Friday night (July 17) was a movie. Accompanied by special guest Fabolous, G-Unit took the stage in London for the first time in 7 years. Unfortunately, Young Buck couldn’t make it but the remaining members definitely held it down for him.
50 Cent’s Power co-star Rotimi takes the stage and while most are unfamiliar with him, there’s a liveliness in his step. Three or four club records go by and he not only spits but sings too. By the end of his set, he earns respect from London. When it’s announced that Fabolous is just moments away from performing, people’s ears perk up. Loso goes back and forth between old and new songs without ever really losing momentum in the set. It’s a much needed reminder that he’s really a young OG and deserves far more respect than he receives.
Finally, 50 comes out to ‘Hustler’, the Jake One-produced standout from his last street album Animal Ambition. It’s far from his biggest record but he commands the stage effortlessly. A few records in and it’s time to take it back to Queens. The unmistakable bass from ‘What Up Gangsta’ hits and garners easily the biggest reaction of the night so far. Perhaps this should have been the show opener.
The next notable moment is ‘I Get Money’ for which 50 brings out a young boy to share the stage with him. He’s shy and looks no older than 11 or 12, likely the winner of a competition and largely unaware of the amount of jealous eyes on him. He stares innocently into the crowd while 50 talks about “spraying the lead” and making hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s an interesting juxtaposition. After a few seconds of discomfort, 50 props him up onto a speaker. All of a sudden we hear ‘P.I.M.P.”s steel drums hit and anyone in the arena who wasn’t on their feet before certainly is now to sing in unison.
Soon enough it’s Banks’ time to shine. The ‘Start It Up’ instrumental is by far one of the most underrated beats of our generation and it sounds amazing throughout the O2’s system. If Banks is the reserved member of the group, it’s difficult to tell now. To top it off, Fab jumps back on stage to perform his verse on the record as well as on ‘Beamer Benz Or Bentley’ before performing the ‘Cuffin Season’ remix with 50. Our minds are taken right back to Summer Jam 2014 when the duo debuted the remix, the same night that G-Unit reunited. It’s been a good year for them.
Just hours ago, Tony Yayo was updating his Instagram with pictures of himself at Big Ben, The London Eye and Buckingham Palace. He seems truly grateful to be here and fills his unofficial role as the crew’s hypeman well. Not to mention that ‘So Seductive’ receives one of the biggest pops of the night.
50 then does ‘Hold On’ and is soon followed by another banger from Animal Ambition, ‘Don’t Worry Bout It’. It’s an ironic song choice considering 50’s recent filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Taking a look at the chain swinging around his neck, I have a feeling that he won’t be going broke any time soon.
It’s Kidd Kidd’s time to prove himself now and he starts it off with his new banger ‘Ejected‘. He gets caught up in the heat of the moment and jumps off stage to shake hands with fans lucky enough to be in the front row, all while performing the Lil Wayne collaboration. For many like myself, the first introduction to Kidd Kidd was back when he was with Young Money in 2008. Going by Nutt Da Kidd at the time (thank God for the name change), he was on the original version of Drake’s smash ‘Forever’ and later laid a verse on Wayne’s C3 single ‘Mrs. Officer’. Just like 50 describes him later in the night, he’s a “Freshman veteran“. Regardless of what’s said of his career trajectory, it’s good to see him finally shine in London and make the most of it. Just like he lets us know later in the night while he’s in a moshpit, all he ever wanted was a ‘Big Body Benz’.
Considerably early in the show, 50 brings Rotimi back out for their collaboration ‘Lotto’. My friend turns to me and says “it’s crazy how 50’s putting him on“. I agree with him but the more and more I think about it, the less crazy it seems. For over 10 years, 50’s consistently given such opportunities to those around him. Even while Banks, Kidd Kidd, Yayo and Rotimi pace in front of the crowd of 15,000+ with a confidence level to be envious of, it’s hard to keep your eyes off of 50. He has a way of demanding attention that is admirable. It’s a testament to his permanent position in the game.