"New York Ain’t Go Nowhere – I’m New York, Jack!"

15 Oct

50 Cent is everybody’s least favorite rapper nowadays. He took over the rap world with his Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ debut and the first pack of solo releases from his G-Unit soldiers, but with that success, 50 went on cruise control – his sophomore LP, The Massacre, was packed full of dope beats, catchy hooks and radio-ready singles, but lacked the cohesion and hunger of its game-changing predecessor. While the Billboard charts and pop fans seemed satisfied, hardcore rap heads were disappointed with the change of direction, and tagged him as yet another street legend-turned-mainstream darling.

But lately, 50 seems to have regained his inspiration. On every G-Unit release I’ve heard 50 on since his sophomore LP (except Tony Yayo’s album – which I will never listen to, so I’ll never know), 50 has spit with a hunger unseen since his classic debut. While his formiddable voice has never left, now, he’s actually matching his mic presence with bars of substance – and with his already consistent choruses and top shelf production, he’s got a formula for victory. Below, I’ve got a few examples. *Keep in mind that I’m not comparing 50 to a philosophical Nas, a hip-hop renaissance man Lupe Fiasco, a G.O.A.T. MC 2Pac, or a storyteller of Slick Rick’s caliber; this is simply comparing 50’s newer material to his older material.*
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“Hustler’s Ambition,” Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ soundtrack

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The movie wasn’t the best, but the soundtrack featured the Unit at its best. In the soundtrack’s single, 50 deftly captures both the essence of the everyday hustler and of the movie with bars that describe the daily grind. Run of the mill subject matter, but 50 flips it potently. Quoteable: “I sold everything I’ma hustler, I know how to grind/Step on grapes put in water and tell you its wine/If you analyze me, what you’ll find is the DNA of a crook and what goes on in my mind/its contagious, hypnotic, it sounds melodic/if the rap was the block or a spot, I’ll be that potent product”

“Creep,” Mobb Deep’s Blood Money

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“Interscope Jackson” breathes life into Mobb Deep’s disappointing G-Unit debut with an energetic verse that rides the song’s quirky beat to perfection, outshining Prodigy and Havoc for most of the rest of the album. Quoteable: “Cock that, aim that, squeeze that, shoot the steel/Cadillac Coupe De Ville, wood grain on the wheel/Cocaine in the pot, baking soda water hot/When the ice cubes drop, look at that, ‘that’s crack'”

“The Cake,” Lloyd Banks’ Rotten Apple

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Rotten Apple should help lift the Unit out of the rut dug by Mobb and Yayo with it’s top-to-bottom quality, and an invigorated 50 Cent seems excited to come along for the ride. 50 starts his piece with a hook/bridge, before jumping into a bars: “In the heart of a victim, murder is monumental/I don’t complicate shit, kid, I keep it simple/my bulletwounds will tell you the story of what I’ve been through…I conversate with killers, it’s usually about life/Politic with bonders, it’s usually about white/I’m the poster child for violence, I’m the boy in the poster/
When them shots start to ring out, I’m the boy with the toaster”

50 Cent & Whoo Kid’s Hip Hop Is Dead
50 Cent, “Hip Hop”

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50 Cent, “Puppy Love”

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I’m only posting a song or two from this, but 50’s performance on this mixtape is reminiscint to the mixtape material he flooded the streets with before signing to Eminem and Dr. Dre. “Hip Hop” has him rhyming double-time over the legendary dead prez track of the same title, “Serial Killer” and “Watch Yo Back” feature him spitting murderous verses, and he flexes storytelling muscle on “Puppy Love.”
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The big question is: How will this translate into 50 Cent’s next solo album? Thinking 50 would make an album entirely on street material would be unfeasible (and unreasonable, with how much it’d limit his talents). But, all points considered, it’s not like 50 ever stopped making hood music in the first place. The Massacre was, after all, mostly hood shit, but with catchy hooks throughout, and a few female-friendly tracks and club songs in between (if that sounds impossible, just remember that even without skits, the disc was a bulky 21 songs long); the problems, as stated earlier, were the lacks of cohesion and urgency. Hopefully, this next LP would be like a new and improved version of his last album – radio-accessible tracks still in tact, but with more track-to-track cohesion (stick to three producers for the entire album: Dre, Needlez, and the recently-improved Eminem), and with the momentum built up by the aforementioned efforts. If this is the case, we might (just might; don’t want to jump the gun too soon) have another classic on our hands.

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2 Responses to “"New York Ain’t Go Nowhere – I’m New York, Jack!"”

  1. Anonymous October 16, 2006 at 7:01 pm #

    50 might be showing a glimmer of what he use to be (even though I personally never thought it was much to begin with). But, I doubt this will beat him back into the GRODT album persuasion. He’s already too far gone, as far as his audience is concerned. He has a whole pop/mainstream audience to maintain. It’s not just a street audeince anymore.

  2. BennyBlanco October 18, 2006 at 10:24 am #

    nice post. I’m not sure if 50 can come back, I’m not a big fan and share similar kind of views to the poster above.

    The pressure is on him, especially as he is the only one that can really sell on G-Unit, so hes next album has to be quality.

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