Let’s keep it very real here. There was a point in time when Stevie Wonder’s 1981 cult classic “Happy Birthday” was the go-to catchy jingle for birthdays. Especially in the Black community. Twenty-two years later, using the strategy of “keeping it simple,” 50 Cent dropped “In da Club” and challenged Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” as being the birthday song of the community-becoming an international modernized melody for the forever trendy moment.
Thanks to Dr. Dre and his beastly beat making over calmly accurate handclaps and driving synths, born Curtis Jackson, 50 Cent took the country by storm. Accompanied by a mesmerizing hook it was the very intro to the song that raised it into automatic success: “Go shorty, it’s your birthday/ We gonna party like it’s your birthday…”
Already titled “In da Club,” most are already thrown into a state of mind that is celebratory, for whatever personalized reason. Next, the “go shorty” part comes on and women are immediately thrown into the spotlight with a confident stance. Then the birthday theme arrives and immediately hits your boogied mind whether if it is your birthday or not. The question of it actually being your birthday is irrelevant when it comes to this song and on top of that, every day is someone’s birthday.
The song brought to light a sense of glorification. This is only logical, with the rapper’s prior near death experience due to nine bullets including one to the face, he was happy to be alive and the persistence was something to celebrate. The “21 Questions” maker was conscious of the urgency to make a track that will embark on traditional Hip-Hop house-rocking along the vibration of happiness. Such tactic is the main ingredient to making a hit track and 50 apparently did not budge in a struggle to make it happen. “Simplicity is a big key to hit music,” said 50 via People. “Don’t overthink things, just organically see what you feel when the production comes in. Like, ‘Go shorty, it’s your birthday.’ It’s not rocket science. It’s a simple statement.” Finally, Hip-Hop, already an internationally growing culture had its official birthday song.
“In da Club” shot up to number one of the Billboard Hot 100 and also held the spot for three other charts including the Hot Rap Tracks chart. At that point, the Queens native officially reached a level of success that immediately broke him into the mainstream circuit, which immediately trickles on to the international market. The song touched the top spot all across Europe, posing an influence on the international Hip-Hop communities of countries like Greece, Switzerland, and Austria. His overall debut album where the party anthem rests, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ triggered 50’s global exposure with a number one debut and five hit singles.
With millennials having a major influence on modern people activity and the popularity of Fif’s two-liner, for the following years “In da Club” evolved into the appropriately matched birthday song of the world. The song was played on U.S. radio abundantly, remixed by several notable DJs, blasted in nightclubs home and abroad, and embraced by the youth without any limitations on the crowd type. Poking the peeves of their parents, yet enlightening them about the times favored tunes, the parents of young Hip-Hop heads immediately got familiar with the catchy birthday line.
In 2003, many outside of American Hip-Hop couldn’t speak on the genre without mentioning 50 Cent. His overall successful coming into the game propelled the grand popularity of his celebratory themed single. Today, outside of Stevie Wonder’s make, “In da Club” is the most reference track when it comes to commemorating one’s birthday which is not just limited to the Black American community and youth, but collectives all over the globe. The song has been used in shows and movies, sampled nearly 60 times (ex. Beyonce “Sexy Lil Thug”) and introduced the world to a new approach to birthdays, giving it a gritty touch based in Hip-Hop culture. He also burgeoned the trend of a new type of gangster rapper. A rapper that specialized in making melodic tunes that were fit for the party and spat ageless quotables. Birthdays in the Hip-Hop community for sure, have never been the same since the birth of “In da Club.”