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50 Cent "The Massacre" Album Review

Release date: 3/3/05 - Interscope Records

Review by Compay for LatinRapper.com

 

50 Cent Massacre album review

The sophomore jinx is something feared by many MCs, and for good reason. Artists drop debut albums that caused a splash, only to follow up with an LP that is a brick in the eyes of critics and fans alike. This is certainly not the case with The Massacre, 50 Cent's second major LP effort (considering Power of the Dollar was often sold as an EP and wasn't considered a mainstream work).


50 Cent is a Hip Hop A&R's wet dream, from the chiseled appearance to the troubled background, topped off with a healthy dose of arrogance. Get Rich or Die Trying hit the charts like an A-Bomb, one of the hottest albums to date, which ironically could have proved the downfall of The Massacre. 50 Cent raised the bar so high with GRODT that fan expectations may be too elevated to reach.

The Massacre is a 22 track LP, and while it may not have as many radio-friendly cuts as his last album, some rap purists may argue that overall it's a better project. This album finds 50 pushing beyond his normal boundaries, not afraid to test the waters of different deliveries. The LP kicks off with gritty thugged out tracks as "In My Hood" and "This is 50", produced by Black Jeruz and Sha Money XL will have your head nodding.

50's variation in flow is most evident in the Eminem-produced "I'm Supposed to Die Tonight", where its almost as though he was channeling Slim Shady himself in his delivery. 50 kicks a Marshall-esque flow with lyrics like "Its elementary/Life is but a dream/You know row row your boat/And blood forms a stream" and later wrapping up with "Sometimes I sit and look at life from a different angle/Don't know if I'm God's child or Satan's Angel."

The first mild disappointment of the album is from all the hype surrounding "Piggy Bank", a track that Funkmaster Flex "refused" to play live after much pondering on the dirt that the song would kick up. At first listen to Piggy Bank, however, you're left with a distinctly empty "that's it?" feeling, if anything because diss songs have gotten so personal in the past that its damn near impossible to outdo tracks such as "Ether" or "Superugly". 50 takes his first and only effective jab at Fat Joe's debacle of having the hottest summer single but an album that flopped in sales, "You thought 'Lean Back' was big in the club, my sh*t did 11 mill, your sh*t was a dud." Curtis Jackson also takes shots at Jadakiss, Nas, and Shyne which is almost nonsensical considering he's incarcerated and not likely to run into 50 anytime soon. In other words, "Hit em Up" its not.

What would a 50 Cent album be without club bangers? Enter "Candy Shop", a Scott Storch produced cut which borders dangerously close to the Lean Back sound, yet 50 pulls it off and creates a track that screams Billboard Top 10. Then there's Disco Inferno, another track which could have been manufactured exclusively for strip clubs, catchy as hell with a steamy video that makes "Tip Drill" look like Sesame Street. Also destined for radio is "Built You Up" with the hook sung by none other than Jamie Foxx, an album cut that might as well be called "21 Questions Pt. 2". Unfortunately 50, like other MCs, can't help but get contradictory by spitting about freaks in some tracks and following up with lyrics like "Before I be your buddy in bed/Let me be your best friend/Girl its more than Lust/I want your trust" over a Scott Storch beat (by this point in the album, you can't help but notice Storch's beats all kind of sound like they were produced in the same week). The lady-friendly tracks end by cut 20, with Olivia once again lacing a funky beat with her vocals.

Sleeper tracks include the Hi-Tek produced "Get In My Car", filled with typical pimp and superthug bravado and but guaranteed to get multiple spins in whips from L.A. to Miami, and the smooth "Ski Mask Way" which is a throwback to the sound of Rap-A-Lot circa the early 90's. Another shining example of tracks that don't have a future in radio but make this album great is "Position of Power", vintage 50 over fresh production which overpowers some of the repetitive Scott Storch beats found on The Massacre. "Guest features include Eminem, who rides one of his own beats along with 50, Em's sound a refreshing change from some of the disastrous changes we've heard as of late (Lean Back remix, anyone?)

Hi Tek shines again by lacing "Ryder Music", one of the more laid back cuts on the entire album that begs for plays at night when you're looking for something mellow to nod to, 50's lyrics taking a change from gunplay to that of introspection peppered with self-praise. By the 15th track, some may get a little tired of the pistol talk in "Gunz Come Out", a Dre and Hector Elizondo produced track which demonstrates a complete lack of originality by 50 with lines like "The semi auto spray/Run if you get away/We'll find your whereabouts and clap at you another day". 50 goes gritty with the Buckwild produced "I Don't Need Em", a hardcore track reserved on some vintage 50-Cent-Get-Up-And-Punch-Someone-In-The-Face type music.

One of the best might have been saved for last on the final album cut, ironically produced by Terror Squad affiliates Cool and Dre. 50 and the rest of G-Unit spit introspective over a head nod inducing beat rich with 70's samples, with the rest of the G-Unit collective easily holding their own against 50.

The verdict? The Massacre is a step in the right direction by 50 to distance himself from going too commercial a la Ja Rule's sing songy radio cuts made before "Blood in My Eye". The biggest con by most hip hop purists is the blatant lack of lyricism on the part of 50, but what he lacks in flipping lyrics he makes up for in flow. Put simply, its an album you can enjoy from start to finish, just don't expect it to earn a Hip Hop Quotable. While a few tracks are clearly slapped together for the sake of radio spins, 50 stays loyal to fans that were with him since the mixtape days on keeping his music lean and gritty. The production earns a thumbs up, despite the diversity of the beats the album can be listened to from start to finish, a balance of club bangers and tracks to bump in your whip. One thing is for certain, the more times you listen to the entire album, the faster it will grow on you. A solid effort by 50, an album that won't please everyone, but has cuts that will keep it in heavy rotation for a long time to come.

 

 

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