A quality involved with Hip Hop’s growth that separates it from any other genre is the fact that it can be intertwined and merged with many different sounds to create what may not have what some may identify as a “old school” or “classic” Hip Hop sound. While that successfully introduces most to the idea that the music we know and love is changing and growing whether we like it or not, it also creates intangible lanes, such as sound categories in the minds of the masses. These lanes are expected by the consumers to be satisfied by the artists who create these tracks. Now if we take Curtis Jackson, a suitable representation for what the majority would call “Gangsta Rap” and add the fact that he’s been silent focusing on other goals for quite sometime now, that would result in his fans were clamoring for anything that could fill the void, the emptiness in his lane that his ambition towards other ventures has left.

With his lane missing a huge vehicle for hard hitting hip hop, 50 Cent announced his mix tape, a group of tracks emphasizing his return, those on his team (G-Unit), and the significance of his 10 years in this industry. With his album approaching come 2012, Curtis took on the task of recreating buzz for himself after being gone for quite some time, releasing tracks here and there only to support his Street King energy movement. With his team sporting new signees, did his efforts show that he’s back like he’s never left?

Yeah B*tch I got my second wind, you can pretend I ain’t the sh*t…

“I’m guilty, I’m guilty, yeah I’m filthy fuckin rich” 50 bursts through the door solo with the intro “Body On It”, about a little less than a minute into the track. Reckless trash talk comes in across the board, including his gun talk and finishing off with a classic rant that only 50 Cent can deliver. From the first track it’s easy to tell 50’s ways are natural and what he says during his tracks is genuine.

Try Me, go head, Try Me…

The raw “N*ggas be Schemin” is where 50 takes a step back and lets one of his latest acquisitions, Kidd Kidd (previously known as Nutt Da Kidd, who appeared with Lil Wayne on “Guerrilla” when he was in talks with YMCMB) step into the light and the two actually blend very well. Kidd comes in for the first verse with Fifty coming in after the hook following with that formula as they both discuss the gritty details that comes with a 50 Cent track. The end in particular rises in intensity with the hook right after 50 and Kidd trade bars without a hook serving as the middleman and it’s easily the best part of the track. Solid? Yes. Amazingly different? No.

I get busy, I’m strapped now, I’m tryna say I want you Motherf*ckers to act out…

50 Leaves most of “Queens” to his other new signee, Paris as she delivers decent quality lyricism which may remind you that Remy Ma exists somewhere inside of a jail cell. 50 provides a final verse at the end supporting his artist as well as the hook (which is lazily done) resulting in a track that is overall decent at best.

Look n*gga, if you don’t love yourself, ain’t nobody gon’ love you…

Following an interesting (NSFW) skit and a sample of “That’s the way I Like it” by KC & The Sunshine Band, the duo that is 50 Cent and G-Unit original Tony Yayo team up for one of the stand out tracks on the project. The beat flips and turning the sample into “I Just Wanna” where the two glide over the beat, touching on the topic of women for most of the track. A quick step away from the hard tracks such as the next record.

Get to thumping and dumping at your newborn’s christening…

A powerful yet different hook rides in early and allows 50 to take over for the first two verses before he lets Kidd Kidd reappear and handle the track for the latter two. It’s evident that Curtis has confidence in his new team as he’s giving them a lot of shine and Kidd Kidd delivers two lackluster verses, with lines that remain on the thin line between clever and ridiculous. The track overall however, is satisfying as long as you can tolerate his Gudda Gudda-ish tone.

Hold Up – Money, I’m gonna spend it, or why the f*ck would I hustle hard to get it?

50 spits over this track solo boasting and speaking on his plethora of wealth, a topic that is not unfamiliar to Curtis. Short, but catchy.

Bedroom Superhero, Naked I’m Batman…

The project slows down with “Wait ’til Tonight” where 50 spends two verses speaking on a certain woman he’s infatuated with and what he wants to do to her. The track’s smooth in a 50 Cent kind of way, and while it doesn’t top other slower tracks he’s done such as “Follow My Lead” assisted by Robin Thicke, it serves it’s purpose as a mix tape song.

School of Hard Knocks, I’m ahead of my class…

“You Took My Heart” shoots by quickly due to the short length of the track, the hook and the skit in the beginning which focuses overall on the fact that, well, as the skit repeats: It’s about Money. 50’s cocky nature continues on, taking about what he’ll do to his opponents and what he’s done already that establishes his identity as an artist that isn’t to be f*cked with. Small rant at the end included, this is mediocre at best.

I’m legendary, I’m necessary…

“It ain’t easy being me” The Tupac sample chants at the beginning and throughout the track as 50 talks his usual talk solo on the record “Off and On”. The track itself is solid but overall refuses to be great in the sense that it is worth being on an album. No impressive lyricism, not too much of a change in terms of flow, but the beat holds up with it’s catchy sound and the song as a whole is far from difficult to listen to.

This rap sh*t fake if you really wanna ask me…

50 Cent returns with Tony Yayo, allowing him to take the over most of the track on “Nah Nah Nah”, as he takes two verses to 50’s one and surprisingly outshines him with his first verse. One thing that makes these tracks seem fresh is Curtis’ order with these verses. It seems like the traditional “two verses then a guess verse, or back and forth” structure isn’t enough for him and thankfully it wasn’t considering all the features he’s had on the project overall, it’s good that we got a mix in things. The track is better than most on the project, which is surprising considering Yayo’s controlling the tone of the track after 50’s early verse.

9 Bullet Wounds, now a n*gga half crazy…

Aggression is key on “Stop Crying”, obviously one of the better tracks on the entire mixtape. The usual subject matter comes from 50 in terms of how he’s the epitome of intimidation and how much better he is, but the beat channels his flow in one of the best ways on the album. The catchy hook reinforces the track in addition making it a great record, although short.

Then, we get a quick outro no one will really remember speaking on manipulation. One thing that is a given about 50 Cent is the fact that he’s a businessman. He operates as more than just a hard rapper with no sense. He thinks and makes each move after serious thinking has been done. That said, this was not 50 Cent’s best effort. He knows it, and those who really know him know it. The subject matter never really changes, but the fact is that it’s only a mixtape and 50 treats it as such. That however, is what hurts him overall from making this better. I suppose as a business man, making the free project the best it could possibly be isn’t the best move.

Also, while we’re discussing moves, what was 50 thinking with his new signees? Paris is a decent addition wit potential, but Kidd Kidd harbors too often on the line that is mediocrity. A bad Gudda Gudda, it seems, if you try to keep in mind the lie that Gudda Gudda isn’t unappealing lyrically himself. Kidd Kidd sounded decent here, but what he was actually saying? Not nearly impressive, regardless of the fact that 50 placed him on the better beats. Given this is his chance to shine with new boss 50 as well, was this his best effort? I would hope not. It is not a all bad news however, the project is far from bad. It’s structure is good, and Yayo isn’t bad either.

This is a mixtape designed to put G-Unit in the face of the fans, behind beats that 50 probably felt wouldn’t make the album but still have some value to them, and he did well with what he used. The project sends up the notification that 50 Cent is back, but better than ever? We’ll have to wait for the album to see if that is true.

Timeless Tracks: N*ggas be Scheming, I Just Wanna, Shooting Guns, Off and On, Stop Crying

OVERALL: 7.5/10

Comments