He may have famously filed for bankruptcy, but 50 Cent gave fans their money’s worth on the last date of his UK tour.
Resplendent in a blingy diamond encrusted dollar sign chain, a knuckleduster of a pinky ring and gold Moschino belt, he certainly didn’t look skint as the hip hop legend gave a rare North East performance.
We jostled our way to the front of the standing area, the best place to watch a gig like this which relies heavily on the vocals and gesticulations instead of large-scale effects and creative costumes.
It’s here, amongst the throng of an enthusiastic crowd, that foot-stomping anthems like How We Do, his collaboration with The Game, really shine. Though I’m not sure it would have translated quite so well in the upper seats.
Look up gangster rap in a dictionary a decade ago and Fiddy would be there, scowling. The 40-year-old seems less dangerous and more smiley these days, but he still manages to put on a slick show.
He’s got a laid back presence on stage, someone who’s comfortable with his ability to get a party started. He was joined by his long-time friends, the G Unit collective, who helped to add some grit and energy to the tracks.
But it was the main man everyone wanted to hear from and he broke from rapping to have some repartee with the crowd in his distinctive New York drawl.
Laughing in the face of money problems, he told the arena: “I do a bit of gambling, and I’m extra happy because I put a bet on and Newcastle won.”
A safer bet than the football results are his instantly-recognisable hits. And though Fiddy grumbled about people only coming for the dancefloor fillers, of which he’s had many, newer material from latest album Animal Ambition was always going to be overshadowed by Hustler’s Ambition, Candy Shop, Window Shopper, Just a Lil Bit and Hate It or Love It.
Though he did break into heavier bass-thumping stuff, which were minor lulls for all but the hardcore fan base, the hits still came thick and fast and the Saturday night crowd lapped it up.
After all, it’s the memorable hooks of tracks like In Da Club and P.I.M.P from debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ that stamped his place in hip hop history and helped give him a million dollar smile, no matter what.