It has been
an interesting journey to Curtis for 50 Cent. Without a mega hit like "In Da
Club" or "Candy Shop" to drive interest after multiple singles and leaked
tracks drew a collective yawn, 50 saw
his album pushed back several months. Since releasing his colossal debut in
2003, he has nary seen a hint of doubt regarding his solo career. The
plummeting record industry makes for a much different climate, though. With the
album delay and his feud with Cam fizzling out, 50
got a bit desperate. Be it dissing wildly popular Lil Wayne for no reason, throwing well timed tantrums at Interscope or threatening to retire if Kanye outsells him, Fif has had to work to drum up interest
this time around.
While it hasn't been true of late - and certainly isn't true in this instance - G-Unit albums have at worst had banging production. Gone are the Hi-Tek's and Scott Storch's of the world, replaced by a group of nobodies - for the most part. Dr. Dre only chimes in for one track, "Fire" featuring Young Buck and Nicole Scherzinger and it is easily the LP's worst song. Come to think of it, it is probably the worst song Dre has ever made. The Eminem-produced-and-featured "Peep Show" doesn't fare a whole lot better, especially with Em bringing his D game. Then of course there is "Amusement Park," with all the thrills of a busted roller coaster.
It definitely isn't all bad though, so let's back it up a bit. The LP starts off with a bang, quite literally, as Fif brings the violence to jump things off. Like it or not, that is still what he does best. "My Gun" starts off with "fuck boy, you can see it to believe it/try and dodge and leave it, end up a paraplegic." That is just ill. Detroit Red and Don Cannon produced "Man Down," which 50 just destroys in way reminiscent of his early mixtape days. More murder themes on the Akon-assisted "I'll Still Kill." The Akon feature may have you expecting some syrupy, but DJ Khalil brings the sinister. Four songs in, the album reaches its apex with single "I Get Money." Flipping the classic Milk Dee line to perfection, brags about his stacks over the booming beat. Lord knows money talk is tired, but Curtis can get a pass - cause shit, dude has got paper.
Unfortunately, it is all downhill from here save a few more bright spots. Things quickly slip into mediocrity with "Come & Go," which is credited to Veto & Roomio (who?) but has 50 claiming "its Dr. Dre and 50 Cent trick." Either way, its skippable. While not nearly bad as I originally thought, the Justin Timberlake and Timberland-assisted "Ayo Technology" unquestionably sounds like it belongs on JT's album. Not particularly a good look for 50. Yet another leaked song comes next in the form of the laughable "Follow My Lead." For real? You put this on your album? Thankfully Jake One pulls the album from the doldrums complementing 50 perfectly on "Movin' On Up." Jake does it again on "All of Me," a dope Mary J-featured joint that is meant for the ladies but doesn't, you know, suck ass (see "Follow My Lead"). Along with "All of Me," it is the Havoc-produced "Curtis 187" that saves the latter half of the album from being a complete and utter disaster. That shit is really nice.
The albums closer "Touch The Sky" (Kanye anyone?), is a pretty fitting representation of the album to close with; an average song (save for the horrific Yayo verse). Fan reaction will be the same as it ever was; blind nuthuggers calling it a classic and sworn haters calling it the worst thing since cancer. Really, it is just a very average album from an artist we know is capable of more but rarely interested in giving 100%. 50 Cent may be a superstar, but Curtis is pedestrian.