Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is a marketing genius. Since his mainstream arrival in 2003 with the album Get Rich or Die Tryin,’ 50 has repeatedly executed successful advertising strategies centered upon drama and adversity. While 50’s initial intrigue was his survival after getting shot nine times, he has since taken to initiating feuds with notable rappers within the music industry (seemingly as a means to entertain his fans and in doing so to garner promotion). 50 Cent’s fourth album Before I Self Destruct follows the exact same formula. Throughout the past year 50 and Miami’s own Rick Ross have engaged in an ongoing war of words resulting in a barrage of insulting songs and deprecating internet videos. Recently, 50 has even begun attacking Jay-Z alongside one of Jay’s disgruntled former label mates, Beanie Sigel.
Unfortunately for 50 Cent, however, having quality promotion doesn’t result in quality music. While Before I Self Destruct plays to 50’s strengths (catchy choruses, braggadocios lyrics and his confrontational persona), his lack of versatility ultimately makes the album redundant and boring. Thirteen out of the album’s 16 tracks are either about how menacing he is, how much money he has or about his drug dealing past. Despite excellent production from Dr. Dre, Rockwilder, Dj Khalil and others, lyrically the content has much to be desired. That being said, it does have some stand-out tracks including the Eminem-assisted “Psycho” and the aggressively arrogant “So Disrespectful,” the emotional “Do You Think About Me” and the fun “Could’ve Been You” featuring R. Kelly.
Overall Before I Self Destruct does not stray far from 50’s previous albums. The lack of experimentation on his newest record is an unsuccesful attempt at rekindling the success he achieved in the past.Until 50 can successfully re-discover a way of making music which doesn’t sound contrived, he might be better suited Getting Rich as a Marketer for Interscope Records, and not as an artist.
Executive Producer: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
Release Date: Nov. 16