Shots rang through Celebrity Theatre on Sunday night, but there was no danger to be found. Although rapper 50 Cent and his G-Unit posse were attired in bulletproof vests — styled accordingly to play a sold-out show in Phoenix — the shots were simply sound effects to correlate with their performance.
After a couple of songs, rap’s newest "it" boy stripped off his vest and wife-beater to model his ripped chest and blazed through a brief 40-minute set with songs like "Wanksta," "In Da Club," "What Up Gangsta," "Back Down" and "Blood Hound."
At times, 50 Cent’s G-Unit — a basketball jersey-wearing crew of six men who sang along with the rapper — made the performance distracting.
"I didn’t like when the other rappers sang," said Micha Gomez, 20, of Tempe. "Sometimes you couldn’t hear 50 Cent, and that’s who we came to see."
But for the most part, 50 Cent was able to control the show and shine during his short time on stage. He rarely spoke between songs, but made a point to incorporate a touch of humor midset when he alluded to his notorious ongoing feud with fellow rapper Ja Rule.
"See that girl over there in the red shirt?" he said, referring to a young woman who wasn’t bouncing to the music like everyone else in the venue. "That (expletive) is a Ja Rule fan."
In addition to having a good sense of humor, the young rap sensation was charismatic and didn’t come off like a thug (aside from the gunshot sound effects), unlike most hip-hoppers. He ran around the circular stage, constantly reaching out to embrace his fans or slap a few high-fives. He often flashed his pearly whites, as if to show that he couldn’t be in a better place right now.
You could almost smell the success.
And though he performed most tracks from his debut album, "Get Rich or Die Tryin’," he made time to cover the Missy Elliot club favorite "Work It." He closed the set by repeating a few lyrics from "In Da Club" (his current single) and rushed off stage, leaving a few fans mystified by his short performance.
"I thought that the show could have been longer," said Camille Valdez, 21, of Phoenix. "His part was short, but he made up for it because he did a really good job. Everything about the show was great. How could it not be? It’s 50 Cent!"