In an era of hip hop with homophobia on the rise, isn't it ironic that the hardest hardcore gangstas put out albums with covers in which they expose their naked, muscular chests? Get Rich or Die Tryin'
thus has one of the cheesiest album covers since the last Master P
"joint". The same goes for 50 Cent's follow-up, The Massacre
. These album covers imply unintentional comedy masterpieces, but Curtis Jackson is entirely incapable of doing even that.
It is truly disappointing that the same era that produced a strong uprise of alternative hip hop would also produce some of the most negative performers in gangsta rap since the genre's conception. Gaining fame on the basis of fabricated claims that he was shot in the face nine times, Jackson played on America's lust for violence and fear of powerful black men. Unfortunately, when you get down to listening to the thing, it doesn't work. Jackson is boring. His delivery is bland, his backing unmenacing, and his lyrics way over the top.
The first song has the kind of repetitive chants that could ruin the effect of good backing tracks - if they were there, but the ineffective beats fail to leave any impression. The most memorable beats occur in Dr. Dre
-backed singles like "In Da Club", but Curtis' poor performance ruins any hint of greatness. Even Eminem
seems to be bored in his guest spots, like Snoop Dogg
guesting on a Limp Bizkit
There is not one level in which Curtis succeeds. On lyrical, musical and promotional levels, he is one of hip hop's worst. And he has continued his artistic downfall from here, both as a solo rapper and as a member of G-Unit
, whose members almost make Curtis sound good in their respective appearances.
Good rappers have good backing and menacing delivery. Jackson has neither. From non-rhymes like "They say I walk around like I got an 'S' on my chest / Naw, that's a semi-auto, and a vest on my chest", profane mumbling ("I'm into having sex, I ain't into making love"), and ineffective boasting.
There are many clever hardcore rappers out in the field. Just look at the GZA
, who frequently criticizes 50 Cent in his performances. Without a good level of lyrical ingenuity, rappers like 50 Cent end up leaving extremely poor impressions. Curtis Jackson has nothing to say, nor does he have an original delivery to keep things interesting. This is precisely the kind of album that is bad for the state of hip hop. Overall, not recommended.