Thursday, January 7, 2010

Farewell, 50...

I'm undeniably, unapologetically a 50 Cent fan. When I say "fan", I don't mean I like his latest album, or enjoy his Internet antics. I mean I listen to his music, almost daily. & not in the "I might pull up his joints on the i-Pod sometimes" sense, I mean all of my ring tones on the Blackberry are set to 50 songs, really though. In fact, when you leave your comment (stop lurking & holler at your boy!), 'Window Shopper' will blare from my hip to alert me. He may have been the most pivotal rapper of the decade. Hate me if you will, but I stand firm on my ground. Before you get your fingers ready to dig my proverbial comment section grave site, let me make myself clear.


Dude's lyrics, meh at best. His beat selection has gotten progressively more mediocre with each studio album's release, from 'The Massacre', to 'BISD'. He flosses to much. He literally rode the "street credibility" wagon until the wheels fell off, then watched them bounce off into the sunset. He treats most people like shit, in front of an audience. He doesn't do any of his music for the betterment of Hip Hop, or rap music in general, for that matter. For all intents and purposes, he's the biggest Douche in entertainment since Spencer Pratt was on that "I'm a celebrity!" game show with John Salley. Now that we got that out of the way, let me tell you why I think he's awesome.


50 cent, according to General Combat Jack, never set out to be a rapper. It was bigger than that, deeper than rap (no pun intended & [||]). He decided long ago that he wanted to take over the industry. That's forward thinking, beyond setting Billboard chart goals and plans on moving units through Soundscan. Which was probably why he attacked the streets with his mixtapes first & foremost, which guaranteed that his key demographic would have his shit meet them where it should; the streets. This man may possibly be the reason for record companies no longer really needing A&R's. Granted, the position still exists, but the glamour once attached is no more. The 'Net is the new A&R. Obviously Curtis Jackson wasn't the first dude to use this grass roots platform to boost his celebrity, but he worked it like a fat girl in hooker boots. Before cats were bumping 'Wanksta', cats were bumping 'Wanksta', if you smell my cologne.


No matter what battles have ensued throughout the years, Curtis Jackson gave new meaning to the word "beef". He made it a viable marketing tool. He turned it into a weapon. He made it a reason to tune in to the 'Nets. Hell, he might even be the driving force behind e-thuggery reaching meteoric heights in the last couple of years. No longer was it battles on wax, punch lines, & mild discrediting. Thanks to F-50, it became skeleton exposure, video footage, court papers, & character assassination that we haven't seen since the 1960's. Not that it was/is a good look for the culture, but let's give credit where it's due. I learned in 2nd grade; if you're going to be an asshole, you might as well go balls out. Like swimming trunks with no underwear. I'm one of those who say he didn't "end" Ja Rule's career, per se, but when was the last time Jeffrey Atkins made you dance? Just saying.


Curtis Jackson's last offering, 'Before I Self Destruct' was a very important album. Not lyrically, because in all honesty, his first and best album, 'Get Rich Or Die Tryin'', even contained meager rhymes with the occasional cool verse. We were willing to over look that short-coming due to his vivid story telling, brute honesty, and trunk-rattle factor, but if an acapella version of 'GRODT' had been given away to the public, I imagine the Frisbee industry would've faced a large decrease in stock value. Even still, 50 Cent changed the game. Where the west coast fizzled, after Suge Knight sabotaged an entire coastline of music, 50, from Queens, New York, did what many artists, regardless of region or race, could not do--revive gangsta rap. It was the veritable height of Hip Hop glamour and glitz when Curtis stepped out with 'How To Rob An Industry Nigga', and thus hardcore street music was back on the rise. Coast to coast, niggas tossed their shiny shirts and expensive eye wear to the side for thigh length white t-shirts, wave caps and eye-covering fitted hats. Grimey was back in style. This was before emo-rap brought emotion & semi-sensitivity back to the forefront, when heartless thug life reigned supreme. And damn, it felt good to be a gangsta.


Truth be told, Tupac had to die for all of this to take place, but that's a drop for another day.


As Kanye West began to gain momentum in the early 2000's though, the (Hip Hop) world began to see that it was okay to be a normal cat. It was nothing wrong with admitting one's faults and poking fun at one's self sometimes, instead of others constantly. Just like in high school, bullies only last for a certain amount of time, before people stop taking them seriously, & start treating them realistically. Being a hoodlum was all to the good, but being nerdy was becoming cool again. What was once Carhartt and Dickies was now Gucci and Louis V. & it's not that Kanye spearheaded the movement, but he became the poster boy for the alternative Hip Hop lifestyle, and folks were feeling it. So much so, that over-sized became the "new" too small. Loud colors became the "new" white tee. Man-bags became the, well, them shits were still man-bags, but that's neither here nor there.


