deep on that thug sh--/ Cop Cris' spray the club on that thug sh--/ Cop frisks suits snub in the club quick," Beanie rapped.
Moments before his surprise appearance Beanie talked to MTV News about his newfound alliance with 50 Cent.
"It means a lot," he said of joining 50 for his hometown performance. "I'm here. I'm in New York."
Sigel, with some assistance from 50 Cent, has fired a number of pot shots at onetime mentor Jay-Z. But through it all, Beanie says that his music will remain pure. "I'mma continue to do my thing," he said. "And I'mma be in this music business, putting out good music, quality music. And I'mma stay grounded in relation with me and the people who I represent and speak for. The people in the streets who's doing they thing. That's what I'm here to do, and I'mma always do that.
Beans and 50 performed the Jay-Z dis record "I Go Off" for the first time on a public platform.
"I'll give you something to talk about/ Come 'round me frontin' I'll air you out, I go off," 50 rapped.
Following the brief set, 50 got back to reminding the crowd why he's still a force to be reckoned with, sprinting through more hits from his endless catalog, old and new, including "P.I.M.P.," "Just a Little Bit," "Magic Stick" and the open letter to ousted G-Unit members Young Buck and Game, "So Disrespectful."
Shortly before closing out his performance, in true bad-boy fashion, 50 joked on members of the New York Police Department, who were also in attendance.
"Every time I come to New York, you see the police right next to you," 50 said, pointing to the various plain-clothes cops in the crowd. "You gotta watch them. It's the hip-hop police. They make like I'm a terrorist or some sh--. I ain't do nothing to nobody. But you gotta watch them, 'cause they're watching you."