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1520 Sedgwick Avenue: February 4th, 2009 Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Posted by Andy Hutchins in 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Rockabye.
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50 Cent isn’t a great rapper. (NSFW)

But he’s pretty great at dismantling foes. Here, Curtis Jackson comes out swinging against Rick Ross, who, in possibly the most brilliant career move of ever, decided it made sense to take a few potshots at 50 Cent. Did he not remember the guy who turned Ja Rule into Nah, Who? Who made The Game come and kiss the ring at a televised news conference? Who somehow figured out a way to make Tony Yayo and Young Buck C-list rappers?

You don’t come at 50 Cent unless you’re holding pictures of dead bodies or are willing to produce them. Not only did Ross not have them, Fif had the trump card of Ross’ humorous picture as a correctional officer in a pre-rap life.

That, and this song, on which he dismisses Ross as fat (“Playin’ Wii Fit Nintendo”), calls his claims of slinging cocaine “absurb,” and deploys “Officer Rickyyy” as the takeaway catchphrase that makes your soul burn slow, would have been enough, but Fifty has gone on to produce cartoons and find Ross’ baby mama, too. (Fifty also throws shots in the direction of DJ Khaled, but, well, he sucks, so I’m not even going to listen to that verse again.)

It’s surprising menace from the guy who had been content to snooze on his stacks of Vitamin Water money and let his music atrophy to outsize gangster caricature and lazy cash-counting with subpar beats and lame metaphors. (Go watch “Amusement Park,” I’ll be here in thirty seconds, which is when I’m guessing you’ll close that tab.)

But when 50 has a target to aim at, as he did while spraying most of hip-hop on the track he rose to fame with, or while looking for the top of hip-hop on his searching, aspirational debut album, “Get Rich Or Die Tryin’,” he channels his talents as a rhymer, laces his verses with venom, and, yeah, turns into one of the best brutish rappers out there.

With Lil Wayne noodling with a guitar, Kanye tooling around with Auto-Tune, T.I. heading off to jail, OutKast’s separate halves dealing with solo albums, Eminem still in his state of limbo, and Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 seemingly delayed to never, 50 might be the charge mainstream hip-hop gets in 2009.

And, if not, I hope the guys I’ll be featuring tomorrow will be.

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