The Underrated: 50 Cent - The Massacre

By @TrueGodImmortal 

1. Intro 
2. In My Hood
3. This Is 50
4. I'm Supposed To Die Tonight
5. Piggy Bank 
6. Gatman and Robbin featuring Eminem
7. Candy Shop featuring Olivia 
8. Outta Control 
9. Get In My Car 
10. Ski Mask Way 
11. A Baltimore Love Thing 
12. Ryder Music
13. Disco Inferno 
14. Just A Lil Bit
15. Gunz Come Out 
16. My Toy Soldier featuring Tony Yayo 
17. Position of Power
18. Build You Up featuring Jamie Foxx
19. God Gave Me Style 
20. So Amazing featuring Olivia
21. I Don't Need Em 
22. Hate It or Love It(Remix) featuring G-Unit

With success comes envy. Confidence. Ego. Jealousy. Depending on the level of that success, there could also be a bit of a loss of reality. Sometimes you get so caught up in chasing bigger and better, that the quality of what you do suffers in the long run. For 50 Cent, it seems as if after his first run of hunger and amazing work ethic, that his success had made him become a bit lackadaisical. At least that's the public perception of 50 with regards to his "sophomore" album The Massacre. After his record breaking album Get Rich or Die Tryin' and a slew of popular releases from his crew and the G-Unit imprint, 50 set out to do it again with The Massacre. From the inception of this project, something seemed slightly off honestly.

Initially titled "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" and set for a February 14th release, the album was rooted in the release date and almost a concept if you will. It seemed like an odd way to follow up an album that just sold 14 million copies worldwide, and when the first single "Disco Inferno" was released, there was a bit of a letdown almost. The song wasn't bad by any stretch, but it had felt like a formulaic lead off to the album. 50 had been working hard on the album however over that last year or so,  and in an act that would come back to haunt him, he took about 5 to 6 songs of his own off the Massacre album and gave them to the West Coast G-Unit member The Game. The beats for How We Do, Hate It Or Love It, Church For Thugs, Don't Need Your Love, and one other track were all reportedly scheduled to be on 50's album, along with the later released "Maybe We Crazy" and "P.I.M.P. 2". Now, the truth of the matter with those songs is that Dr. Dre and Eminem simply weren't fans of them, which explains a lot, in some ways. Dre and Em saw 50 for his catchy hooks, ability to bridge the gap between the aggressive content and pop charts hits, and they felt they should capitalize on it.

Thus, when the Scott Storch produced "Candy Shop" hit, though it became a big record, it just felt a bit corny. So, out the gate, Fif had two records that were either hit or miss for you as a fan, but both would become top 10 hits. So, with two hit or miss big singles, 50 giving some great songs to Game, and Dre & Em having to executive produce, one would assume the quality of The Massacre would border on terrible, correct?

No. Not at all. Aside from those first two singles, The Massacre album in general is great. It is often dismissed as being overly commercial and only recognized because it sold 1.14 million copies in 4 days and would eventually be nominated for a Grammy, but the album is actually quite solid, despite everything it had working against it. While lyrically, 50 has never been a top tier artist, he shined here on the album as he always does: gun talk, tough talk, catchy hooks, solid verses when needed, and it all blends together perfectly. The opening sounds of the knocking "In My Hood" start the album off perfectly and the lyrics are instant quotes:

"Niggas screw they face up at me, on some real shit son, they don't want beef/ I cock that, aim that, and spray out the window, I bet it ain't a shell left in my heat/"

It is simple yet effective. 50 is never one to provide the intricacies of lyricism like a Nas or a Mos Def, but his demeanor and his straightforward aggression has always made for a great listen. After the opening song, another banger in "This Is 50" follows, and the song is structured to be infectious and simple, and it works. Eminem (and Luis Resto) provide 50 with an unusual backdrop for his slow creep anthem "I'm Supposed to Die Tonight", which features some of 50's best lyrics and worst lyrics of the album. While there's some great lyrics from 50 pondering his own demise, he also gives us a terrible "row row your boat, your blood forms a stream" line, that's as elementary as it looks. From there, the scathing diss "Piggy Bank" follows, and I dare say that 50 knocks out each and every one of his opponents. With slick jabs at Shyne, Fat Joe, Nas, and Jadakiss, 50 taps the chin of all those who aren't on his side and fires off a solid warning shot to them. It is a highlight on the album.

One song I could have done without was "Gatman and Robbin", mainly because I'm likely in the minority of people who don't like 50 and Eminem collabs. While Patiently Waiting and Don't Push Me off his GRODT classic worked, there's not much in this song to enjoy and it feels like a cheesy concept. After "Candy Shop", 50 follows up with a weird Dr. Dre produced track "Outta Control", which I hated, but the remix featuring Mobb Deep is superb. The beat and the vibe of the remix easily surpasses the original and one would wonder why the original was even released, and while it fits in the flow of the album, it is one of the few songs on here that I could do without.

