With 50 Cent having been in court lately after flaunting a seemingly endless flow of “fake” money on Instagram after filing for bankruptcy, I felt it was time to look back on a time when Mr. Curtis Jackson was in a better place. This place was occupied on his 2005 offering, The Massacre. To follow-up Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ must have weighed heavy even on a man as iron-plated as 50. The project is a combo platter of his gangster knowledge and lifestyle, sexual desires and his transition into stardom that implored him to reassure all of his critics that he is still the same man.
The song ‘Piggy Bank’ is a great example of 50 directly calling out his peers hoping they will have the, what he would consider tenacity, to fire back. A problem exists because 50 is taking shots at rappers like Jadakiss and Nas who are targets at the wrong shooting range. The artists he aims at are so far from his intended audience that they may have never heard of them. Nonetheless, he manages to engage listeners with his lack of a care in the world and his undeniable brovado.
The project truly excels where other projects put out by used-to-be or still-maybe gangsters don’t; it always sounds good and specifically to demographics that other artists have difficulty touching. Even though Dr. Dre only produced two tracks on the album himself, his energy spills notably onto the rest of the project. The instrumentals carry a ridiculous amount of energy and mix heavy bass hits with much lighter elements like pianos, chimes, strings and airy sample loops. The simplicity and fun undercut the raw grit. Instances where 50 sounds introspective and reflective come back to back with ‘A Baltimore Love Thing’ and ‘Ryder Music’. His ability to craft catchy choruses is still on display here but they are surrounded by some of 50’s more poetic moments.
Still, the most fun there is to be had on this project is comes in the form of songs that sounds best in three places. The club. The home. The whip. This album may not have the same hardcore gangster appeal this time around but that’s okay. I don’t think artists get into a craft to keep painting, singing or creating the same thing over and over again. This is 50 showing his ability slide onto radio waves just as easily as he could create one of the most censored albums at the time.