Archive for the ‘Shooting Guns’ tag
Ten years ago, 50 Cent basically invented the modern-day mixtape circuit with the release of 50 Cent Is The Future, a tape on which 50 took a bunch of other people’s songs and made them better. It’s been a wild ride for Fif ever since, first rising to “Biggest Rapper in the World” status with the release of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ in 2003, and eventually falling to Ludacris-like levels of over-the-hillness by 2009’s Before I Self Destruct.
The Big 10, a collection of ten “classics plus one more” to quote 50, is both a celebration of the Queens rapper’s past and a warning shot regarding his future. Whether anyone realizes it or not, the rap game has missed primetime Curtis Jackson since he fell off around 2006. There are just some times when you need to roll around the neighborhood making the lampposts quake with the power of your stereo’s subwoofer, and no one, I repeat NO ONE has fulfilled this need better than 2002-2005 era 50 Cent in the past decade (this statement just made at least one of those hilariously pretentious hip-hop critics want to stab me in the throat with a copy of The College Dropout. I’m sorry, there are only so many fashion labels that I may or may not be mispronouncing as I shout them out the window before I stop feeling tough).
I identify this specific albeit crucial gap in the hip-hop landscape because The Big 10 is the mixtape that fills it. This tape has basically everything you want in a street mixtape; end-to-end bangers throughout, and lyrics that alternate between “tougher than Kevlar” and “more comical than Ja Rule’s comeback attempts.” On the tape’s opening track, “Body On It,” 50 delivers one of the best lines of 2011: “These crackers say I’m racial, WAIT A COTTON PICKIN’ MINUTE!/Now I’m racial, cause I done put cotton pickin’ in it.” It’s one of those lines that, if you’d been zoning out, takes your attention and beats it into a bloody pulp until you start to focus. These lines are the mark of a great MC and Fif’s knockout punch of a line coming 1:30 is a good, good sign for fans of his early work (AKA everyone).
It’s hard to describe the beats on the album with any phrase besides “f*cking hard” so I’m not even going to bother. 50 goes Jason Voorhees on about every one, and if the line above isn’t enough to convince you then maybe you should try another genre of music, like mash-ups of Ryan Cabrera and Vanessa Carlton.
However, it would be disrespectful to Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, a truly flawless record, without pointing out some of the (minor) issues with The Big 10. The first is that this record is meant to be 50’s legacy celebration/comeback party. With the exception of Paris, who spits like Lil’ Kim rocking body armor made of concrete on “Queens,” there are some guest spots that are nothing more than filler. We want 50! The other issue is a skit that follows in a long line of misguided hip-hop skits whose origins I’m going to blame on The Chronic because I can’t think of a similar skit appearing on an earlier rap record. The opening to “I Just Wanna” (which somehow samples KC & The Sunshine Band on a legit banger) is two people having sex. That’s it. 50, do you know how uncomfortable that is to listen to with your friends in the car?
People write, “X’s mixtape will definitely build anticipation for his album due later this year,” myself among the guilty party, but The Big 10 does more than that. If you’ve yet to download it (and it only dropped Friday afternoon), then you’ve probably written off 50 Cent as a has-been. But one play on cranked volume will have you salivating for the release of 50’s fifth studio album.
4 / 5 bars