The Money Dance: Can 50 Cent Come Back?

Max Bell ghostwrites for Lil Mouse. 50 Cent’s voice is golden. No, it’s nickel-plated. Strike that too. 50 Cent’s voice is hot lead from a nine-millimeter — probably because...
By    November 8, 2012

Max Bell ghostwrites for Lil Mouse.

50 Cent’s voice is golden. No, it’s nickel-plated. Strike that too. 50 Cent’s voice is hot lead from a nine-millimeter — probably because some of said nine-millimeter lead  remains lodged in his oral cavity.  Whatever the case, every once in a while, his voice hits me straight in the gut. It shakes some shit up like it’s 2003 and I’m listening to Get Rich or Die Tryin’ for the first time.

Let’s talk “Money” from 50′ s 5 (Murder by Numbers) tape, which dropped gratis back in early July. While he’s been relatively quiet for the last few years apart from a few strategically planned guest verses on remixes of both YG and Mann’s biggest hits, the hunger in 50’s voice has finally returned. The “methodical diabolical [hustler] with a grin” is back on that bullshit. Now, maybe it’s because 50 is rapping about exactly what he knows—money. Or maybe it’s because he’s preparing to resurrect his career like Eminem post-Encore. (I’ll take it as long as he doesn’t enlist Pink and Rihanna). Either way, the grime is in every guttural syllable. And 50’s flow is smoother here than just about any French Montana record I’ve heard this year. More than that, the straight-faced hilarity is back too. I defy you to find a better line that is both pro-capitalism and a pro-gay (close enough) than “My stash look like a rainbow/My money is gay.”

Aside from the vocals, 50 has Havoc—half of the infamous Queensbridge duo currently more invested in Twitter beef than coming together for another classic—behind the boards. As with his financial decisions, 50 is on the money in choosing this beat. Havoc was clearly studying old Fif material when he made this one, as it sounds like it was crafted for a 2005 audience. The heavy bass. The looped choral chants. It has that street-epic feel we listen to 50 for.

In other words, if you’re looking for departures into the metaphysical then you’re asking way too much from the hit-maker who brought us “Wanksta” and “Candy Shop.” While some might consider a track like “Money” a regression of sorts, I’d argue the opposite. For me, 50 can only go forward if he goes back to what worked for him in the beginning—making tracks as hungry as this one. If he has to sound slightly dated to do it, then so be it.

With respect to the visual, it’s raw. No effects. Nothing arty. 50, surrounded by hoes he’s not going to talk about, lies on a bed in a Champion hoodie counting money he probably pulled out of his jeans and smoking a blunt. But what’s great about the video is that 50 looks like he’s having fun again. He looks rejuvenated  The eyebrow is raised. And even all the kush can’t hide the glint in his eyes.

In all honesty, I completely let 5 (Murder by Numbers) go when it hit the net. I saw it and passed. 50 hadn’t been in Ipod rotation since Curtis. Those Street King Energy drink commercials with Joan Rivers were the only time I heard him. Granted, I was also attempting to decipher Killer Mike, El-P, and Aesop Rock albums in July.  But after hearing “Money,” and watching the visual, I’ve downloaded the tape. Not all of the tracks are as good as “Money,” but the joint with Schoolboy Q, which finds DJ Pain 1 doing his best Heatmakerz interpretation, is cold. Whether Street King Immortal will improve upon “Money” and the best moments of 5 (Murder by Numbers) is up in the air. But if his single with Too $hort (below the jump) is any indication, 50 will be laughing straight to the bank well into middle-age.

MP3: 50 Cent ft. Schoolboy Q – “Can I Speak to You”
MP3: 50 Cent – “Money” (Left-Click)

ZIP: 50 Cent – 5 (Murder By Numbers) (Left-Click)

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