In the last decade, Queens rapper 50 Cent [click to read] has gone from a street hustler to a multi-faceted businessmen who lives on the power of the dollar. This conversion, while obviously great for his financial status, has arguably turned him into an artist who feeds off of publicity more than the quality of his music. With his recent viral video beef with Rick Ross, some followers felt it was a display of Fifty‘s stagnant Rap career. Releasing his new street album, War Angel LP [click to download], just days ago and without promotion or price, 50 Cent is out to prove to his fans that he can still bring it, just as he did seven years ago with Guess Who’s Back?

Right from the start, 50 makes his presence felt on the violently-charged record “I Line Niggas.” Backed by booming drums and a grimy intuition, Fifty rips on about slaying opponents while giving Kanye West a small jab when he raps, “Goons don’t use Auto-Tune, just Yeezy.” Keeping with his gun-toting theme, Fifty readies for lyrical combat with “C.R.E.A.M. 2009.” Unabashed, the Queens rapper colorfully displays his street life past as he rhymes, “The shooting gonna start right after the shit talkin’ / I was selling crack while Mike was moon walkin.‘” His strongest performance on War Angel becomes evident on “Better Come On Your A Game.” Fueled by a beat that other rappers would salivate over, Curtis comes correct with a verse-hook combo that’s reminiscent of his Get Rich Or Die Trying [click to read] days. 

As evident on his first three studio albums, War Angel wouldn’t be a complete Fifty project without an ode or two to the opposite sex. With that said, the quality at which he approaches his tracks this time around is passing to say the least. On “London Girl,” a shout out to his women across the pond, 50 Cent uses a weak British accent on the first verse which detracts from an otherwise soulful record. Likewise, on “I’ll Do Anything,” Curtis serenades his woman with the finer things in life. However, his tacky attempt to sing mixed with lines like “you like girls I like girls too, we got something in common,” are only saved by a sultry beat. 

With the only featured artist in Robin Thicke [click to read], “Cocaine” turns out to be the weakest track on War Angel. This comes as a surprise despite the fact that last time they hooked up on “Follow My Lead” for Curtis, they worked rap-R&B magic. However, this record falters as Fifty’s whispering delivery doesn’t blend with the song from Thicke‘s 2007 album. In addition, 50 Cent‘s boasting on “Ok, You’re Right” [click to listen] comes off as a record that lacks substance. True, Fifty has historically been known to flaunt his financial status, but with a beat that is ready for the best car stereo system, 50 Cent misses a golden opportunity to go in hard. 

If there’s anything we can learn from War Angel, it’s that 50 Cent is very much still capable of rhyming with the best. While the project is short at 30 minutes, with each song between two to three minutes long. 50‘s performance is promising. Now, is it his “best mixtape ever,” as he stated last week? That’s debatable. However, if War Angel is a preview to what the Queens emcee has in store for Before I Self Destruct, G-Unit fans around the world have something to look forward to come autumn.