In honor of Black History Month, each day here at The Source we’ll be chronicling many of the best moments pertaining to Hip Hop that occurred during the meaningful month of February – celebrating the birthdays of now-legendary MCs; highlighting the most impactful album and single releases; even reminiscing on the most obscure, yet culturally-significant footnotes in the genre’s three-decade-spanning history.

Today’s passage takes us on a journey back to February 6, 2003, when 50 Cent released his major label debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin,’ five days before it was originally intended to drop, after bootleggers managed to get their hands on it early. Platinum in nine different countries, eight times over in the United States alone, the legendary LP also spawned four platinum singles – two of which, “In da Club” and the Nate Dogg-assisted “21 Questions,” even reached as high as No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart – turning the former drug dealer, previously known best as Curtis Jackson, into a household name and worldwide sensation at the drop of a coin.