50 Cent

Record Review

Phases and Stages

50 Cent

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)

Telling the same tired tale of street hustler turned MC superstar, 50 Cent's formulaic Get Rich or Die Tryin' adds another chapter to the novel of tough times/Top 40 hip-pop. Unlike unscathed storytellers, 50 is the real-deal product of crack peddling -- a true menace to society, complete with stab scars and bullet holes. Motivated only by Benjamins, we catch this gritty gangsta in a period of idle between current cartel plots yet always ready to get back into the game. He "made a mil on the deal and is still on the grind." Now making hits, 50 is the perfect antagonist for a lurid narrative starring the synthesized soundtrack of platinum producers Dr. Dre and Eminem. All he has to do is translate his true-life tales, through lockjawed hums and whines, over a catalog of tracks that addresses every popular trend. The outcome is as natural as John Gotti singing Sinatra. On "Blood Hound," the NYC MC tries out his quick South-side flow, a must have. "Many Men" is a Machiavellian mockery, a "me against the world" hymn for the haters, and "21 Questions" allows his rarely seen sensitive side to be drawn out by the all-area code pimp Nate Dogg, for the ladies of course, and success is sealed by the hits "In da Club" and "Wanksta." He sums it up simply: "Peter Piper picked peppers, and Run rocked rhymes; I'm 50 Cent; I write a little, but I pop nines."

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