First off, just know that The Massacre is not Get Or Die Tryin’. There are about 50 questions surrounding 50 Cent’s The Massacre LP. How much is he going to sell the first week? Will he be able to do 11 million worldwide again? Who else is he going to give the middle finger to in his raps? But most importantly, is it any good?
First off, just know that The Massacre is not Get Rich or Die Tryin’. It can’t be. The expectations are way higher now that 50 is no longer the underdog. We know he’s more than just the most dominant force on mixtapes — he’s a maven of mass appeal who has spoiled us with hits and a classic album that you could play all the way through. From here on out, if 50 is just “great” it’s going to look like he’s falling off.
So where do you go with such a monster LP under your belt when the fans are looking for perfection?
First stop, Southside Jamaica, Queens. The Massacre starts off just like Get Rich or Die Tryin’, with 50 vowing to get the drama poppin’ because he just doesn’t care. On “In My Hood,” he threatens to use the razor in his hands to carve grown men like Thanksgiving turkeys, sending others to the doctor and making the temperature rise. 50 raps that although he actually does get love in his old neighborhood, there are still some who would love to get a hold of him — and not to shake hands, either.
“You know what? We’ll get a lot of fake energy,” 50 told MTV News in late January about what would happen if he were to go back to where he grew up in Queens. ” ‘Cause yesterday [the people] on the block, they probably was saying something that wasn’t really official. But when I come around they change. I went through there this summer and I felt disrespected by a lot of them.”
His rivals in the ‘hood don’t mince their intentions or words on “I’m Supposed to Die Tonight,” a track that was produced by Eminem. It’s as clear as the ice set in a flawless platinum chain that they want to make sure 50’s friends do some loud singing and slow walking dressed in their church-service best. Before any hit man can get the drop on him, though, 50 plans to turn the tables.
“All through the ‘hood I keep hearing n—as saying I’m supposed to die tonight,” 50 sings on the record’s chorus, using his melodic acumen to glide across Em’s macabre beat. “N—as done put a hit out and they talking like the sh– OK/ I’m gonna ride tonight.”
Five Zero and Slim Shady connect again later on “Gatman and Robin.” Em actually rhymes on this record, comparing himself and his compatriot to Siamese twins because they made a pact to hold each other down in troubled times and have no problem adopting each other’s beefs. 50 pulls out the weapons of mass destruction he keeps on his hip while Marshall Mathers says he doesn’t want any peace treaty with his foes Dave Mays and Benzino.
On his own track “Like Toy Soldiers,” Em of course says that he wants to end his rap beefing before somebody really gets hurt. 50 said publicly after that that his friend was not being “realistic,” and was proven right after Benzino dropped another anti-Em record in the wake of “Toy Soldiers.”
“He called me and said, ‘Yo, you told me they was gonna do that,’ ” 50 said of a convo he had with his homie.
“You have to be dealing with a person who’s intelligent enough to understand that it’s not good for either side,” 50 continued. “If you did nothing to encourage that situation to begin with, what makes you think they gonna have enough sense to wanna stop? [Benzino and Mays] are not bright enough to take it when [Em’s] extending himself to them.”
50 wants to be with the object of his affection until she walks to the pearly gates on “Baltimore Love Thing.” He raps from the perspective of heroin talking to an addict, admonishing her for trying to clean up her habit.
“I hung out with Marvin when he wrote ‘Sexual Healing,’ ” he says over a track reminiscent of a ’70s soul song. “Kurt Cobain, we were good friends, Ozzy Osbourne, too/ I be with rock stars, see you should be lucky I’m f—ing with you/ I chill with Frankie Lymon and Jimi Hendrix crew.”
50 gives a more conventional musical display of affection on “Build You Up,” which features Jamie Foxx. “I’m writing this song instead of a love letter,” he divulges on the record. “They gonna play it a hundred times a day/ I figured when you hear it, you’ll stop and think of me.”
Like he did in “Collateral” with Tom Cruise, Foxx rides with 50 on the record, showing off the top of his range on the chorus: “I’ll build you up, girl, I need to know for sure you’re mine.”
One collaborator 50 didn’t get to work with as much as he wanted to was Dr. Dre. With Dre making sure Game’s Documentary LP was on fire, 50 took the unbiased approach, indiscriminately choosing such proven stars as Hi-Tek (the chemistry is undeniable on “Ryder Music” and “Get in My Car”) as well as up-and-comers like Jonathan J.R. Rotem (“So Amazing”), Disco D (“Ski Mask Way”) and the team Bang Out and C Style.
50 sounds like he’s under pressure to re-create another “In Da Club” with the Dre-produced “Outta Control.” The hooks are way too forced, with 50 singing, “Everybody’s going, going, outta control/ Set it off on your left, y’all/ Set it off on your right, y’all/ Set it off/ N—a, I said set it off.” Fif sounds way more comfortable bragging about his heavy artillery on “Gunz Come Out,” which is reminiscent of his tough talk on “Heat” from his debut LP.