Review Summary: What do you know, 50 Cent has released his first good album since Get Rich Or Die Trying, color me surprised.
Unlike most recent rappers, 50 Cent, somehow, managed to release a studio album that actually surpasses the quality of his most recent mixtapes. Whether it was the dull and insipid rapping on War Angel
or the ridiculously R&B samples on Forever King
, these features managed to disappear on the oddly solid Before I Self-Destruct
. Before I Self-Destruct
has some terrible songs, but that’s to be expected when it comes to a mainstream rap album, or more relatably, a 50 Cent album. The second half of the album contains every awful single, including the Ne-Yo-driven terror “Baby By Me” or the dull rapping amongst an thematic 300-esqe Dre beat that is “Ok You’re Right”, and it drives the album from its hardcore beginnings to a sappy, superficial ending that is disappointing to say the least.
However, the rest of the album is some of the most consistent material 50 Cent material he’s ever released. The beats are cinematic in how driving and big they are, it’s clear that 50 is learning from his mistakes on Curtis
and War Angel
, and trained his ear for beats, only catching the fiercest, most piercing instrumentals. Even in its beginning, 50 Cent shows that he’s accommodated to these beats, as his voice and flow is the most inspired it’s been in a long time. Unlike most rap albums, 50 managed to perfect the middle of Before I Self-Destruct
to include some of his best songs yet, including the perfected and polished coke raps of “Stretch”, which proves to be one of 50’s funniest songs yet, and “Strong Enough”, a track where 50 takes influences from the former soulful production style of Kanye West, and manages to make it his own. 50’s lyrics throughout aren’t up to par with his newly rejuvenated flow and ear for beats, but his rhymes are certainly inspired, and “Stretch” contains what is easily his funniest and most focused raps of his entire career (“I'm the dopeman! Cokeman! Smoke man! Whatever-man! /The X-man! Tec-man! You better respect man! /Get the green, triple beam, inf' beam, murder scheme /Fiend, morphine, dream, codiene, more lean!”).
Of higher quality than anything he’s released in six years, Before I Self-Destruct
proves to be a surprising comeback, with banging instrumentals, inspired flows, and rhymes that sound like some actual effort was put into them. Although most of the second half of the album is as sappy as any club hit 50 has released, the rest of the album is mainstream rap perfection.