50 Cent to Israel for roaring crowd on the 4th of July - review

He had a number of solos and brought the night to a close, after 50 Cent finished the show with two encores, one lasting some 30 minutes. 

 50 CENT PERFORMING Tuesday night in Tel Aviv.  (photo credit: SHLOMI PINTO)
50 CENT PERFORMING Tuesday night in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: SHLOMI PINTO)

50 Cent

Menorah Mivtahim Arena, Tel Aviv

July 4

Pregnant women, Orthodox Jewish men, Arab Israeli families and children under the age of 10. You’d be surprised who turned up for the return of American rap tycoon 50 Cent to Israel’s stage after 16 years, on Monday night. His last show was in 2006 and in 2013, he was back just to promote his headphone brand, SMS Audio.

The full house at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim stadium roared, as 50 Cent came on stage by 9:30 pm, after a short opener from Tel Aviv’s DJ Milia Rose. Rose heard 50 Cent was coming and advocated for herself hard enough to get the warm-up gig. 50 Cent was accompanied by two unknown backup singers and showmen the entire night. A handful of the songs included four female dancers, who donned red thong body suits on both the main stage and the raised platforms on the left and right sides of the stage.

50 Cent opened the night with “What Up Gangsta” and went into his biggest hits that gained him fame like “Hate it or Love it,” “P.I.M.P.” and “Candy Shop.” Fans in cornrows and hip-hop style jumpsuits mimicked 50 Cent’s moves, swaying one hand over the head from left to right and it seemed that most people in the crowd knew the lyrics to his songs, even the lesser-known ones. Fire and confetti shot out from the stage several times and 50 Cent had three outfit changes throughout the night, though the swaps were just a switch of T-shirt to accompany simple black pants. 50 Cent also wore two different NY hats and his signature diamond 50 Cent chain, which could be seen shimmering from across the stadium.

 50 CENT PERFORMS during the Super Bowl halftime show last February. (credit: Mike Segar/Reuters) 50 CENT PERFORMS during the Super Bowl halftime show last February. (credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)

50 CENT was on stage for around an hour and a half, but it felt like the crowd truly loosened up only toward the end of the show with “Ayo Technology,” a song originally created with Justin Timberlake. The entire stadium burst into dance.

Two encores

A highlight of the event was the addition of a drummer who sat atop the singers, center stage. He had a number of solos and brought the night to a close, after 50 Cent finished the show with two encores, one lasting some 30 minutes. 

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been out here and you guys are fun,” 50 Cent said during his first encore. “Thanks for coming out for the show tonight, I appreciate you. Thank you for your support.”

“Thanks for coming out for the show tonight, I appreciate you. Thank you for your support.”

50 Cent

While 50 Cent was a gracious and professional performer, the sound system in the arena seemed like it couldn’t deliver enough quality to the performance, with some of the music and lyrics sounding a tad fuzzy. Fans we spoke with after the show say it was an underwhelming carry-out.

50 Cent is a giant star and, while everyone had fun, the caliber of performance was weak. A simple video montage played behind him on the digital display, showing old hit music videos and neon images of stick-figures meant to be strippers in ‘da club.’ At the age of 46, 50 Cent was jumping around with energy, but the overall show didn’t meet the expectations that had been built up for the long-time showman.

The joyful rapper did, however, crack jokes on himself. Speaking to the crowd, he said he would really be unstoppable if he could only dance like Michael Jackson. The truth is, no one expected the Jamaica, Queens native to do that, but watching him on stage with two back-ups swaying with a small black towel or rag in hand and, at times, performing facing into the cameras, like it was 2006, just didn’t feel up to snuff.

50 Cent definitely delivered the early 2000s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ rap feel he’s known for, but it felt like the show should have been adapted for the modern moment. On the one hand, 50 Cent spent his American Independence Day celebrating with Israelis. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was somewhat a lesser version of the show he performs back home.