“Hate It or Love It” by The Game (ft. 50 Cent)
The Game’s “Hate It or Love It” is a come-up song which the vocalist(s) also uses to illustrate how his ways and actions have been influenced by the streets. And the track takes sort of a linear approach, in that the first verse can be said to be about his past, the second his methodology and the third, his present success.
The first verse commences with the rapper, in this case 50 Cent, expressing that he witnessed his “mommy kissing a girl”. This is something which, according to Fiddy, he actually saw. And the way it fits into the overall narrative is by serving as an illustration of the type of “confusion” he grew up with, being symbolic, in his eyes, of the “cold” environment of which he was raised.
Indeed we can say that the inference of Fiddy referencing the absence of his dad thereafter would be that such was why his mom was compelled to behave in such a manner in the first place. And as far as to what his father was actually doing out and about, the vocalist concludes that he was most likely “out committing felonies”. Simply put, the father was living the life of a career criminal, which is another way of basically saying that he was irresponsible.
Shortly thereafter, 50 Cent gives a roundabout shoutout to 1980s’ hip-hop artist Rakim, with Fiddy acknowledging The R as the “favorite rapper” of his youth. Then he introduces us to a concept which fans of rap music have become quite familiar with, and that was his decision to become a drug dealer in his youth in hopes of achieving bling status.
And concerning being able to bling, his grandmother promises to buy him “a sheepskin coat” if he does well in school. As a side note, in inner-city African-American youth cultures the type of coat one wears tends to be a major symbol of wealth. So now Fiddy is really scheming, knowing that the coat, along with additional funds generated via his illicit activities, will allow him to put together a more complete wardrobe.
The vocalist then proceeds to express his disdain for the ‘hood. Even when he was a child, he wasn’t content growing up there. And the implied reasons would be because of financial difficulties and rampant crime.
The Theme of “Hate It or Love It”
Following each verse comes the chorus. And this is where the theme of the song first becomes blatantly expressed. Here, we get to know that it is centered on the narrator(s) celebrating now being “on top” after at one point rather being an “underdog”.
So as for those who “envy” him in the present, he’s content with that considering that he’s “rap’s MVP” and all. And that is why 50 Cent is like “hate it or love it”. Or put differently, whether you hate him or love him, he’s still chillin’ nonetheless.
Meanwhile, The Game starts off his first verse by alluding to his wealth, as manifest by the style of his whip. But the passage quickly turns into one centered on his, shall we say extremely-violent imagines. For instance, he touts the wherewithal to hire hitmen to kill the daughters of opps. And of course, that also means he can employ one to kill opps directly, a notion he also points to.
But the reason he is so is at least partially due to the violence that highlighted his youth, which is the next topic The Game harps on. For instance, his “lil nig-a Rob” was murdered for a pair of sneakers.
According to Genius, said event happened circa 1992, when The Game would have been just becoming a teenager. So if Rob was his “lil nig-a”, that means he was probably significantly younger than that.
And shortly thereafter, when someone else was making moves like he wanted to take The Game’s own kicks, the vocalist threatened to take the potential robber’s life. So all of this would imply that he grew up in a kill-or-be-killed type of environment. And that has shaped him into the individual he is today, a ride-or-die warrior who would rather go out in a blaze of glory if his time comes.
But that noted, on a different note, the rapper concludes the verse by recognizing how now he’s making it, as opposed to times past.
So in the following verse, The Game uses the opportunity to illustrate how being rich has changed his life. For instance, he no longer has to engage in street-based drug dealing in order to get by.
Also he’s able to go do good things for his mom, like pay her rent and buy her an expensive new car.
Before concluding the passage, he also gives another shoutout to his mother. And that’s because he realizes the sacrifices she made in order to raise him. In that sense he references Brenda’s Got a Baby (1991), a track Tupac came out with about a troubled single mom who abandons her child.
And also, The Game adopts a conscious, macrocosmic disposition towards analyzing “what’s going on” in the ‘hood. That is to say that it isn’t all about poverty, crime and absentee dads. There are also other issues, such as the lack of proper investment in education.
This song served as one of the singles from The Game’s debut album. And to date, it remains the best-selling track he’s ever put out. So in addition to being themed on his come-up, the tune can also be said to be sort of an introduction to his character, i.e. a signature song in the rap sense of the word.
And he comes off as someone who has been thoroughly toughened by the streets, even now after having generated enough income to no longer physically be there. But simultaneously, it is clear that The Game possesses a woke and familial side also.
“Hate It Or Love It” Facts
Primary Artist(s): The Game
Featured Artist(s): 50 Cent
Writing: The Game, 50 Cent, Andre Lyon and Marcello Valenzano
Production: Cool & Dre and Dr. Dre
Release: January 28 of 2005
Album/EP: “The Documentary”
Was “Hate It Or Love It” a single release?
Yes. “Hate It Or Love It” is the first single from the former “G-Unit” member’s maiden album, “The Documentary”.
“Hate It or Love It” was a top-10 hit in the following countries:
- US – 2
- UK – 4
- New Zealand – 3
- Netherlands – 5
- Canada – 9
- Rhymefest feat. Mario – “All Girls Cheat” (2006)
- Mary J. Blige feat. 50 Cent – “MJB Da MVP” (2005)
- Fat Joe – “My Fofo” (2005)
- Clipse and Re-up Gang – “Hate It or Love It” (2005)
- Christina Milian – “Say I” (2006)
- Central Cee – “Hate It or Luv It” (2021)
This song got a nomination at the 2006 Grammy Awards for “Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group”. It was also nominated in the “Best Rap Song” category. However, it lost both awards. It lost the first to “Don’t Phunk with My Heart“. And in the second, it was bested by “Diamonds from Sierra Leone“. The aforementioned songs are from Black Eyed Peas and Kanye West, respectively.
The following tracks were also nominated alongside “Hate It or Love It” in the “Best Rap Song” category: