After problems over the years with Interscope Records, 50 Cent returns with Animal Ambition released independently through G-Unit Records, distributed by Capital Music Group. The project is 50’s first album to be released in nearly 5 years and some are dubbing it a comeback album. But that’s not what it is. It’s a reintroduction to 50 Cent as a rapper–to the general public. Hate it or love it, 50 Cent remained successful through other opportunities while many counted him out musically. He’s released a number of mixtapes since his last album Before I Self Destruct‘s release, but none were as successful as his entrepreneurial business deals. With the release of Animal Ambition does 50 recreate the spark he once had, or did he fall off? Find out in the Rap Dose review of Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire To Win.
Animal Ambition opens with “Hold On“–a track which reintroduces 50 Cent as the songwriter we grew to love. 50 loves telling us gangster tales and when he does it, it’s believable because we know his back story. A lot has changed for Curtis since coming from nothing and on this track he lets us know it all while reminding us he’s still got a street mentality. Frank Dukes soulful production isn’t the highlight of “Hold On“, it’s 50’s aggressive content.
Next up is the Yo Gotti-featured “Don’t Worry Bout It” produced by Charli Brown Beatz. The production is amateur, but 50 and Yo Gotti’s chemistry make the track listenable. 50 and Yo Gotti are both great at rapping about hustling. This one isn’t about the lyrics, it’s more about humble bragging, which 50 has always done well. With that said, “Don’t Worry About It” is listenable, but it’s not memorable. The beat is almost annoying.
The title track “Animal Ambition” is the album’s worst. The Swiff D-produced cut has one of 50’s signature repetitive choruses where he repeatedly says “I got that Animal Ambition,” followed by animalistic growling that will do nothing but make you skip it. The beat is no good and sounds dated along with 50’s southern flow.
Thank god the next track is “Pilot” produced by Shamtrax. The production here sounds much better than the last and so does 50’s rhymes. The chorus sounds a bit repetitive but it doesn’t break the record, or make it less of a nice record to listen to.
“Smoke” produced by Dr. Dre and Dawaun Parker is the first single from Animal Ambition. With that being said, it features Trey Songz on the chorus. The content of this track isn’t too great and neither is the chorus which Trey actually delivers well. The instrumental is epic all by it’s self. 50 says this record was recorded years ago, and that’s easy to believe. While it may be a good radio friendly single it sadly sounds dated. This could have worked a few years ago, but times have changed. However, it’s still listenable and deserves some play.
Kidd Kidd makes his first contractual appearance on Animal Ambition contributing to “Everytime I Come Around“. Kidd Kidd has been an easy target of slander, but he’s been low key impressing me with his solo tracks. That doesn’t change the fact his verse on “Everytime I Come Around” is absolute bullshit. To be fair, 50’s verse isn’t all that neither but it isn’t complete trash like Kidd Kidd’s. The instrumental provided by Steve Alien is no good. Nothing you’d want to listen to again and again.
Kidd Kidd lurks his way onto the next track “Irregular Heartbeat” which also features Jadakiss. Thankfully, Kidd Kidd is welcomed on this G Rocka and Medi produced cut that has a laid back feel. But it’s everything but laid back. 50, Jada, and Kidd Kidd all deliver on Irregular Heartbeat which has that classic 50 Cent feel. The beat is minimalistic and so is the flows, but the track tells a great story and even sounds a bit haunting. Don’t mess with 50, Jada, or Kidd Kidd.
50 Cent got his mind on the money, not the hos. On “Hustler” 50 lets us know this over a Jake One-produced track. 50’s chorus is nothing to brag about, as it’s been done before, but it gets the job done. 50’s flow, lyrics, and delivery is perfect on “Hustler“. The fashion raps 50 provides us with isn’t what I personally would like to hear from 50. Leave that to the ASAP Rocky‘s.
“Twisted” featuring Mr. Probz produced by Just Hustle and Kyle Justice is a standout track on 50’s Animal Ambition. The instrumental on Twisted sounds of a higher production value than any other track on the LP. The Mr. Probz feature is very welcomed. His chorus and ad-libbing throughout make the track better overall. 50’s verses fit the sound he’s going with on this one perfectly and so does his flow.
