When 50 Cent came on the hip-hip scene back in 2003, his Get Rich Or Die Tryin album introduced audiences to a fiery street rapper from Queens, New York. His songs like “Patiently Waiting,” “Many Men,” and of course “Wanksta” cohesively epitomized a personal struggle for survival, while other songs like “P.I.M.P.” and “In Da Club” were raw party jams perfect for turnin’ up to. Back then, 50 Cent’s music was authentic hood-shit that we couldn’t get enough of. He was everyone’s favorite rapper and his self-proclaimed ‘King Of New York’ title held weight and merit.
But fast-forward 11 years later. After a then unprecedented $400 million take from a Vitamin water deal and an unfortunate dismantling of his famed G-Unit clique, 50 Cent released his fifth studio album ‘Animal Ambition.’ An 11-track project with features from Yo Gotti, Trey Songz, Kidd Kidd, Jadakiss, and Mr. Probz, 50 Cent career has become a sad story of a washed-up rapper struggling to stay relevant.
50 Cent performed at Hot 97’s Summer Jam 2014, which went down this past Sunday. Thanks to my homie Marc for hooking me up with tickets, I was thrilled to attend and especially excited to see the nostalgic re-union of 50 Cent and G-Unit.
50 Cent came on before the rest of his G-Unit group teasing the 40,000+ audience with a flurry of the hit-singles that brought his name to prominence. At first, the enthusiastic New York crowd recited his short skits of songs like “In Da Club,” “Baby By Me,” and “21 Questions.” Even when Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck appeared good vibes were felt throughout MetLife Stadium indicated the audience’s smiles and roaring feedback.
But as 50 Cent continued, a shady grin appeared on the video-boards as he snapped a selfie on stage without the rest of his crew. Fifty started playing full songs off his ‘Animal Ambition’ album like “Don’t Worry About It” and “Hold On” as his voice began to fade the deeper into the performance he went. And when he retreated back to classic songs like “I Get Money,” his once enthusiastic fan-base was dead-silent with not one camera phone recording the set.
What’s ironic about his new album, Animal Ambition, is that 50 Cent is still rapping about the same violent topics about selling dope and strapping heat.
Yet as he conspicuously dons gold chains at Summer Jam and drives blue Lamborghini’s in Connecticut, it’s entirely evident that his lifestyle has completely changed. Even if 50 Cent wasn’t filthy rich, the lack of exciting delivery and energy for his craft that he once abundantly possessed don’t even make his rhymes believable anymore. It’s almost like ‘Animal Ambition’ is fictitious tale of rapper likened to Scarface who doesn’t know when to quit.
Even the album’s radio-single “Smoke” is a brief return to the classic sound he once possessed. The Trey Songz feature is a nice dimension, but at the same time, it’s also extra compensation to draw attention away from 50 Cent’s now simple rapping skills. The album’s production is an obvious attempt at music for the streets, but besides “Pilot” it’s entirely boring and an indication that 50 Cent has lost his connection to the trap-laden culture of today’s hip-hop.
Granted, 50 Cent was never a rapid fire lyricst like Eminem or T.I. and what’s great about his personality is that he doesn’t try to be. But he did used to flow effortlessly with vivid lyrics that were relatable to the urban audience’s he was going for. We all know he has money now, and that’s fine because even Ludacris makes good EDM songs. But from a loyal fan’s point of view and someone whose owned every previous album he’s put out, 50 Cent is trying to re-accomplish the buzz he one had with a whimsical attitude and fruity loops beats. ‘Animal Amibition’ is a frustrating disappointment, in his classic collection, and one that I would rate a 6/10 because I’m nice.
Read more from EJ at Good Music All Day