Fast track to 2009's release of 'Before I Self Destruct', and one would be hard pressed not to notice the amount of weight that album shouldered. More than just 50's last obligatory album for Jimmy Iovine, it marked the measuring stick for his rap career, and more importantly, the green mile march of gangsta music as we came to know it.


Although selling a modest amount of records amidst a declining recording industry, 50's album was labeled a failure by many, and wack by most. At the same time, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Drake, and Lupe Fiasco emerged victorious as the emo-rap wave washed ashore. With 50 Cent's next move in limbo, Hip Hop is now devoid of a true "bad guy", & metrosexual thugs are running this rap shit. Chances are he'll never reign atop the charts ever again, so who's the next knucklehead nigga we can love to hate, hate to love, and try to keep our kids from listening to?


Think about every movie conflict you've ever watched. In most instances, cats root for the bad guy, even if they know his demise is imminent. Hip Hop is no different. We NEED a successful, "I don't give a fuck about none of y'all"-type guy to hate on. That's the reason people drop hundreds of monies on Pit Bulls instead of majestic German Shepards. If that Pit Bull gets loose and eats someone's infant, we know he'll be euthanized, and we might get arrested, but until that day comes, we tote that motherfucking dog around like he's our best friend. American culture loves a bad guy. If not, we wouldn't have re-elected George W. Bush, & Hollywood wouldn't keep giving Samuel L. Jackson the same parts in different movies. &, when we can't find a bad guy, we make one up. Just ask Barack Obama.


50's presence in Hip Hop will surely be missed. If not for lyrics & antagonistic narcissism, then for the sheer magnitude of his asshole behavior, & the coconuts it took to be a moving target for so long. All hail the bad guy.

Farewell, 50...

9 comments:

mr. E said...

nice post..cant help but think 'the rise of the metrosexual' is a knock on effect from the lack of fathers about.(kinda like the after effects of the atom bomb = deformed babies)
key demographic of music buyers is females <21..which also happens to be the 1st big generation of women growin up with no pops..they love to see a man they can control with 'power'..if hip hop goes where society goes (word to mos def)..the TIs are probably packaging [||] up the 1st openly gay rapper now

Anonymous said...

I love your site man. But I still have absolutely no idea why you like 50 Cent. Keep up the good work though. His music just isn't very good IMO. The only thing I can stomach from 50 is his interviews. 50 and Game know how to talk trash on an epic level. Other than that though...meh.

BLESSD1 said...

Cosign w/Anonymous; I LOATHE 50 Cent. But honestly, I dug GRODT, and I had to admit to my homie last week that I actually dug some of the cuts on BISD. And I won't deny 50 his due; he IS a smart dude who is brutally honest, and talks shit about as well as anybody. Are those admirable traits? Hecky naw...but they are entertaining as hell. That nigga should get a talk show or something...

Kiana said...

yeah grands, i still don't understand why like 50, but i guess all the reasons you like him is why I love me some diddy. hahaha, i know you think he's the devil but I think he's great. I guess taste is selective.

Tony Grands said...

But I will promise you all this much....not even if I'm dying of thirst, wasting away in the desert, by no means ever, will the horrid Kool Aid of Gucci Mane ever touch my lips...pause?

I guess I could've just wrote "50 entertains me," but I'm sure you all would've felt short changed, lol.

Rob said...

So you just nodded your head to window shopper huh? ha.

Anyhoo, i kinda agree with u on this one. Sometimes i listen to hip hop/rap simply to be entertained and 50 is one of the most entertaining. Glad he came out more aggresive on this one. GRODT was dope but the next 2 were trash. BISD is not nearly as bad as most say it is and not nearly as good as 50 stans swear it is. It is ENTERTAINING though. He went back to that tough guy shit we all need to hear every now and again

Don said...

To keep it 100, I didn't start listening to Fif until "Windowshopper". And I like "Amusement Park". That beat is H1N1. I had the "Power" tape early but I don't listen to it.

BISD is a good album. Not great, but for the first real listen to dude beyond his interviews, which he does very well, I like it. Even though I took cuts from his 2 mixtapes and made my own version, it sounds good. I can relate to what you're saying Grands. 50 was a me against the world artist. And he succeeded with this formula so well that he became much richer than his competitors.

So you know the voodoo dolls were out for years. But I like the fact that the man is smart enough to leave the music alone for a while, pack his bags and do something else, instead of trying to force that lightning bolt to strike again. (II?)

Unlike Jay, who has to keep performing to fulfill his Live Nation obligation. For someone who has supposedly oodles of money to do whatever he wants, he sure has to keep doing the same sh*t over and over again. Touring is the most grueling part of rapping. He ain't gonna have vocal chords by 50.

And we all know Jay's going for that Vegas Old Geezer Sinatra status.

Salutes to 50.

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