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50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

Yes, In Da Club is here. We all know that song, it was everywhere for a long time. So, is 50 a one-hit wonder? No. Let’s see what else is on this disc.

Honestly, it’s a lot of boasting and promising to hurt us in many creative ways if we get in his face. Oh, and partying and getting laid and getting high and being rich, and how hard it was growing up and getting shot a lot. No surprises in any of this.

One thing I would like someone to do (because I can’t be arsed to do it myself): I’d love to know how many times he uses the words ‘nigga’ and ‘bitch’ on this record. I’ll bet the (surely large) number would either be really shocking or, you know, not shocking at all.

The best part of it all, for me, was the music. There are some fine grooves here. Yes, it’s rap music, so there’s that meditative head-nodding beat thing, but there’s usually something interesting and catchy going on over the drums.  It’s well-produced product, built to be rocked in da club (ahem), and at that it succeeds in spades, and no mistake.

One thing that was obvious to me is that we cannot overstate the influence of Eminem on this album. He appears on two tracks (Patiently Waiting, and Don’t Push Me – also with Tony Yayo). The song Wanksta was on Eminem’s 8 Mile soundtrack. He produced some (if not all) of it, as did Dr. Dre. The album saw release (in part) thanks to Shady Records. As a result of all of this, to be frank, 50 does a pretty good Eminem impression throughout most of this. Yes, he has his own approach, a bit of a different flow (Eminem is far better at enunciation), and even though he was shot nine times he isn’t nearly as angry as Eminem. But it’s pretty easy, listening to this, to imagine Eminem rapping any of these songs on his own records. It has that sound.

Did I like this? Sure. Is it a classic? Oh probably, to those in the know. Myself? I’m not sure I could even shout out songs that were any better than the others. It all flowed together into a unified groove (again, built for da club). It did what I thought it would, and for that I gotta respect it.

Would I play this a lot? Probably not, but stranger things have happened. But for the experience of sitting here and blasting it while I did other things, it was certainly good enough.

50 Cent – The Massacre

I am the wrong guy to be writing this, and a clearer head would tell me that I should just stop here.

Of course, I won’t stop. Give ‘er!

I don’t know much about 50 Cent, and only bought this CD because I found it for $1 and I was curious. The only tracks of his I know for sure are In Da Club, which was inescapable on this planet a while back, and his tracks on the 8 Mile soundtrack, which I own (and not for his songs). That’s it.

Going into hearing this, I made a few assumptions based on what little I do know about him: There would be lots of talk about guns (and getting shot), drugs, how tough life is in the hood, sex with women, alcohol, money, and tons of expletives and use of the N-word. Were these assumptions fair? Between the (violently horrible) Intro and the first song, In My Hood, I’m pretty sure he hit them all. And there were still 20 tracks to go.

I’m not even going to do a track by track analysis. The album played in the background while I typed this up. I am not a rap guy, I can’t say much intelligent about his “spitting” or the content of his songs. He mumbles like crazy though, and I really wish someone would tell him that speaking lazily and risking being misunderstood is really no way to go through life. However, I do know that I came away from the listening experience feeling vaguely threatened, but I’m like Michael Bolton in Office Space, stuck in traffic – about as white as white can get, so there you go.

In its favour, I will say that I like the pacing of most of the tracks. It’s like a stroll, pretty laid back. Or probably, in his lingo, the right speed for a drive-by’s soundtrack. You’ve all seen those cars, cruising slowly, windows down, long arms hanging out, riders slouched way low. This is that music. Anyway, it does have a groove to it and, while they are repetitive, some of the riffs aren’t bad.

Most rap albums seem to have a focus on collaborations and appearances, and this one has a few. Eminem appears (in fact, he produced it, along with Dr. Dre). So do people named Olivia, Tony Yayo, the G-Unit, and the actor, Jamie Foxx. His track, Build You Up, sounds like all the rest of the tracks here, but with him in it on the backing vocals at the chorus bit, I think? Not sure I heard him rap. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

So yeah, not at all my usual type of music, but I was willing to give it a go. I could do without all the aggression, posturing and violence. I mean, the world is a tough enough place, now we need to fill our heads with more of it? Besides, I’m sure that, since he got famous, 50 Cent’s “hood” is in a more upscale neighbourhood, these days. Never forget the rough days, though, I guess.

Will I ever play this album again? Not likely. But all deference to all of those who liked it and think I’m missing out. That’s cool by me. You go ahead and enjoy.

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