50 Is Back: Better Than Last Time, But Not Better Than Ever
When 50 Cent’s first album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” came out in 2003 and was hailed as an instant classic. Six years later, after losing a bet to Kanye West over whose 2007 album would sell more, West’s “Graduation” or 50’s “Curtis,” 50 was on the decline. This gangster-turned-Vitamin-Water spokesman promised that “Before I Self Destruct” would be his best album yet. “BISD” is much better than “Curtis,” but still can’t match Get Rich or Die Tryin, or his 2006 album, The Massacre, both of which sold over 1 million copies their first week.
On “So Disrespectful” and the superb, Dr. Dre-produced “Death to my Enemies,” 50 disses rivals “The Game” and “Young Buck.” He has some serious guest power with Ne-Yo on the catchy single “Baby By Me”. Also, the best song on the album, “Psycho,” has 50’s mentor, Eminem, tearing up a sick solo. Eminem raps “Jack is back again/the Ripper’s at your service” and helps make “Psycho” an obvious hit. The word play on this album is generally the same as in the past: “I bring money to my friends and death to my enemies.” But 50 doesn’t seem to realize that his skills are on the decline. He needs to incorporate more wit because he can’t rap quite as well as he used to. “Before I Self Destruct” doesn’t have many big hits besides “Psycho” and “Baby By Me,” but with much less filler than “Curtis,” it’s a solid album that proves 50 can still compete with the best.
Key tracks: “Psycho” (feat. Eminem), “Baby By Me” (feat. Ne-Yo), “So Disrespectful”