The 50 Cent story began with a 1996 mix tape track ‘How To Rob An Industry Nigga,’ his open half-braggadocio, half-comedy claim that, as he was skint, he was going to lift ideas and samples off hip-hop's biggest names (39 to be precise). Instant notoriety was his.
Shame that this early balls-the-size-of-cannonballs move now sees 50 sounding like just the same old hip-hop MC product: _"I’m bad, blah blah, I'm blinging blah-d-blah (and yet still extraordinarily grimy)."_ It's the hype (shot 9 times, the beefs) which has made this such a highly anticipated album, not to mention the all-important patronage of Dr. Dre and Eminem. This LP was always set to sell by the bucket load, but a real opportunity has been missed.
The lead-off single ‘In Da Club’ doesn't really represent the musical chaff of the rest of ‘Get Rich...’ The thug sing-along chorus hook and the simple groove of the backing track shift themselves up with stabs of Herrmann-esque strings and strummed guitar. 50's menace and swagger are palpable, and this is the only time that his lyrics and flow shine like he does on the mix tapes, now thankfully more readily available. A proper head nodder.
But unfortunately Dre only produces four tracks and the less hungry 50 Cent can't hold up the other clean-cut, uninspired ones. The vast majority of the beats are polished but bland; they plod along as 4-bar loops of straightforward bass and drums. Considering one of hip-hop's foundations is rhythm, there is a disappointing lack of invention on offer. Even with Nate Dogg providing the vocal hook on ‘21 questions’ and Eminem tearing up his detractors on ‘Patiently Waiting,’ the uninspiring production makes this a wasted chance to turn an obvious huge seller into a hip-hop classic.
This will sell and sell, but 50's major label debut lacks the punch of his previous work and the next man up won't have much to contend with to take the belt from him. And as hip-hop's innovators continue to morph into the mainstream by collaborating with pretty blondes and boy bands, it's just a matter of time before those who sit back on lazy formulas will have to step up their game.
4Scott McKeating's Score