I AM NOT A HATER. I promise you. Just a dude with a computer, an opinion and some free time on my hands before the wife gets home.
Let me say this: I want 50 to be good. The game needs him. I usually root for the guy. I don't root for him when he carries the beef thing too far i.e. The Rick Ross baby mama and son fiasco, but for the most part I root for him because:
He has guts.
He is what a lot of these rappers and thugs want to be; A genuine, certified Bad Ass. Who. Just. Doesn't. Give. A. Fuck. With plenty money!
50 is not just the American Dream, he's one step better - The American Wet Dream (No Bruno).
However - with that being said I can't sign off on this latest project! It's just not that good. Period. It's okay and it has it's moments but really, when it comes to 50 that just isn't good enough. This isn't a Plies album. This isn't a Lil Boosie single. This is 50 - AKA FERRARI. King of New York. The Bad Guy. He has got to come with the ruckus! I just can't do "okay" with him. 50 has to know that when you are calling yourself, "The King Of New York" you have an obligation to release a dope album. Not just some hot joints with two videos. When your fans make you rich you have to understand one thing before anything else: WE don't owe you, if anything 50 you owe us, the public, your customers, your source for all your riches a great album.
50 CENT - BEFORE I SELF DESTRUCT
1. Invitation - Not bad. Adrenaline fueled and properly picked to be the first track on the album. The track starts off with a piano loop that seems inspired from a horror movie and a 50 growl. 50 brings the heat and feel of being the baddest nigger walking the planet. Like Mike Tyson with a microphone. The album starts off promising and focused. 3.5 The Beat is hard but the lyrics are status quo.
2. Then Days Went Over - The album is off to a solid start. Not awesome, but good. If the album gets better, it will be okay. 3.5 A bit too much singing by Fif (Ja Rule is smiling). The hook gets annoying and the church organ and background singer wears on you after awhile. Can't bob my head to this one for too long.
3. Death to my enemies - This is where the album goes left. The beat is hard and Premier - ish and seems poised for 50 to kill. But he doesn't. It's like when that chick that you have been fiending to smash gives you a chance and you give her the limp dick. 50 tries to get a hard on but he just can't kill it. Listening to this track and hearing 50 come up short reminded me of watching Pedro Martinez pitching for the Phillies against The Yankees in The World Series. He did the best he could but he just didn't have that fastball. He was getting over on guile and trickery. Fif seems to be struggling with his fastball on this track. Sad. 3. Note: If the first three tracks start of with an average under 4 how good can the rest of the album be?
4. So Disrespectful - The only disrespectful thing about this track is listening to it. Fif seems to think that he can say anything. Someone needs to tell him that child molestation and suicide just isn't cool. Does your audience really need that? Did we pay 12 bucks to hear about beef over a basic beat? NO! While it may be interesting to hear him talk about the things we read; GAME. BUCK AND HIS BABY MAMA, at the end of the day I could have heard him take this record somewhere else. Like Wal -Mart, the hypocrisy of politicians. Something! He could have spoken this song. "Piggy Bank" this is not. While it may give the rap nerds some insight the record is a waste. 3.0 At the end of the day how much time does 50 want his audience to invest in this beef shit? 50 is already the man. At times one wishes that 50 were more like Jay. Save the shots at rappers for the mixtapes. Save the shots for the baby mama for family dinners.
5. Psycho - Remember when 50 and Em on the same track made you say, "What the fuck are they going to talk about? I can't wait to hear that song"? Not anymore. When they get together on this track it sounds like 50 was trying to channel "Patiently Waiting" and Em was trying to channel the exit. Like he's saying, "Dude I'll spit in the booth but I just want to go home and pop a pill. If I finish this in one take can I go home?" 4.0 Fif gets an extra point for this one because he dragged Em out of hibernation for two verses. And the track is hot enough. Once again 50 seems overextended. A Yayo sighting (or hearing) would have been good for this track. Even if it were just for ad - libs. His voice would have been a welcome contrast.
6. Hold Me Down - NO. FIF. NO. He's singing and that is all I have to say. It sounds like he took a song that Tony Starks turned down. What's worse he continues to rap about things that he says in interviews that he doesn't really do: Get high, fuck raw and begging for love. 3.0 - He loses a point for the singing and talking about finger fucking. WTF? Dude how many times can you tell a girl that you will trick off? We get it. She is going to fuck you because of the money she has and she will probably do things with you that she won't do with me because I work for a living.
