Piecing together Curtis hasn't been an easy task for 50. The album was pushed back a handful of times; he chose to record new tracks for the effort after early cuts didn't get a strong reception; and he went on a rampage in the G-Unit offices after his Robin Thicke collaboration "Follow My Lead" leaked onto the Internet. And that's not to mention the battle for the ages that's set to go down when the album streets the same day as Kanye West's Graduation.
"You see [homicide] in your crib, it ain't a burglary," he raps on "Man Down," a tale about trying to evade a murder charge. "Homie, they finnin' to have me stuck in purgatory." "My Gun Go Off" is a musical warning shot that it's hunting season, while "I'll Still Kill" (featuring Akon) warns that even with a million-dollar smile and a hundred million raps, Fif isn't afraid to "keep it funky like fiends in a crack house.
"Respect comes from admiration and fear," the G-Unit general raps on the track. "You can admire me or catch one in your wig/ You see the Testarossa, the toaster's right on my lap."
"Don't even look at me wrong when I come through the 'hood, ain't nothin' change, still holla at my homies," Akon sings on the hook. "And when I hit the block, I still will kill."
Although the subject matter is harsh, the skittish beat and 'Kon's winning melody make this one capable of shaking up the block as well as the club.
Although "Come and Go" is listed as featuring Dr. Dre, Doc is absent vocally, but 50 rides his beat like a Ferrari down Hollywood Boulevard. His flow is stop and go: "She come to my hotel, you know she's gonna get in/ Bring 'em in, kick 'em out, you ain't freakin, we ain't speakin."
Speaking of curious album credits, Tony Yayo is not only listed as a guest on "Touch the Sky" ("Get your hands high," he raps on the record) but he's acknowledged as the album's A&R rep.
During the Eminem-produced "Peep Show," Fif and Slim trade freaky tales as if they were on an old Too Short tune. Over the sparse drums and sprinkled keys, 50 raps about his late nights with camcorders for two verses before Em drops in for the closing 16 with a mention or two about blue pills and a, um, dirty deed. The collabo between two-thirds of the Shady/Aftermath juggernaut has a few moments, but overall, the song doesn't pop like some of their past work together.
The ladies continue to get attention on "Fire." Young Buck rides shotgun with the boss man on the Dr. Dre-helmed track, which also features Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. The synth-heavy number isn't usually how Dre or Fif get down — it sounds like a techno joint — but they manage to make the best of it. Fif is in full stuntin' mode, first reminding folks he's still the big ticket when it comes to the rap game. "You can hate this, but face it/ B.I.G. and Tupac just ain't around," he spits. And then he runs down his résumé to remind those who might not necessarily agree with his sentiments. "It's the third time around, you know how I get down/ I'm hands down, pound for pound, the best around, now work it."