Release the Sounds: 50 Cent, 'Before I Self-Destruct'

The cover of this album kinda says it all. 50 Cent's empire is crumbling. Some would say it's been a long process beginning around about 2007. You can almost time it with the public's growing disinterest in the record industry's profits.  Since the less-than-stellar release of his last album Curtis, most of 50's mystic and gangster appeal is relegated back to the glory days of his first couple albums. At least with his latest effort, Before I Self Destruct (out today, Nov. 17, on Interscope), he spared us the novelty image of his studly shirtlessness. Although within the album itself, not much has changed with hip-hop's baron of beef. Besides the fact that you're not gonna find too many club bangers on this album. No, this is  a darker side of 50 that we experience track after track, gun blast after gun blast. 

You barely have to cut into BISD to see that songs like “Death To My Enemies”, “So Disrespectful” and “Psycho” depict a tortured soul pushing the “tough guy” image like an ancient artifact–which hip-hop fans just ain't buying in 2009. Though his raw, lyrically woven imagery is still intact on songs like “Then Days Went By” and “I Got Swag,” it's easily sidelined by trite, spiteful flows that take aim at a random canon of nemeses (including Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, You Tube commenters and … Bette Midler?). He sprinkles in a few samples of his softer side (“Hold Me Down,” “Baby By Me,” “Could've Been You”), but any genuine emotion gets drowned in irritating electro-pop slop. I hate to say it, but we actually wish 50 Cent hadn't “released these sounds.”

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