50 Cent, Before I Self Destruct (Interscope, 2009)
Time flies when you're having fun. It's been going on half a decade since the last time I reviewed a 50 Cent album. I sat out Curtis, in '07, and it looks like most people followed my lead. I'm only going in this time for the potential lulz. 50 Cent is one of my favorite people in hip-hop, but his music sucks balls.
Fiddy must have thought the problem with Curtis was that he didn't sound angry enough. He growls at the beginning of this, and I'm not sure whether to laugh or to be afraid. I'd definitely laugh, but if I saw him do it in person, I'd wait until I was at a safe distance.
THEN DAY WENT BY
Rhymefest already flipped this Jacko sample on that Man in the Mirror mixtape, except his version was less obvious and wanton. It's a Jackson 5 version of that song "Ain't No Sunshine." The Jackson 5 must have done a lot of covers. On one of those special health care episodes of This American Life, there's a Jackson 5 version of "Doctor, My Eyes" by Jackson Browne.
DEATH TO MY ENEMIES
Wasn't this the name of a 2Pac song? No but really, it's hard for me to take 50 Cent seriously when he's talking about how he's gonna kill everyone. (In this one, it sounds like he talks specifically about killing Kanye.) I preferred it when the basis of his argument was that he had more money than everyone else.
The dis record I made the mistake of writing about for XXL the other day. Dpn't bother trying to look for that one. The only part of this that's really effective, to me, is the part where he talks about Young Buck, and that's because people with severe drug problems are inherently funny. If you ever get a chance, check out the short lived DVD version of XXL, which features an interview with heroin addict BG. It's hilarious.
The one with Eminem. This would be nails, if it wasn't for the part with 50 Cent, who kicks this retarded double time flow. I wonder if he was worried people would say Eminem murdered him on his own shit. As if. Eminem is murdering everyone on their own shit this year, and no one seems to give a shit. His audience must have moved on to Nickelback or some shit.
HOLD ME DOWN
Further proof Fiddy has been studying the work of 2Pac. Which can't be a good idea for a rapper. This sounds like it might be a sweet love song, but it turns out it's about his gun.
This one kicks off with a line that hardly qualifies as rap. Something to the effect of, "I'm not saying shoot someone, but if someones needs to be shot, shoot 'em." Perhaps even more embarrassing is the part where he talks back to the sample during the chorus. It's one of those things you just have to hear, like that growl at the very beginning of the album.
Even more of a clusterfuck than "Crime Wave," from the godawful modern day West Coast rap production, to the way he pronounces the song's title during the chorus. It's like he's purposefully trying to be obnoxious.
The way he keeps going on about Buck and Game, it's obvious he misses them. This whole thing could be viewed as a homoerotic lament about the dissolution of G-Unit. Especially the part at the end where you hear a gun cock, and, "Suck on this, nigga!"
GET IT HOT
Really bad budget Timbaland. I thought this album was gonna be nothing of songs with him threatening to shoot people? Is that Jadakiss on the chorus? Did Fiddy give Jadakiss some money to forgive their beef? Or was that contingent, in Jada's deal with Def Jam?
"Rapper's Delight" remade as a song about shooting people. But with that garbage, ominous G-Unit production instead of the great Chic sample.
I GOT SWAG
The best song so far, other than the Eminem parts of "Psycho." It's Fiddy back bragging about how much money he has. I'd suggest this may have been left over from Curtis, but this somehow manages to be even more ignorant than "I Get Money," the song that spawned the saying, "Have a baby by me, baby. Be a millionaire."
BABY BY ME
Speaking of which, this Polow Da Don-produced single isn't half that bad. When I heard it on Sirius a few weeks ago, I thought, "Oh shit, that new Fiddy album might not be half that bad." Then come to find out this could hardly be any less representative of Before I Self Destruct, both in terms of quality and content.
DO YOU THINK ABOUT ME
A suspiciously well thought out dis song about his baby's mother, in which he celebrates the fact that he somehow managed to have his child support reduced to like a 10th of what Nas pays, despite the fact that he probably makes 10x more than Nas. If only he could rap as well as he can sic his lawyer on people.
OK, YOU'RE RIGHT
The title calls to mind that "new" Nirvana song, from when I was in college. This is off topic, but I've been enjoying the Nirvana-based programming on Fuse this week, I guess to coincide with the re-release of Bleach. Which is now 20 years old. Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ.
COULD'VE BEEN YOU
Is this another song about his baby's mother? And look, it's Arruh! As crazy as the two of them are, this should be way more amusing than it is.
COMMENTS: I should get some sort of medal for listening to this album in its entirety. It's almost funny, for how angry Fiddy sounds for the first half of it, but it isn't. The second half, with all of the cynical attempts at a hit single, is easier to listen to, if not worthwhile in its own right. Was Curtis this bad? No wonder it did so poorly.
BEST TRACKS: "Psycho" "I Got Swag" "Baby By Me"
BONUS VIDEO: "Baby By Me"