Don't look now, but 50 Cent is off in his little corner making compelling music again. Actually, you had better look now -- he only does this once a year or so, in between failed commercial projects. (Although here's a secret almost no one knows: His last such effort, 2009's Before I Self-Destruct, was one of the year's best rap albums. Really!) He may or may not be releasing another full-length record sometime soon; it may or may not be called Black Magic. But it's hard to get too worked up over these niggling details when you live in a 9,000-room mansion and will never, ever run out of money. Music is a demanding beast, after all, requiring hours of focused effort, and when you can get the same return on investment publicity-wise by filming yourself interrupting one of Shyne's conference calls, honestly, why bother?
|Anything to keep him off Twitter|
But if there's one thing Curtis Jackson needs to feel, it's that he can still command your attention, should he want it. And when this itch grows burdensome, he goes on a small tear to relieve it, issuing a torrent of deeply entertaining, cheaply recorded freestyles and mini-songs over which he rants and raves like a gangsta-rap Yosemite Sam about his dwindling legacy. Usually, this music -- released on G-Unit mixtapes, or lately just sent willy-nilly to blogs as he finishes them -- is all the things he's good at being without even trying: undeniably funny, acridly contemptuous, cynical, openly hostile and bullying to anyone/everyone, and basically cartoonishly dickish. This latest salvo is no exception. There seems to be no "strategy" surrounding their presentation: no mixtapes, no themed projects, no "one song a week" roll-out schemes. Just a random spray of freestyles, original songs, random remixes of pop hits, and left-field collaborations with random West Coast street rappers. Black Magic, or whatever it is, exists in a purely theoretical realm right now; if and when it ever surfaces, it will likely boast half the entertainment value of what we've collected here.More »