While 50 Cent may have blown up something major back in 2012, deading careers and dominating not only the hip hop game but a massive chunk of the pop landscape as well with his multi-platinum-selling debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’, as career trajectories tend to go, the longer that breakthrough year has receded into the rear-view, the deeper the G-Unit kingpin has edged into falling into the black hole of irrelevancy, a string of spotty follow-up albums riddled with push-back woes and uninspired singles (not to mention an army of new hip hop voices providing younger, fresher perspectives) leading him to a 2013 where interest in a new Fiddy release had fallen somewhere real low on the ladder of “Things People Care About”.
That is, perhaps, until now.
On the heels of three seemingly surefire (at least on the surface) A-list cast-boasting singles that came and went without making much of an impact (the Eminem & Adam Levine-featured “My Life”; the Dr. Dre/ Alicia Keys collabo “New Day”; and “Major Distribution” with Snoop Dogg and Young Jeezy), the long pushed-back Street King Immortal seems to have stumbled upon a real album-launching winner with the self-celebratory “We Up”.
Brimming with a snarly “Don’t you wish you could be as dope as me” braggadocio, “We Up”‘s lyrical subject matter airs nothing new, but as a whole package the track just works, 50 and the rarely misfiring Kendrick Lamar sketching out the theme with a colorful poetic dexterity (“I’m around the bullshit like a matador/ I’m used to the bullshit, it don’t matter boy/ Corporate acquisitions, accumulations of wealth/ Build with the gods and double knowledge of self”) all to a silky smooth beat that marries house and boom bap flavors without losing one trace of street appeal.
Toss in a hot hook that reminds of the days when 50 used to spin off the catchiest choruses with the utmost ease and a nice verse from Kidd Kidd, and what you end up with is one of the most all-around solid records from the emcee in a long minute.
If the Spring-due Street King Immortal promises to have more heat like this and the old school Fiddy-leaning “Major Distribution”, we just might have to start actually anticipating this album.