By now most are well versed in the beefs 50 Cent has bubbling on the streets. The media was quick to label his beef with the Game as the second great “rap war,” but to the wise it appeared to be just a shrewd move to generate publicity and sell records. The entire spectacle — the events at the radio station, the donation to charity, the press conference at the Schomburg Center near Brooklyn — conveniently coincided with the anniversary of Christopher Wallace’s murder. Don’t believe the hype: the media was hustled by 50. As Common once said, “I see niggaz slammin’ her/ and taking her to the sewer.”
The Massacre is every suburbanite’s ghetto fantasy, and 50 poses as multiple characters: the gun-blazing super-thug “Gatman,” the introspective pious philosopher “God Gave Me Style,” and the beefy Mandingo oiled up and ready for action “Disco Inferno.” For 50, hip-hop is pure mathematics. From the jump, he said The Massacre would be a failure unless it outsells his debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, (of which, to date, about 11 million copies have been sold).
With money on his mind and artistry secondary, The Massacre is anchored by contagious hooks and a Machiavellian flow. During its recording, Dr. Dre’s focused was on other Aftermath projects, and there is a noticeable difference in production compared to Get Rich. This may be insurmountable for most, but 50 embraces the opportunity. He diversifies his project with underground staples Hi-Tek, BuckWild and Needlez. The results are undeniable when 50 sticks to his rugged South Side roots, highlighted by the hood anthem “In My Hood,” the drop-top special “Ryder Music” and the conceptual bullet “A Baltimore Love Thing.”
But 50 ain’t no fool. Hardcore hip-hop and beef records like “Piggybank” don’t move units; tracks like “In da Club” elevate Curtis Jackson’s sales over those of rivals Jadakiss and Nas. “Candy Shop” and “Disco Inferno” are burning up the charts, but they are essentially rehashed versions of previous hits. “Candy Shop” is borne from a combination of the flow from “P.I.M.P,” the lyrical content of “Magic Stick” and a wack beat from over-hyped producer Scott Storch. This formula is applied to just about every club-driven track on The Massacre. The LP simply lacks freshness.
He’s not the first and won’t be the last to focus mostly on personal gain and fortune. Hip-hop has always been contradictory — even legendary Nas released “Oochie Wally” a few years after recording “Black Girl Lost.” But what ultimately separates 50 from the rest is that he’s out to pimp hip-hop for everything it’s worth. From manufacturing beef to his portrayal of stereotypical characters, 50 is willing to do anything to sell records. It’s the power of the dollar.