Everyone knows that Curtis Jackson handles the business side of things. He does shows like “Power Lunch” on CNBC, he co-authors books with authors like Robert Greene, he makes investments with unknown companies that in turn, pay off big, However 50 Cent is the gun toting, crime committing ignorant bastard that will start a beef with anyone and in some cases, destroys careers. 50 is also the one responsible for 2003’s “Get Rich Or Die Trying”, the breakout album that was the perfect combination of beats, hardcore rhymes and the often-overlooked element of success…timing. Since that album took the world by storm and made Fiddy a household name, many of his fans have been waiting to see a return to that form. The two albums that followed it did well commercially, but 5-0 was criticized by some for trying too hard to appeal to pop audiences. He regained some of his hard core tenacity with 2007’s “Curtis”, but many still wanted to see an even hungrier version of the Jamaica, Queens native.

Truth is, he ISN’T as hungry anymore, homie has been eating well for awhile, and just like any of us, he’s susceptible to falling into food coma. In any case, the first half of “BISD” should do well to show that 50 is indeed still hungry. Songs like “Death To My Enemies” and “So Disrespectful” feature Fif sounding as aggressive as ever. Former G-Unit member, Young Buck catches the wrath as 50 airs out all of the dirty laundry:

“That nigga Buck a fiend, tell momma he done smoked the TV
I ain’t know he fuck with more dope than B.G.
Plus a nigga sip more syrup than Pimp C
Man keepin these muthafuckas rich ain’t easy
Especially when a nigga wanna stunt like Jeezy
And his CDs’ didn’t sell like his CDs’
Man, that nigga blew all of his chips on dem breezies
Mad ’cause the world won’t treat him like Weezy
Look I don’t give a fuck, nigga please believe me
No nigga in no vocal booth around can see me”

The beat used for “So Disrespectful” was produced by Tha Bizness, and was actually used for Killer Mike and Ice’s Cube’s “Pressure” which appeared on “I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind Part II”. With Dre on the beat, and 50 and Eminem trading barbs, “Psycho” turns out to be one of the pleasant surprises of the album. 5-0 even takes the time to address his current situation with Rick Ross, as he boasts “When I get done with Ricky, it’ll be blood that he coughs up”. The Team Demo produced, “Crime Wave” is vintage 50 Cent…heavy beats, aggressive street rhymes. It is at this point where he sounds most natural, and above that…most comfortable. This formula repeats itself on other songs like “Strong Enough” and “Stretch.”

Curtis Jackson is a fairly smart guy, so it would only be a matter of time before he had Fiddy do at least one song that was radio-ready. In this case, that song is the Polow da Don-produced, “Baby By Me” which features R&B crooner Ne-Yo, as 50 boasts:

“First it’s her neck, yeah then her back
Yea I’m a freak, I get into all that
Girl I perform for ya, like a porno star
Till ya had enough then I just need a lil’ bit more
New music new move new position
New erotic sounds is goin’ down now listen
I can hear your heartbeat your sweatin’
I can paint a perfect picture
I get deeper and deeper, I told ya I’d get ya
I work that murk that just the way ya like it baby
Turn a quickie into an all nighter maybe
Your sex drive it match my sex drive
Then we be movin’ as fast as a Nascar ride
Switch gears slow down, go down whoa now
You can feel every inch of it when we intimate”

The less-than-hard songs continue with “Do You Think About Me”, which has 50 thinking back on his relationship with the mother of his son. The Dr. Dre produced, “Ok, You’re Right” was previously featured on the “War Angel LP” mixtape. The album comes to a close with the rather tame, “Could’ve Been You” which features R. Kelly on the hook.

With another album (possibly his last) in the books, I’m sure the burning question is “does 50 Cent come harder this time around”? The answer to that question is a resounding “yes”. The production on the album is top notch, even though some beats have managed to find their way onto the album after being lifted from albums that were released a few years ago like “Then Days Went By” which uses the same Jackson Five sample as GFK’s “Street Opera” from 2006’s “More Fish”. On the lyrical side of things, 50 seems to have his edge back. Whether he’s orchestrating a robbery or bucking (pun intended) shots at his foes, it seems apparent that the criticisms got to him. For the hard core fans, the softer songs are skippable, but I can’t hold that against him too much. I mean, even “GRODT” had “21 Questions” on it.

50 Cent :: Before I Self Destruct
7.5Overall Score