It was a night of celebration in the United Center on September 16, as 50 Cent brought his “The Final Lap” Tour to Chicago. The tour marks the 20th anniversary of 50’s legendary debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which debuted and peaked at number one in 2003, and has been ranked by many publications as one of the best albums of the 2000s. 

The tour is lengthy, with three legs and 69 shows consisting of dates in North America, Europe, Asia, and oceanic territories like Australia and New Zealand. Opening the tour for the first leg dates in North America, is Chicago native, singer Jeremih. The tour also features Hip-Hop legend and guest for all dates, Busta Rhymes.

Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is now nine times platinum. During his career, 50 Cent was known for writing classic hooks and dominating radio air waves with songs like “In da Club,” “P.I.M.P.,” and “Candy Shop.” Now, 50 is more known for his business endeavors and for executive producing some of tv’s biggest shows, such as “Power,” “B.M.F.,” and “Force,” which was shot in Chicago, just to name a few. 

The show is truly a celebration of Hip Hop in its 50th Anniversary. As these rap legends tour together, it will be further proof that Black culture has positively affected, influenced and changed the world.

Here’s our review of “The Final Lap Tour” in Chicago. 

What was the best part of the concert?

The best part of the concert was simply, 50 Cent. But more specifically, the first 30 minutes of his set. To start, 50 opened with “We On Some Shit,” a deep cut and fan favorite from his third studio album, “Curtis.” 

He would then rip into what seemed like a never ending medley of bangers, starting with “What Up Gangsta”, which instantly blew the roof off the United Center the minute the beat dropped––and Tony Yayo and Uncle Murda of G-Unit joined 50 on stage.

It wasn’t long before 50 was in a groove, performing “Hate It or Love It”, “If I Can’t,” “Magic Stick,” “P.I.M.P.,” and “Candy Shop.” This was all before even addressing the crowd. Standing in the United Center, it was undeniable, 50 has some of the greatest hooks in rap history. His concert is a testament to the mass appeal of his music. The entire crowd was dancing and it was nonstop. All in all, let’s just say 50 didn’t waste any time getting to business.

Was Chicago feeling the lineup?

Ok, so y’all know we gotta set the scene. Let’s just say the auntie’s were definitely in the building! Busta Rhymes, now 51, and 50 Cent, 48, naturally attracted an older crowd. But overall, this show was a gathering of hip-hop fans of all ages and ethnicities. The crowd was a direct reflection of the reach and influence of these two hip-hop legends. 

The show started with the Chicago native, Jeremih, who at first seemed to not belong when stacked up against Busta Rhymes and 50 Cent, but of course was a big hit in the United Center. Not only did he sound good, he also took time out of his set to bring out hometown legends Twista, performing “Celebrity Overnight”,  Do or Die with “Po Pimp”, and Crucial Conflict performing their hit single, “Hay.” This instantly won the crowd over, and was fitting for yet another celebration of Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary in Chicago. 

Busta Rhymes is also no stranger to Chicago, just headlining last year’s Hyde Park Summerfest. All in all, the combination of Chicago legends, and two majorly influential artists, was a recipe for an entertaining night.

What was the flow of the concert?

So we all know 50 Cent to be a businessman. Well this show was business as usual, running on what seemed to be a strict schedule.

One thing that struck me as odd and awkward, was the time in between artists. This time, as usual, is used to make necessary changes to the stage and equipment for each artist. But to my surprise, unlike other shows, there was no DJ to tend to the crowd. There was light music being played over the speakers, but the effect that a DJ has on a crowd at a show is unmatched, and was missed at this show.

Instead, Busta Rhymes and 50 Cent both took the stage without any DJ set or crowd interaction. Aside from that, the show flowed flawlessly. 50 cent had many outfit changes, but they were quick, seamless, and didn’t take away from the show at all. 

50 had brought out many of the actors from a few of his hit tv shows, most notably Joseph Sikora, who plays Tommy on “Power” and “Force”, and Larenz Tate, the famous actor, who currently plays Rashad Tate in Power Book II: Ghost. 

While all of this was a pleasant surprise, it added to the overall length of the show. As the show lingered along, the enthusiasm of this older crowd began to wither. Jeremih would perform “All On Me” with 50, and “Birthday Sex” alone. At this moment the show seemed to lose a bit of momentum. Nonetheless, Jeremih made his exit, and the energy picked back up as 50 Cent began to rattle off hits again.

How long was the concert?

Everything seemed to be right on schedule, a delightful surprise for a rap show. The length of 50 Cent’s performance felt fulfilling, taking the stage at 9:10 p.m., and ending around 10:45. During his set, he brought out Jeremih, to sing his hit, “Birthday Sex”, once again, this time in front of a packed United Center.

After Jeremih, 50 would appear to end the show. But not before performing a montage of hits, consisting of “Baby by Me,” “Many Men,” “I’m the Man,” and ending with his most recognizable song “In da Club.” When he finished performing “In da Club”, his biggest smash hit from 2003’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, streamers and confetti blew from the stage,  It was the perfect climactic ending to a celebratory concert of all the legends’ accomplishments.  How else could it end?

50 Cent would leave the stage and fans would start to exit the arena. This is when we heard the voice of Tony Yayo, long time G-Unit member. To my astonishment, he was inciting a 50 Cent encore, unprovoked by the crowd, commanding the crowd to chant “50 Cent, 50 Cent!”

This struck me, I was jared at the spectacle of a forced encore, one that this crowd of 40 and 50 somethings seemed to want no parts of. The crowd seemed exhausted, but this encore seemed to be set in stone, and was clearly planned from the beginning. Performing songs like His remix to Chief Keefs, “Sober,” “Stunt 101,” and one of his first hits, “Wanksta”, and ending with “I’ll Whip Ya Head Boy”.

Ultimately the show didn’t end until 10:45, making his set around an hour and a half long. The encore, unfortunately, came off as corny, and ruined what I thought was a storybook ending to a night of celebration.

OK, so how would you sum up Busta and 50's performances?

Busta seemed winded. Awkward, and overly aggressive when addressing the crowd, Busta’s command of the stage seemed off balanced. Many times the legend stopped the show, directing the crowd to put their phones away, demanding more energy, or to sing his songs louder. 

At times it felt like Busta spent more time talking to the crowd than performing, cutting his songs off and not performing more than one verse for most of his songs. Nonetheless, he was entertaining, ending his set while Popping bottles of champagne and splashing the first couple of rows with liquor to the beginning of his major hit, “Pass the Courvoisier,”  before he made his final exit. 

Yet, 50 proved why he deserved the headlining spot. Although his set seemed to drag along longer than it needed to, he seemed to be in impeccable shape, keeping up the same energetic pace for his entire set. A take away from 50, is that he doesn’t talk much. Besides a few bad attempts at humor, including calling out Diddy, and his secret parties once again, 50 was about the business of performing.

This was a representation of our culture at the highest level. Fans were lucky to witness, what I’m sure will be remembered as a historic moment, in an arena that has already been a backdrop to Black history.

is a culture correspondent with The TRiiBE.