The Love Song

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On February 6, 2003, American rapper 50 cent released his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’. It is his best-selling album to date, selling more than 8 million copies making it the fourth best-selling hip hop album in the United States. Released as the albums second single, “21 Questions” became 50 Cent’s second number one hit song, after “In Da Club.” Growing up, I was frequently exposed to 50 Cent and Eminem; they were the first two artists that introduced me to world of hip-hop. In 2003, my brother was a junior in high school and I was a second grader. Every night before he went to sleep, he liked to listen to music on his stereo, which meant that I had to listen to it as well because we shared a room together. The one song that I could remember listening to was “21 Questions.” When I think of 50 Cent, I think of “21 Questions” because this was one of his first songs that made me admire him as artist and an individual, especially after seeing his music video a countless number of times, which also reached number one.

50 Cent admitted to MTV that an LL Cool J track inspired him to make that song, his first romantic track. He was quoted as saying: “I really made that record because I was in a car and LL Cool J came on. The girl next to me was all into it. It was a soft record, but she was so into the record that I said, ‘I want to make something that makes girls respond like that to me.”  Apparently when 50 Cent worked with producer Dr. Dre on the album, Dre stated that he did not want “21 Questions” on the album.  According to 50 Cent, “Dre was, like, ‘How you goin’ to be gangsta this and that and then put this sappy love song on?'” Well, good thing 50 Cent didn’t listen to him. “21 Questions” was a song that not only made 50 Cent appeal more to women, but also to the general public in general. It portrayed a positive light on his hardcore image. After “21 Questions,” 50 Cent was a ladies man, a sweetheart, a baby face, a man that was no longer intimidating; he became an approachable, likable figure. The tattoos, the muscles, and the badass persona turned 50 Cent into a sex symbol, which not only made him more charming, but also more marketable. These are the lyrics that won the hearts of countless women:

New York City!
You are now rapping, with 50 Cent
You gotta love it,
I just wanna chill and twist a lot
Catch suns in my 7-45
You drive me crazy shorty I
Need to see you and feel you next to me
I provide everything you need and I
Like your smile I don’t wanna see you cry
Got some questions that I got to ask and I
Hope you can come up with the answers babe

50 Cent starts off by proudly repping his east coast roots of New York, making himself into a relatable figure. Obviously, by the lyrics and tone of the song, he sets a gloomy mood. Then, he starts to speak and the listener feels safe like it’s actually going to be alright. He appears to be holding your head up by telling you “I like your smile, I don’t wanna see you cry.” He portrays himself as a strong man that a woman can fall back on and feel safe with.

[Chorus]

Girl, It’s easy to love me now
Would you love me if I was down and out?
Would you still have love for me?
Girl, It’s easy to love me now
Would you love me if I was down and out?
Would you still have love for me girl?

After having that strong masculine opening, Nate Dogg comes in and now, almost as if it was 50 Cent’s alter-ego, presents a man’s necessity to feel that same security from a woman in return. The trust, the supportiveness, and reliability that a woman can bring is necessitated, throwing away the macho man persona and revealing the vulnerability that every man possesses.

(Lyrics can be found on http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858484816/)
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