* 1/2 (out of 4)
When we met 50 Cent 11 years ago, he was a bulletproof vest-wearing death cheater. He had personality. He cracked jokes. I watched interviews with him just to see what he was going to say.
Now, for his first album in five years, the rapper born Curtis Jackson has chosen the title “Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire to Win” despite showcasing the least ambition he’s ever had. He sounds like one of the lazy, affluent rappers that “How to Rob”-era 50 would have … well, robbed. This isn’t a document of what his life is like now, or a purposeful retread of what it used to be. This is 50 Cent without emotion or nuance, absently delivering the formula of a 50 Cent song as if it were a computer-generated product built for mainstream consumption. It’s different and more insulting than the way other acts (looking at you, Jay Z) phone it in years removed from achieving huge success.
So instead of a traditional music review, let’s treat the album as if it were an item at an online marketplace like Amazon.
"I’ve been buying 50 Cent for 11 years or so now. My cool cousin from New York used to always have it and recommended I try it myself. My first experience with it was sooooooooo goood! The inspiring quotes! The ruthless worldview! The reminder that one should get rich or die trying! I was hooked and told all my friends to use it.
After a few years, it felt like they changed the formula a bit. The inspiration was still there (that “I Get Money” still gets me to this day), but it got less and less effective. I’ll admit: I stopped buying it. Recently, I got word on Twitter that 50 Cent was releasing an album for the first time in years and was even doing a G-Unit reunion later this year! After hearing that dose of straight up nostalgia, I bought “Animal Ambition.” Man, was it DIS-A-PPOINTING. I mean, the potency has worn down from Grade-A to a level resembling high-fructose corn syrup. The whole shtick about being rich and being richer than I am and “Oh, hey, did you hear I’m rich?” got old quick.
Additives are usually powerful on 50 Cent products, but the appearances by Jadakiss, Styles P, and Prodigy were one-dimensional and lazy. There’s also this new guy called Kidd Kidd that is all over the record and doesn’t add much to the proceedings. Kidd Kidd needs to Quit Quit. I like “Smoke,” but I’m not sure I’ll recommend this to my friends."
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