Rating: 7.5 / 10
It’s not like 50 Cent’s been silent lately; he’s been making music and remaining relevant in several different aspects, whether it’s slick-talking his way into news headlines, partnering up with champion boxers, or verbally abusing anyone who rubs him the wrong way on Twitter (label included). Yet for some reason, when he dropped his previous project (The Big 10), although according to normal standards it did well, it was still nowhere near the level of buzz and appreciation 50’s used to getting for his stellar album releases.
It’s with that said that 50 Cent decides to get back to his roots; the aggressive side of his demeanor that made him notable to begin with. At times he’s a contradiction and other times he’s an enigma of sorts, but he’s never NOT entertaining. The issue for most has been seeing if he can maintain that charisma for an album like he’s done in the past. If you let 50 tell it, he’s sure he can.
His label, more or less, doesn’t seem to be so certain from their actions.
So 50’s taking matters into his own hands by partnering with one of the undisputed kings of the mixtape circuit. DJ Drama has linked to try and spark something special with 50, and The Lost Tape is the gritty result. It’s not perfect by any means, and it’s not even one of the best tapes to be released this year, but it serves its purpose of reminding us why we initially loved/hated 50 Cent in the first place.
From the moment “Get Busy” drops, 50 stakes his claim again with all original music (excluding the “Riot Remix” that has him and 2 Chainz trading bars within each verse), and most of them work (excluding the cheesy hook and production for “Swag Level”). It’s the same 50 Cent that we’ve grown accustomed to musically, and that’s not a bad thing. The in-your-face vibe of “Murder One” and “You A Killer? Cool” help to back that statement, alongside the radio-esque sounds from “I Ain’t Gonna Lie” (feat. Robbie Nova) and “Planet 50” (with Jeremih), and it all works somehow.
Curtis also uses his platform to show off his newest additions to G-Unit as well; Kidd Kidd and Precious Paris all come through and improve their stock in the ears of the listeners (most notably Kidd Kidd; Paris proved she was nice with her latest mixtape From Paris With Love). The features are also slick, but still pale in comparison to the man of the hour. Even on smooth, radio ready joints like “I Ain’t Gonna Lie”, 50’s patented trash-talk outshines the vocals on the hook and makes the song memorable, but familiar all the while.
And that may be the problem for most people that hear the tape. Yes, 50 drops some quotable lines and proves that he can still make music, but it doesn’t sound too different from music he’s done in the past. If you rock with 50, this will reinforce your support, but if you’re wanting that special “something” like we got when we first heard Get Rich Or Die Trying (or for some, his unreleased/scrapped and heavily bootlegged Columbia Records LP Power of the Dollar), then maybe that’s coming in July when he supposedly drops his album. For now, it’s a great statement to listeners and artists alike that 50’s not playing when it comes to music. Let’s just hope The Lost Tape isn’t the last highlight he provides.