50 Cent has been acting crazy lately, and he gets worse when his sophomore album, The Massacre, is about to drop. He is not only beefing with other rappers, but also with his own man, the Game, as well. Because of the pressures he is facing with, his paranoia is explainable. If I were in his position, I would feel the same. Two years ago, he was on top of the game. His debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’ sold eleven million copies. When an artist sells that much, the expectation is much higher. Can 50 live up to it?
The good news is The Massacre has plenty of hot beats for 50 to ride on. From the delightful jazz groove (“In My Hood”) to the clubbing Indian-inflected (“Just a Lil Bit”), he spins on these beats as smooth as the chrome rims on his Benz. Like his mentor Eminem, he sings almost all the hooks (twenty out of twenty-two tracks). Unlike Em, however, he sounds more matured and professional. His thick and slightly raucous voice helps tremendously. His delivery is both effortless and intricacy. His flow is as passionate as the song requires, and his style is switching on nearly every track. The collaboration with Em on “Gatman and Robbin'” is a delicious duo. They fashioned an artfully constructed style that has not been heard before.
Although the beat, flow, and delivery are exceptional, the missing piece of the puzzle is the lyrical content, which is as dried as the desert. When he is not foul mouthing on Nas, Fat Joe, Shyne, and Jadakiss (“Piggy Bank”), he either swaggers on his gangsta life (“I am suppose to Die Tonight”) or disrespects women (“Get in My Car”). After spitting on girls, he makes a three-point-turn and rhymes his sweet thugging heart out on “A Baltimore Love Thing,” where he spits “Girl, I’m missing you, come and see me soon / Tie your arm up, put that lighter under that spoon / Now put that needle to your arm princess, stick it in.” Unfortunately, only a few good lines like that come through on the album. In addition, he recycles same words over and over again. How many times does he say the word “Teflon” and “hollow tips?”
50 Cent probably did not want to, but he set standards so high that he himself can’t reach, and he knows it. Even though he hides it by sounding like not breaking a sweat on the tracks, his forceful laughter shows it all. The Massacre may not be able to break through eleven million, but the clubbing beats and the playful performance will guarantee the platinum numbers. The weight is heavy, but at least he takes it off his shoulders.