Are you ready to win? Then join 50’s “Winner’s Circle“. On this inspirational Guordan Banks featured cut 50 lets us know he wants his spot back over an uplifting Ky Miller-produced instrumental. “I’m trying to make it feel like the first time/Like a junkie I’m sort of chasing my first high” — 50 Cent trying to create another Get Rich Or Die Trying isn’t new. The sound on Animal Ambition is nothing like Get Rich Or Die Trying though. It’s a completely different time period and we want new sounds from 50 and on this song he delivers just that–a new sound. Winner’s Circle has all the elements of a strong 50 Cent song, and he flows on the uplifting track effortlessly. 50 may not ever create another Get Rich Or Die Trying, but with powerful music like this he could at least recapture the feeling he had with the release of his most successful album.
50‘s Chase The Paper featuring Prodigy, Kidd Kidd & Styles P has Ty Fyffe production, but after the first listen I thought it was was produced by Alchemist. That’s a good thing. Alchemist is underrated and so is Ty Fyffe. This is one of the better beats on Animal Ambition, and every rapper on the track delivers on it. Another standout.
The Funeral is the first offering we heard from 50 Cent‘s Animal Ambition when he announced his weekly release strategy, and it turned out to be a bonus track on the album. Much like “Hold On” this track features the aggressive content we seek from Curtis. Mix that with 50’s ability to tell a great story and Jake One‘s stellar production, and we have a timeless 50 Cent track.
50 Cent‘s second bonus track is “You Know” featuring production by Soul Professa. There is nothing to like about this record. 50’s rhymes sound bad over bad production. The instrumental features an annoying dinging loop, that will make you want to skip to the next bonus record, which happens to be a standout. Soul Professa also produced “Major Distribution” which is undeniably hot. That should of made the cut. Not this…even if it is just a bonus.
“Flip On You” is a track originally intended for Schoolboy Q‘s Oxymoron album. But that doesn’t change the fact that it captures the sound of a 50 Cent record perfectly and it’s a perfect fit for Animal Ambition. 50 and Schoolboy’s back-and-forth style chorus is hot and so is the Nascent beat. 50 Cent and Schoolboy Q are similar artists and when 2 similar artists collaborate the outcome can be great. This is the perfect example of that. Schoolboy Q and 50 Cent both deliver on this one lyrically.
50 Cent is no longer a part of the Shady/Aftermath/Interscope family and it shows. The overall quality of Animal Ambition isn’t what we’ve come to expect from a 50 Cent album. It features 14 tracks (deluxe edition) of which the substance and lyrics are there. The album suffers when it comes to production and repetition. On Animal Ambition 50 Cent rhymes about topics we like to hear him rapping about, but it doesn’t sound well over production purchased from any John Doe on SoundClick. 50’s “aggressive content” deserves a better resting place than this, and we all know he can afford better beats. Animal Ambition resembles more of a recent 50 Cent mixtape, than it does an album.
While Animal Ambition suffers from entry-level production and the usual redundancy from 50’s post-Curtis material, it’s still listenable. Animal Ambition has a selection of good songs, but only a few you’ll want to listen to again and again. A majority of the hooks on Animal Ambition is 50 Cent repeating things and they come off a bit lazy. While this has been successful for 50 Cent in the past (I Get Money) it got boring. 50 Cent’s hook formula has been abused. He needs to try new things. When he does try new things, there can be a good outcome. Features by Guordan Banks, Mr. Probz, Schoolboy Q, Jadakiss, and even Trey Songz to some extent help make Animal Ambition better. Standout tracks on Animal Ambition are the collaborations with those artists featured. Repeatedly forcing us to listen to Kidd Kidd won’t make us like him any more. Hearing Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo on a track or two would be great.
50 Cent believes Animal Ambition will flop (even though he doesn’t want it to) and doesn’t care about the sales this time around. This project is being released to reintroduce the general public to 50 Cent, the rapper. And it might just be successful at doing that. As much as we all loved 50 Cent as a Shady/Aftermath artist, this is the proof that 50 can do it all on his own and it will be interesting seeing where 50 goes from here. By no means is Animal Ambition a bad album. It’s not a classic neither. It has it’s kinks, but 50 still got it and this is a necessary step in the right direction for the future of 50 Cent as a rap artist. Don’t count 50 out, his Animal Ambition will keep him relevant in rap.
Standout Tracks: Winner’s Circle (Feat. Guordan Banks), Twisted (Feat. Mr. Probz), The Funeral, Flip On You (Feat. Schoolboy Q), Chase The Paper (Feat. Kidd Kidd, Prodigy & Styles P)
Skip These Tracks: Animal Ambition, Everytime I Come Around (Feat. Kidd Kidd), You Know
This review was written before the G-Unit reunion at Hot 97 Summer Jam 2014. I’m excited 50 Cent, Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo have reunited. The “Grindin My Whole Life Remix” is outstanding. G-Unit is back. Thank you, Based 50.