Okay, so I got to admit, I didn’t jump on the bandwagon quite as hard as some of yall did when 50 first came out. I understand his popularity, but I figured between the strength of the producers and his squad G-Unit it was a lot easier for him to make moves. And yet, I still had to listen. I figured the strength of the beats alone would warrant a listen, right?
I knew 50 was going to go all in with the producers. The likes of Dre, Jake One, and Ty Fyfe just to name a few. I also knew that 50 hadn’t done anything for a minute and obviously, he really doesn’t need to anymore because that dude made his money. 50 still wants to be relevant though. So, with that said, let’s get into this.
1) Hold On – How can you not like a good soul sample! I mean, throughout Hip-Hop history I will always be drawn to a soul sample flip. I had never heard about Frank Dukes until this album so I didn’t really know what to expect. Here’s the deal, it’s a little gimmicky. This type of soul sample has been done before and it’s really not anything impressive. The drums really aren’t impressive either. So, with that said let’s get to 50. One thing I can consistently say about 50 is he’s always slurring his speech (that adds to his authenticity I suppose). 50 isn’t really saying anything that we don’t already know. If anyone is buying the fact that 50 is still “hood” or “street” is lying to themselves. This dude has been a millionaire more than a couple times over and he’s been that way for a minute now. His voice still sounds nice over the beat but it’s all been done before!
2) Don’t Worry About It – This beat is NICE! It’s got that old school boom bap with some far out pianos and synths! Man, I’ve got to hand it to Charli Brown Beatz, this dude knows how to make some seriously fierce stuff. 50 actually switched his style up (no pun intended if you remember the Kanye/50 feud back in the day). I’m glad he did so, because by doing this he’s made his voice sound unique over this beat! As far as content though, he’s rapping about the same thing. Rhythmic creativity with a flow doesn’t relate to content creativity. The dude is still rapping about the same thing. The hook is killing it though! And Yo Gotti, he’s doing his thing, not very memorable though.
3) Animal Ambition – I want to like this beat because it’s kind of an untraditional style. Unfortunately, it’s really gimmicky too and 50 wants you to know that. I know that gimmicks sell records and all, but for us Hip-Hop heads it also sounds hella cheesy. In this case, lay on that cheese because 50 is going to make animal noises to make sure everyone know’s he’s got that Animal Ambition. And we’re back to 50 associating himself with gangsta life even though, again, he hasn’t been gansta for some time now. Don’t buy it 50, stop rapping about stuff you haven’t done for YEARS!
4) Pilot – Man, this is a SMOOTH beat! Who is Shamtrax though? He’s 1/5th of the Soundkillers. This dude puts some thought into his beats, you can tell. As for 50, the hook is great! At least he’s talking about things he knows a little bit more.
5) Smoke – Trey Songz knows how to sing! With that being said I was excited to see him on a track produced by Dre (among others). The hook is good, but that beat: DAMN! You can never hate on Dre because he’s still got it! This is such a beast of a track. 50 is actually telling a story on this track (believe it or not)! That’s right, he’s actually rapping a story. The best saving grace for 50 is when he does decide to rap about other things, he can do it. However, he still doesn’t step much outside of his element. But again, much like Pilot, at least he’s rapping about stuff he knows.
6) Everytime I Come Around – Wow, I’m saying this! BEST SONG OVERALL ON THE ALBUM! Why, the hook alone is gimmicky but oh so nice! The beat is nice but it’s just produced so crazily! It’s easy to find a beat similar to this, but those drums and claps are classic! Steve Alien is another unknown to me, but damn man, I’m definitely going to follow this dude! 50 is actually spitting ferociously, I don’t really care if he’s rapping about gansta shit this time. And the feature Kidd Kidd is good! I was wondering what he was going to do with this, but he killed it! I wish more Hip-Hop was still like this!
7) Irregular Hearbeat – I’m going to say this, the beat is not much at all. It was kind of disappointing. However, I understand what they were trying to do with this. The hook isn’t interesting. Jadakiss just killed it on this one. In my opinion, he is better than both 50 and Kidd Kidd on this one. I will say this though, 50 isn’t hungry anymore and why should he be? You can tell though that his flow isn’t quite up to par compared to Kidd Kidd or Jadakiss. Not that it hasn’t happened before, but his features are better than 50 over his own album!
8) Hustler – Grimy! That’s all I have to say about this! Jake One has been one of my favorite producers for some time. He’s also really slept on! Heavy on the snare and synths, but that’s okay! This is the BEST BEAT on the album hands down. There’s so much intricacies with this beat alone! 50 could have done a lot more with it, but it’s really hard to hate when he copped that Jake One beat!
9) Twisted – JustHustle and Kyle Justice teamed up with for a nice beat! I mean, it’s got that slow west coast vibe to it. But damn, it just knocks so nice! The Feature Mr. Probz isn’t bad at all. He’s got a nice voice, but you could tell he was probably holding back. 50 is actually being a little sincere on this one. He’s reminiscing but it’s nothing over the top this time. I’m glad he’s toning it down a little for this one. Good track!
10) Winners Circle – This beat is okay, but isn’t really anything special! I do mean that, because it’s the same with 50 too. He’s not really rapping about anything interesting. I can see why 50 put his slow songs towards the middle end. But this is kind of a buzz kill for me. I could have done without this track on the album. The once saving grace for this song is Guordan Banks (strange version of the name, I know). He’s got a real soulful type voice and you can tell he’s a good singer!
11) Chase The Paper – Yeah, this could have been a lot better. But, I can’t hate on the beat! Ty Fyfe is nice on the beat. It’s soulful, got that old school Organ, guitar, and bass. That’s really all you need for this type of beat! But, 50 aint a rider anymore, what is he really trying to say. Not that I was ever down with the gangsta lifestyle, but I can tell when someone hasn’t been about it for a LONG time! This dude is trying too hard to still be relevant on the streets. Okay, even if you still have Prodigy, Kidd Kidd, and Styles P on this track, it doesn’t really matter.
12) The Funeral – Jake One did it again! Damn man, this dude knows how to make a soulful old school beat! Seriously, you can tell he’s been influenced a lot by Dilla! The beat is the second best beat on the album! 50 is doing his thing, and actually not sounding too bad over this one. I think these bonus tracks don’t really show 50 flexing though. He’s just trying to make it longer. But thank goodness for Jake One!
13) You Know – I want to like this song. Really, it’s got that old school soul vibe to it. Soul Professa did the beat, but he could have done a little more with it. 50 is up to his old themes, and I think you understand by now what I’m going to say, so I’ll spare you the tangent.
14) Flip On You – Okay, this sample flip is NICE! Nascent and QB did the beat. Really digging the flip. School Boy Q is also straight spitting it! He’s got some serious bars! 50 could have done more, but he didn’t. His flow sounds nice over the beat, but I think it’s safe to say his violent days are over with.
So, that’s the album. I was impressed only because 50 hadn’t done anything for awhile. And he’s smart on the marketing! He made a video for every single one of these tracks too! DAMN! Now that’s smart. You can charge more online for it and it gives him some style points. So, what’s the final verdict?
I give this a 4/5.
50 might not be as relevant as he use to be, but the production is undeniable!