50 Cent – Before I Self Destruct (Album Review)


Although 2009 has seen Eminem, Jay-Z and Rakim make welcome returns to the game, there is yet another figure which the Hip Hop community has felt empty without. 50 Cent, the most influential and controversial artist of the new millennium, steps back into the rap arena with the hugely delayed – but equally anticipated –  Before I Self Destruct album.

Balancing business with beef in ‘09, fans and haters have been debating whether or not 50’s musical relevance is necessary, with Lil Wayne, Drake and other rap rookies basking in the glow in which the G-Unit General once ran roughshot in.

Darker and murkier than all of his prior albums, Before I Self Destruct presents an evolved, even matured style from 50 Cent. Whilst the same gangster motif remains in equal brilliance and laziness, production feels repressed in comparison to his previous speaker-blasting anthems such as “What Up Gangsta” and “Get Up”.

Although tracks feel subdued, they still provide the same punch, notably on the Dr Dre produced “Death To My Enemies” and “Strong Enough” – and of course a 50 Cent album wouldn’t be complete without an impressive collaboration with Eminem [“Psycho”].

Curtis still has the knives out for rappers; this time, taking short jabs at Young Buck, The Game and Jay-Z on “So Disrespectful”, but holds back when compared to the previous all-out assault records he has previously released. One thing which 50 hasn’t lost is the ability to make instant chart-bound records, and does so remarkably with “Baby By Me” featuring Ne-Yo and “Do You Think About Me”.

After the last shot has been fired, Before I Self Destruct overall will appeal to fans of the 50 Cent mixtapes – where he can be unadulterated, edgier and darker in both content and production. As for everyone else, the album proves that there still is a place for 50 Cent in the Hip Hop world – the real question however is whether or not his new found approach will affect his chart sales and position as number one in the rap game.

Reviewed by Henry Yanney