Saturday night (July 16) in Casablanca Morocco, the attitude of thousands of fans was “get 50 or die trying.” With the feeling that it may be their once in a lifetime opportunity to get next to their favorite hip-hop hero, fans at El Hank stadium jumped onstage during a 50 Cent headlined concert and on Fif’s Mercedes Benz after the show as he traveled back to his hotel.
“This was probably the craziest night we’ve ever had, besides [when we performed a concert in] Angola,” Tony Yayo, a co-founding member of the G-Unit group along with Fif and Lloyd Banks, assessed back at the Hyatt hotel after the show.
“I would say we had about 20 attempts to get onstage,” Yay continued. “About eight successes.
During a smile-filled postmortem of the show in his luxury suite, 50 laughed as members of the entourage he was traveling with, such as new signees singer Governor and New Orleans MC Kidd Kidd (known most notably from his guest spot on Lil Wayne’s smash “Mrs. Officer”), gave their own takes of the show.
“When times are rough in a country like it is here, they gravitate towards rougher music,” The Unit’s mult-platinum General said of his popularity in Morocco.
If 50 wasn’t already a legend in North Africa after Saturday night, he certainly is now. The Southside Jamaica hood star turned international mega-star traveled to Casablanca on Saturday to close out the city’s annual Festival De Casa Blanca. He was the only American act on the bill, which has featured the likes of stateside MCs Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes in the past.
During a press conference hours prior to the concert, Fif said his plan was to “over perform” and go double his 60 minute performance slot.
“I’m excited because I believe I’ll give an energetic performance that they’ll remember. Music is amazing, it’s taken me places I haven’t dreamed of going. It’s allowed me to break language barriers. Other forms of entertainment they have to convert it if it comes in a different language. Music they’ll accept it the way it comes and learn to enjoy it.”
Rabid chants of “G-Unit” and “Fif-Tee Cent!” were rampant in tk stadium. The venue was packed to capacity with 65 thousand people, officials estimated at least another 35 thousand were outside trying to get in, trying to get a glimpse of 50, trying to hear any of his worldwide acclaimed catalog of hit songs.
Those that did make it inside had the fervor similar to if they were watching the World Cup soccer championships. Men held up toddlers in the air, some men sat on each other shoulders and took their shirts off, waving them in the air. No one in the crowd was going to let 50 go home feeling unappreciated.
“You want some? Well come get some, “50 said defiantly during his opening “The Invitation.”
A few moments later, Tony Yayo came running out commanding “Hands in the fu–in air” for “Pop a Bottle.”
At the start of “I’m a Ryder,” the crowd chanted in unison “whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa/ Whoa, Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.”
Language barrier (they primarily speak French and Arabic in Morocco) broken. Culture barrier smashed. 50 Cent is one of them.
The nozzle of the energy meter broke with “I Get Money” and the follow-up “What Up Gangsta.” The first fan jumped onstage a few minutes later during “Psycho.”Throughout the show, fans would throw different types of ball caps–from a Yankee fitted to a throwback G-Unit line hat on the stage. Fif would take the brim he was wearing over his doo-rag and throw it out to the audience and replace with one that landed on the stage.
50’s most popular head cover of the night was his trademarked fedora, similar to the one he wore over a half decade ago in the video for “P.I.M.P.”
Some of the audience members started crowd surfing, while many more began to hop the barricades and jump onto the stage. Instead of holding the frenzied revelers back, some of the Moroccan security guards began dancing at the front of the stage with the G-Unit. 50 kept his grin the entire time and didn’t miss one word to any songs.
While rapping “This Is How We Do,” Fif ended abruptly and basked in the African glory.
“…Em came and got a ni–a fresh out the slum…”
“They say we got 65,000 people out here,” 50 added. He was then drowned out by chants of “Geeeeeee-U-Net!” And “Fiffff-teeee-Cent!”
A barrage as potent as tank shells came after; “Hate It or Love It,” “Disco Inferno,” “Candy Shop,” and “21 Questions” all thrilled the African crowd.
The fans kept yelling; “girlllll, it’s easy to love me now…”
For “Many Men,” 50 stood on a small stage in the middle of his regular stage with the spotlight shining down on him. Unified, energetic chants of his name continued as soon as the song ended.
“Ok let’s get to it,” 50 said to DJ Whoo Kid. The “Haitian Barry White,” then cued up Fif’s never failing knock out blow, “In Da Club.” It sounded as if everyone of the 65,000 in attendance sang “go shawty, it’s your birthday.”
As the record closed, 50 thanked the crowd and walked off. He was prepared to go another 30 minutes with an encore, but with the spectators so riled up, he decided to end the show as it was.
When leaving the venue, the Benz carrying 50 was flanked by three vans. About 5,000 Moroccan kids were waiting outside. There was no way they were going to let him leave. More chants of his name ensued and the fans began jumping on all the vehicles as traffic was at a near stand still. Extra police had to come and escort the G-Unit away.
“They’ll remember this one,” 50 said later at his hotel.