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50 Cent - 5 (Murder By Numbers)

You might be wondering where 50 Cent is these days. A legend of the game, his status was sealed and delivered when he managed to back the monumental success of Get Rich Or Die Tryin' up with 7.5 million copies sold of The Massacre. He's still making music, The Lost Tape released in May with the evergreen DJ Drama was tight, and The Big 10 was decent. We're still awaiting the real release though, his next LP, slated for a November 2012 opening. In the meantime, 50 has given us this mixtape to 'appease' his fans due to a delay in release he's put down to label troubles. My question is, how does an artist as big and successful as 50 Cent still have label issues? He is signed to Interscope, Shady, and Aftermath, but Interscope handles the major stuff I assume. Whilst his peers have formed their own labels with their own set distribution and promotion channels, 50 Cent languishes at the hands of the so-called enemy?

The news gets worse for fans who have been waiting almost 3 years for a new studio album. 5 (Murder By Numbers) is not good. It's not great, it's not brilliant, it's not hard, it's not an old wizened hip hop head releasing a tape for the streets. It feels like a reclusive millionaire who has lost touch with the real world, stumbling his way through 10 tracks that his yes men probably told him were 'hot' and were 'bangers', but are really just out of touch and not relevant. Gone is the 50 Cent of old. His skills are still there, absolutely no doubt. Technically, he is gifted and learned, his ability on the beat is a clear result of years and years of honing and experience. It's just a pity the fire, the spark, is absent on this release. I hold hope, however, that Street King Immortal will drop this trend. Before I Self Destruct was good, when he applies himself he can be the greatest.

The most apt description of the album comes from the rapper himself. On track 7, Money, he raps the chorus 'starting to feel like there's nothing left to talk about but the money'. The fact that he fits that sentence in to such a short snippet of music is testament to the skill of the man, but the message he sends with that statement is one of doom for fans. On Curtis, I'm sure you'll remember the brilliant, stunning 'I Get Money', 50 Cent at his most witty rapping about nothing but cash. 'Money' feels nothing like this, it's tired, played out, like 50 Cent has already checked out. On United Nations, the best beat of the record, he feels lazy. The beat is menacing, aggressive, a favourite theme amongst his back catalogue. 50 Cent just doesn't attack it or approach it with any vigour, he sounds apathetic. Even My Crown, the first track, he doesn't set a tone, he barely gets out of 2nd gear. He even starts it by saying 'I'm still the shit, I'm rich already', as if in those two lines he's reassuring himself that he's more now than he ever was before, that he has progressed and is still relevant.

I don't know if you have twitter, but if you know how to work google, type in 50 Cent twitter quotes and click the first link. The bloke is hilarious! He has laced the odd track with a clever humourous line here and there, but his recent twitter ramblings convinced me he has a sense of humour. His pictures of him doing ridiculous things with ridiculous amounts of money are an internet hit too. So why does he not apply some of this wittiness to 5? I found one example, the line on Can I Speak To You 'if you scared, get a dog / get a male, cause the bitch will get you both in the mall'. That's it.. The rest is either about money, his ability to get paid to take a vacation, or all the freaky and dirty things he wants to do to females. It's disappointing, it's like listening to DMX on valium. He's still rapping but all impact is gone.

2/10 So what is this release then? Why did I bother even reviewing it? I don't think it's an indicator of worse things to come. Even when 50 Cent isn't in the charts, he's still capable of making great records. His next full lengther will be something to look forward to. I think this release is an after thought. The production team isn't laced with hit makers. The record still feels tightly produced, there are no awful tracks on it. It's just so blatantly uninspiring, even lazy, from a superstar. It has no teeth, and that's disappointing. Maybe he should've just let the fans wait until November rather than releasing this.

Best Tracks: Roll That Shit.. that's it

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