50 Cent:Before I Self Destruct
[Aftermath Entertainment; 2009]
By Star Watson, Staff Writer
November 18, 2009
Before I Self Destruct is nothing more than 50 Cent’s journey to top Get Rich or Die Trying, but he falls short because he has yet to broaden his horizons as a rapper.
The content is his typical outline of what is gangster, street, etc. This album does, however, manage to have catchy beats, some sort of consistency, and enough content that makes 50, well, 50. However, his lack of expansion as a writer keeps him at bay as a full-fledged hip-hop artist. He is going head-to-head against the “Internet thugs,” baby mothers, Bette Midler, or whoever else indirectly helps him sell records.
Before I Self Destruct follows the typical format that all rappers use to sell as many records as possible in the music industry. That includes a couple club joints (“Get Up” and “Get It Hot”), a couple songs for the ladies (“Baby By Me” and “Do You Think About Me”) and a few songs that solidify his thugness (“The Invitation,” “Death to My Enemies” and "Crime Wave").
The only pre-packaged criteria 50 Cent refused to follow (and has never followed) is having a lot of guest artists outshining him. (Eminem makes an incomprehensible appearance on “Psycho,” which exempts him from going pop with this album.) He did manage to keep his content fresh with tracks that addressed his current haters, especially "So Disrespectful" that addressed Lil Wayne and his problems with his family.
The production for Before I Self Destruct is great, but there should be nothing less than great when a product comes out under Aftermath. His leading single “Get Up” was nicely produced by Scott Storch, who is known for the “hard but fun enough for the club” kind of music he consistently puts out. “Hold Me Down,” which was produced by J Keys, is the best song that is compatible with 50 Cent's rap style. His flow definitely compliments the beat, but there isn’t much effort given by 50 since the beat already contained a certain flow to it.
Not surprisingly, “Psycho” is the best themed beat, not only because of who performed on the track and the content, but because of who produced it: Dr. Dre.
His delivery was the typical 50 Cent, suave yet rugged and raw, which keeps him consistent as a rapper. His smooth but hardcore delivery makes him versatile enough to rap about almost anything. Only 50 Cent can have a song called “Crime Wave” and then have a song called “Baby By Me” and get away with it on his label.
However, his consistency doesn’t keep up with the times. Who really wants to hear the same ol’ 50, who strives to be a thug despite his multi-million-dollar business ventures, when he had almost a decade to expand his craft as a musician? Maybe that’s because he’s not a musician, but a businessman who sticks to his comfort zone to make his dividends.
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