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50 Cent undeserving of fame, fortune

Kenyatta Storin | Thursday, March 17, 2005

50 Cent may have the image, the charisma, the beats and the marketing, but when it comes down to it, he does not have the one thing that truly counts – talent. The former hustler, who is best known for surviving nine gunshot wounds in 2000, has quickly become one of the biggest names in rap after the success of his 2003 debut album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” led by hits such as “In Da Club,” “21 Questions” and “Magic Stick.” Along with the clout and star power of Eminem, Dr. Dre and G-Unit, 50 Cent’s success has turned the Aftermath label into a rap juggernaut that does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. 50 Cent’s sophomore album, “The Massacre,” already sits atop the Billboard charts at No. 1, and the singles “Candy Shop” and “Disco Inferno” are among the hottest in the nation.But these strong sales are mostly due to the catchiness of 50 Cent’s choruses and beats, not his rapping. His rhymes are typically quite simple, often lacking in vocabulary, wit and emotion. Furthermore, in many cases he will rhyme with the same one-syllable sound over and over, sometimes even using the same word multiple times, like on “Gatman and Robbin,” where he rhymes the word “it” six times in one verse. Even Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer could have done that.”The Massacre” is obviously not meant to be a particularly deep or provocative album, but even when that is taken into account there is still very little substance. Most of the songs fall under the usual gangsta rap clichés of hustling, sex and materialism without providing anything fresh or different to distinguish them. Although rappers like Snoop Dogg, Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac all rapped about these things, each had a distinguished style, flavor and emotion to his music that distinguished them from one another and ultimately allowed them to all find a niche in hip-hop history. Furthermore, these rappers were avid storytellers, painting an image of their lives that listeners could grasp and empathize with, even if it may have been exaggerated or embellished at times. Unfortunately, 50 Cent provides none of this in his music. His songs are generally hollow and empty, leaving little to hold on to after the beats have lost their novelty and catchiness. Even the club singles, “Candy Shop” and “Disco Inferno,” are sub par, and might as well be called “Magic Stick II” and “In Da Club II.” “A Baltimore Love Thing” is one of the only songs that strays from the norm, with 50 Cent taking on the perspective of heroin and name-dropping famous artists like Kurt Cobain and Ozzy Osbourne. One of the album’s positives is its production, which is supplied by Eminem, Dr. Dre and Hi-Tek, along with relative unknowns like Needlz and C. Styles. Although none of the production is amazing, as a whole it is generally rather catchy, allowing the album to serve as good background music in party situations.”The Massacre” is ultimately a rather average album. Like a mediocre action film, it has its amusing moments, but in the end it has limited replay value. 50 Cent may be popular now, but if he does not improve his content and flow, he will see his popularity slowly fade away like other unremarkable pop rappers before him.