Before you read any further, answer this: What was 50 Cent’s debut single?
If you replied “Wanksta,” you’d be wrong. Maybe you answered “How to Rob,” which will earn you an E for effort. In 1997, under the guidance of the iconic Jam Master Jay, a young Curtis Jackson actually pressed up vinyl for what would be his debut single, “The Glow.” It didn’t go platinum, it didn’t land him a lucrative label deal, and it didn’t get heavy rotation on Hot 97. It was a modest tune, with Jackson rhyming over a funky Change sample that will bring more comparisons to Janet Jackson’s “All For You” than “Many Men.” None of his later success can change the fact that this was 50 Cent’s debut single.
The truth of the matter is very few rappers come out the gate with a sure-fire record. Some put out decent cuts that hold a bit of merit (Cam’ron’s “Horse & Carriage”) while others dropped flat-out duds (Mobb Deep’s “Peer Pressure). It was three years after the release of “Replacement Girl” that Canada’s biggest rap export was able effectively communicate his talent. Hell, even one of the greatest rappers, Jay-Z, couldn’t find traction with his early releases.
None of these examples made this list, nor should they. We should also note that a song qualifies as a single if it was properly released by the artist in some promotional form, whether that was vinyl, cassette, maxi-CD, iTunes or a music video; whichever came first. So while you can thank Carson Daly for introducing you to Eminem, the Detroit MC released a song prior to “My Name Is” that was arguably as important to his career. That record did make the cut, along with 49 others. These are the 50 Best Debut Rap Singles of all time…
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