how much circumstances can change from one album to another. On the eve of 50’s debut in 2003, everyone was
falling all over him. Now those very same fans hate him and everything he does.
The reasons vary, Hip Hop fans love to player hate and catch feelings about
whoever makes it big, others claim 50
fell off after Get Rich or Die Tryin‘.
While I never became a 50 hater (nor
was I ever a 50 lover), I can’t
argue that he didn’t become a lazy, shell of his former self (and he isn’t the
greatest lyricist to begin with). But after the worst verses of his career on
the G-Unit album, 50 has been picking up steam lately
with stellar guest spots with Eminem,
Snoop Dogg and The Game.
With his shiny hit single “Candy Shop” and 8x platinum debut, I was certainly
expecting a very commercial effort this time around. Surprisingly, The Massacre is actually a grittier
album than Get Rich or Die Tryin‘.
Sure you’ve got the obligatory insincere and nauseating tracks for the ladies (“Candy
Shop,” “So Amazing,” and “Build You Up”), but you’ve also got raw street shit
by the handful. The best come from Dr.
Dre and the incredible “Gunz Come Out,” newcomers C Styles and Bang Out
just lace the dope opener “In My Hood” and bbrings something sinister for “Ryder
Music.” Not to be forgotten are other gems like the hi-powered “My Toy Soldier”
and the stick-up kid anthem “Ski
Mask Way.” But the allure of 50 is best displayed on “I’m Supposed To Die Tonight.” 50 takes the dark, bare bones track and
brings it to life with his style and charisma, qualities which are most often
displayed in his hooks. He may not be anywhere close to being the best emcee
around, but I don’t know if anyone consistently writes better hooks.
Then, of course, you’ve got the club hits. The flute-driven “Disco Inferno” proved
to be a nice sequel to “In Da Club,” but Dre’s
“Outta Control” may be an even better sequel. Plus you’ve got your “P.I.M.P.”
sequel in “Get In My Car” and 50
even gets conceptual with “A Baltimore Love Thing,” which has him speaking from
the perspective of heroin. The problem with this album comes in a few forms – for
one it is just too long; 21 songs is just unnecessary and quite a few could
have easily been cut. While the production is top-notch and 50 knows how to make a great song, it
can sound like too much of a “product” when you realize he is just applying the
same formulas as they always do at Interscope.
Of course, 50 doesn’t have a whole
lot to talk about and he isn’t dazzling anyone with slick metaphors. It is all
style over substance here. Personally, I can accept that because I am expecting
it when I put on a 50 album. If I want Chuck
D, I’ll listen to Chuck D.
Another black mark on the album is “Piggybank,” which is 50 at his worst. It is this attitude that makes so many people hate
50, he is just being petty and
childish, and the dis is soft to boot.
Unfortunately, this album won’t be judged by most on its merits. It will be
judged by who made it. Either people despise 50, usually because they don’t think he deserves his popularity or
because they just think he’s an obnoxious asshole. Or people ride his dick and
claim he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. So this album is either a
piece of shit or another classic. So another dope album from 50 will never be held in the regard it
should be, instead it’s marred in some form controversy. But then again, maybe 50 wouldn’t have it any other way.