After a few false alarms, 50 Cent’s fourth album Before I Self Destruct finally detonates in stores today. Did the rapper’s latest work set off sparks with critics? Find out below.
Entertainment Weekly: Growling violent threats over hard beats, 50 sounds the hungriest he has in years. Of course, there’s nothing remotely original about the formula he’s returning to, but at least he’s going through the motions with gusto. B-
The New York Times: Taken as a whole this album has a pleasingly morbid tone, in keeping with the best moments from 50 Cent’s first two albums. But context is this album’s undoing. Before I Self Destruct is the ramblings of a stubborn heavyweight pushing retirement, not clever enough to replace declining agility with wit.
Chicago Sun-Times: The cameos by Eminem (on the tired and tossed-off “Psycho”) and R&B superstar R. Kelly (“Could’ve Been You,” one of two ill-advised Fiddy smooth jams) add nothing, and the millionaire businessman’s rhymes about scheming bitches, treacherous drug dealers, and his allegedly unrivaled ability to beat all rivals to a bloody pulp have never sounded more predictable, boring, contrived, or thoroughly insincere. 1 out of 4
Chicago Tribune: The subject matter is anything but fresh (“I bring money to my [friends], death to my enemies”), but at least these tales of blood and dollars find him more fired up than he has been in years. His rhyme battle with Eminem on “Psycho” has zero redeeming value, but the two old pros fire away with glee trying to out-psychopath each other. 2 out of 4
Newsday: Where Fitty has improved most is in showing his softer side—teaming with R. Kelly on the crude-but-catchy “Could’ve Been You” and truly shining with Ne-Yo on the unstoppable current single “Baby By Me.” It’s only a matter of time before 50 Cent realizes these kinds of songs are where the big money is for him. B
USA Today: Before I Self Destruct isn’t likely to renew 50 Cent’s currency. Though packed with tough beats, dense production, and 50’s most ferocious delivery in years, the gloats about shootings, drugs, and bloody ’hoods feel about as fresh as a Saw sequel. 2.5 out of 4
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Crime Wave,” “Baby By Me,” “Do You Think About Me,” “Could’ve Been You”