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50 Cent - The Massacre


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 gangsta lifestyle.

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 it should.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. In My Hood
3. This Is 50
4. I'm Supposed To Die Tonight
5. Piggy Bank
6. GATman And Robbin
7. Candy Shop
8. Outta Control
9. Get In My Car
10. Ski Mask Way
11. A Baltimore Love Thing
12. Ryder Music
13. Disco Inferno
14. Just A Lil Bit
15. Gunz Come Out
16. My Toy Soldiers
17. Position Of Power
18. Build You Up
19. God Gave Me Style
20. So Amazing
21. I Don't Need 'Em
22. Hate It Or Love It (G Unit remix)

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