7. Crime Wave. - First problem - Joell Ortiz killed this beat. Second problem - it sounds like that other song, "Bust your head"?. The desperate hook coupled with the re- jacking of a beat that he already spit on is a mistake. Big mistake. Like no one is telling him what to do besides his peeps. All this track did was bring me back to the time when he was hungry. He should have had three other dudes on this track and killed it that way. 3.5 Less would have been more.
8. Stretch - For the record I don't generally like concept songs. They usually are so clever someone has to tell you later that it is a concept record and then instead of appreciating the song you resent it because it made you feel stupid. For the record part 2: I always thought "Baltimore Love Thing" off the massacre was an underrated record. I liked it. I think 50 did too and tried to reinvent that magic. He didn't. 3.0 The growly voice, the yelling of the word "stretch" at random and inexplicably sounding like Method Man didnt help in this song.
9. Strong Enough Fif seems to be focused on this song. He sounds real and authentic. Shots at Game and Buck seemed to breathe new life into him. The soulful beat edges out his growly voice. So far the best track on the album. 4.5 Talking bad and talking shit is when he truly when he shines.
10. Get it hot Pretty awful. The hook is annoying and the verses are worse. A major fall back. Not good! 2.0 There is nothing good about this song! It sounds like a fake Neptunes fake Neptunes beat! Jimmy Iovine was pulling his hair out when he heard this track.
11. Gangsta's Delight - Perhaps the first remake of 50's career (check on that - I should huh?) Gangsta's Delight is so far the most head - bobbing track so far. He freaks the well - known chorus Hotel/Motel and delivers. Props to Fif for paying homage to the old - schoolers. 4.0 He does lose half a point for the synth beat that at this point seems like it's on repeat. If Fif was a producer and had a sound, the same - sounding beats would be understandable and acceptable beats but as an artist he should be picking beats that are consistent with his vision but not always exactly the same.
12. I Got Swag - Terrible. Reminiscent of a Game song with all the name - checking. The hook is annoying and sounds like 50 just wanted to pay a producer that made the beat. "Hey since you are here, I might as well rhyme over this shit." 2.5 This track is bad and should have been stopped at the door before it was put onto the album. The tricking that 50 is talking about sounds desperate. "yo, got to make something for the honeys."
13. Baby By Me - Fif? No. At this point Fif is letting his male listeners know that he doesn't give no fucks about them. None. What am I supposed to do with this? Bob my head to it? A woman having a baby by me wouldn't even be a Turkish millionaire. Bad move and the fact that he chose this as his first lead is proof that he is out there trying to put together formulaic equations in order to sell albums. Never a good idea because if you hit you lose your core and if you miss you lose everyone. 3.5 The record actually gains a whole point because it is true to what it's supposed to be: A radio friendly attempt at a hit.
14. Do you think about me? - 50 now fully goes into Ghostface zone. What were the G - UNIT people thinking when they were sequencing this album and put these two songs back to back? Alienating their straight male demographic? 4.0 Sadly, this is one of the tighter beats on the album. Ja Rule is smiling.
15. OK, You're Right - This sounds like something that should have been on a mixtape. Besides the fact that the beat sounds basic as hell the hook is trash. At one point he is saying, "I'm rich." We know that Fif. This is a bad record. 2.5 Many points are lost because Fif's rhymes are past elementary on this track. He rhymes Miami with candy. Bad!
16. Could've Been You - This R.Kelly collabo is solid but I have a problem with collabos that were not done together. I can't feel a song that was put together by an engineer. At least make me think you were both involved in the making of a record. It's a song nonetheless that works: Dudes can bop to it and not feel like a pussy. 4.0 50 is trying to save the album but unless the last two tracks are the greatest songs ever it won't happen.
17. Flight 187 - Yes! This is what it is! This is the 50 that I can fuck with! Taking shots at legends (Puff and Jay) and allowing us to enter his personal life (apparently his baby momma must have Herpes and gave it to her boyfriend ). 5.0 The beat is hot and it's the closest thing to an underground track that works. The beat is a welcome change from the other beats that are on the album. The call and response works. "I'm a Rider"! And he actually shows some vulnerability. I'll take it!
18. Baby By Me (Bonus Track) Did we need two of these? The G Unit camp should have picked one of these and threw away the other. For the record they both stink but this is one is better. 4.0
Final Average Before I Self Destruct 3.5 (Okay)
Recommendation: Burn this album from a friend!