Review: Jack Foley
SAY what you will about 50 Cent but at least he offers fans value
for money. His latest album, The Massacre, contains 22
tracks (and a bonus DVD if you buy the special edition).
Yet his brand of hip-hop is very particular. Born out of the
singer's own tough life story, it's very much about the hardships
of life in the 50 Cent neighbourhood and it occasionally comes
across as containing too much street bravado.
Landmark album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin' set the template,
while The Massacre picks it up and runs with it, containing
plenty of hard lyrics and even harder rhythms.
The maxim seems to be that life on the streets is tough, so roll
with it or die.
Tracks such as I'm Supposed To Die Tonight and the brutal
diss of Piggy Bank tell their own story, packed with
tales of gangs, drug abuse, whores and hardship.
You have to credit 50 Cent with having the guts to survive (despite
having been shot himself) and for striving to push forward and
make a better life for himself.
But it's a tough listen and pretty joyless, even though it provides
a gritty insight into the suburbs of Compton and the West Coast
Baltimore Love Thing, for instance, is a conceptual
track in which 50 Cent explores the dark romance between a junkie
and heroin addict, while Get In My Car is all about the
bravado that exists on the streets and comes packed with machine-gun
blasts and lyrics such as 'what you lookin' at pussy'.
The album, as a whole, exists in the late-night territory marked
for Westwood and co, and is very much an adult listen.
Yet there are some funkier moments, that recall the mainstream
brilliance of In Da Club, his seminal track.
Forthcoming single, Candy Shop, contains another addictive
hook that is neatly offset with Eastern-style strings and the
sultry vocals of G Unit first lady, Olivia.
The soulful backing singers of Ryder Music also help
to infuse the track with a slightly more laidback vibe, even though
the lyrics still contain some heavyweight issues, while the 'love
song' Just A Lil Bit is packed with sex references ('I
want to unbutton your pants just a little bit, take em off and
pull em down just a little bit') and another Eastern melody.
The download track, Disco Inferno, is another strong
contender, featuring the same sort of infectious rhythms that
made several of the dance anthems on Get Rich stand out so much.
Needless to say, The Massacre is being hailed as a massive
hip-hop event and has the support of all the West Coast heavyweights
(Dr Dre, Eminem and G Unit) who seem to be striving to help 50
Cent achieve his goal of global hip-hop domination.
It's good but it's an acquired taste and likely to offend those
of a nervous disposition.
And let's not forget that while the hip-hop market seems to be
dominated by 50 Cent and co at the moment, there's still room
for some of the more simple pleasures, such as DM & Jemini,
De La Soul and their ilk.
The Massacre is rude, crude and downright essential for the 50
Cent crowd, but it doesn't always deliver as much as it thinks