My First Rap Concert at 54: 50 Cent in Zagreb

Paul Bradbury

(Photo Sanjin Strukic, PIXSELL)

October 19, 2023 – Around 20,000 came to see 50 Cent in Zagreb, including an old guy at his first-ever rap concert.

Of all the things in life I was sure I would never do, going to a rap concert was pretty much up there. It is not my genre at all.

But life is unpredictable, especially when you have kids.

“Dad!” started the excited Viber message from my teenage daughter a few months ago. “50 Cent in Zagreb! Will you take me?”

Chances to bond with teenagers can be few and far between, and so it was that a young 54-year-old found himself heading to the Zagreb Arena for the first time since The Cure last year, an excited 15-year-old in tow. My expectations for myself were low – to watch over my child and see her hopefully smiling face throughout, while trying to learn more about this rap culture.

She beamed all night, and it was a lovely thing to see.

Arena was packed, much more so than for The Cure, and fans were clearly appreciative that such a big star had come to Zagreb after an absence of 16 years – and for the last time – The Final Lap Tour marked the 20th anniversary of the release of 50 Cent’s first album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.”

Before the big man took to the stage (scheduled about the time I normally go to bed), there were two support acts. The first, Jeremih, seemed to confirm some of my stereotypes about this kind of music. Lots of noise, lots of Whassup Croatia? and a lot of arm waving, but the crowd seemed to love it, even if I seemed to be missing the genius.

And then came special guest Busta Rhymes, who REALLY got the crowd warmed up.

In contrast to the other acts, what I liked about Busta was the lack of props. No stunning dancers, no backstage set, just two performers with excellent chemistry, and a lot of interaction with the crowd. When Busta started to bounce and encouraged 20,000 people to do the same, they all bounced. Hell, I was thinking of having a go myself.

The teenage smile was broad.

And then came the show. Just after the advertised 22:30, the man himself made his entrance with a fantastic 90-minute set, which included several costume changes, for himself and the excellent female dancers whose flexible acrobatics were a great addition.

As was the constantly changing set behind, and we all felt the warmth of the flames, as they shot up from the stage floor on several occasions.

The 48-year-old singer performed some of his biggest hits in front of the audience, such as “Candy Shop”, “In da Club”, “Window Shopper”, “Many Men”, “Best Friend” and others.

It may not have been my type of music at the start of the night, but I can appreciate a good show, and the audience reaction was electric. A great experience, and now I can add rap concerts as one of my life experiences.

As well as the secret on how to make a teenager smile. A great night.

The 50 Cent tour continues in Zurich tomorrow – click here for the full tour dates.


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