50 picks up the pace again with and the album hits its greatest stride when we arrive at the hilarious yet smooth "Get In My Car". The slick production from Hi-Tek, and the straightforward infectious lyrics and hook from Fif make this one a definite favorite. Then, 50 follows that up with three of his best songs ever to me. Ever. And all three are masterful in their own right:

*Ski Mask Way
-The amazing Alchemist inspired production from Disco D, along with the extremely infectious aggression of 50 on the hook, exclaiming "Nigga that watch is nice, that's what you bought for me", motivates even the calmest person to want to go and snatch something. This song features 50 at his absolute best and he provides us with what we know and love him for, killing it with the "flow right here that fucked up Jeffrey career".

*A Baltimore Love Thing
-Likely 50's most underrated song ever. I remember being hating on this track when it first came out because of the concept. 50 plays the role of the drug heroin and talks directly to an addict about needing him and never letting him go. For 50, this was slightly different from his norm, but still up his alley. 50 easily provides a picture as he tells the story of addiction and kicks it up a notch with the extremely catchy hook of "we got a love thing.... girl you trying to leave me but you need me, can't you see you're addicted to me" to drive home the effect. This song is pure greatness.

*Ryder Music 
-With Dion on the background vocals and Hi-Tek on the production, 50 spits some gems all over this track, likely his best lyrical performance on the album. It is essentially a reflective joint from Fif, as he talks about his lifestyle since becoming famous, his work ethic, and even alludes to some of his relationships with Hollywood actresses. He also addresses criticism in the end of his first verse, showing that he does pay attention to everything that occurs. It's one of the best songs on this album and in 50's catalog.

Following those three songs, the "Disco Inferno" single follows, and then the knocking Scott Storch produced "Just A Lil Bit" hits next, and a part of me wishes this song was the first single. It's catchy and infectious, as is the majority of the album, but this song is miles ahead of both Candy Shop and Disco Inferno in quality honestly. From production to melody to the all around feel of the song, it is a great single and when he did release it as a single, it took off as well. Following this song, the booming Dr. Dre produced "Gunz Come Out" hits next and the production carries this song without a doubt. The beat is resounding and allows 50 to just talk his shit, which is what he does best. However, after that, 50 makes another rare misstep on the album with the Yayo featured "My Toy Soldier", which is unnecessary aside from the fact that 50 wanted a song to let the world know that he treats his crew like toy soldier, almost a laughable response to the Eminem call for peace "Like Toy Soldiers" in some way. The whole song is just executed terribly and Yayo on the song makes you shake your head in sadness slightly. The album could have done without it.

50 gets right back on track however with the classic "Position of Power", which is exactly what a boss song should be. It's ironic that this song follows "My Toy Soldier", because both are songs that bosses would make, but there's a difference: "My Toy Soldier" is the petty, unnecessary reminder that "hey, I'm the boss of this and you do what I say", while "Position of Power" is more so "this is what I built, and my team gets to eat lovely, as do I" while a cigar is being lit. The contrast is amazing, but "Position of Power" is truly a great listen. The Scott Storch produced and Jamie Foxx featured "Build You Up" follows and I enjoy this song. It's quite catchy and Jamie Foxx always delivers on hooks. It was perfect for the era, as riding with the top down on your car, or just chilling with your lady would be sufficient while listening to this.

In a different mood twist, 50 hits with an almost gospel rap track in a way on "God Gave Me Style", which is really just his way of thanking the Lord for his success, something that set 50 apart from the usual rapper, who thanks God in award speeches, but never directly through song. The jazzy and breezy "So Amazing" with Olivia follows and this is yet another hit song. 50 managed to divide this album to fit his two biggest group of fans: street niggas and the ladies. This divide is glaring when we get to the Buckwild produced "I Don't Need Em", which is one of the hardest tracks on the album, right after one of the smoothest tracks. It was a strategy that worked for 50 throughout the album, but I sometimes wonder how much better this album could have been had he kept the songs he intended to.

There are only about 5 songs on the 22 song album that aren't up to par, and I would say this album is damn good, and as far as music goes, it has a claim to possibly being better than Get Rich or Die Tryin', but as far as impact and importance, it is not even close. The Massacre is a very good album, and I liked the concept of 50 shooting a video for every song too, but I just wish we got to hear the initial version of the album. It would be his crown jewel I believe if it ever released. What are your thoughts on this album? Join the conversation with us if you would like in the comments below.



Popular Posts