September 13, 2007

Record Review: 50 Cent

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All that’s ridiculous about 50 Cent’s rap persona — his bravado, his fantasy, his Vitamin Water — usually doesn’t matter. All that comes after the music. And to his credit, 50 Cent has a great ear for beats. In the past, big beats made big hits. But none of Curtis’ singles have equaled the glitz of “In Da Club” or the lust of “Candy Shop.” What made these singles (50 Cent’s unflappable ego) is now nowhere to be found. Somehow, his swagger can no longer match his success.
Before the album’s release, 50 Cent warned, as he often does, that he would be “switching his style up,” and for us to brace ourselves. But besides a very select few, Curtis’ beats could have been the leftovers from a previous album.
It’s surprising that “Fire,” a quick and whining track featuring G-Unit compatriot Young Buck and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, was ever made. Even 50 Cent seems unimpressed with his own work: “You can hate this/ But face it/ B.I.G. and 2Pac just ain’t around.” Where’s the hubris?
Perhaps behind all of 50 Cent’s talk of “haters” is a subconscious need to be hated. He’s got more critics than anyone else in rap music — but at least they’re talking about him.
Yes, his previous albums were doused in gun talk and braggadocio, but at least they showed style and pride. If the album’s title would suggest that 50 Cent is revealing himself to us, letting down his guard, then why is he now less honest and less compelling than he has ever been before?