50 Cent - Animal Ambition (Album Review)

Some may say that 50 Cent has had a rough couple of albums after he broke big. His rap collective, G-Unit, seems like a dinosaur these days. Kanye showed him up and beat 50 into retirement (well sort of since 50 Cent refused to retire after he claimed he would if Kanye's album debuted higher than his...which it did). I'll be honest it seems like it's been more than a long time now since the world was excited about a 50 Cent album. It’s been quite possibly since The Massacre. Curtis had a nice opening week and fairly strong single "Ayo Technology (ft Justin Timberlake & Timbaland)" but as a whole the album was only okay to me. 2009s Before I Self Destruct was less than memorable and in my opinion was 50's worst album. There have been various rumors and return singles and albums just never came. So when Animal Ambition was announced I was really interested in how 50 Cent would fit into this post Kanye/Pharrell landscape where artists like Odd Future, A$AP Rocky, J. Cole, etc... have really thrived. It's a very different landscape than when 50 Cent arrived on the scene with Get Rich Or Die Trying. I never count out an artist like 50 Cent though because Get Rich Or Die Trying and The Massacre were exceptional albums for the genre. With Get Rich... being a hip-hop/rap classic (or at least near a hip hop classic).

Animal Ambition is basically classic 50 Cent. It doesn't stray too far away from the formula we've heard since Get Rich Or Die Trying. What it does do that the last couple albums have had trouble doing is do the sound a little more impressively. The production and overall sound of the album is good. It’s overall pretty good beat choices and performance wise. 50 Cent gives a pretty good overall performance. "Hold On" starts the album and it just works beat wise and vocal wise. Yeah it's familiar territory, but it's the freshest I've probably heard 50 sound in a while. It's a great 50 Cent song and I could easily see it on my list of top 10-20 favorite 50 Cent songs. The title track sounds interesting. I like the beat and the way the vocals are done. I like the vocal effects on the chorus and the animal noises thrown in make the song probably one of the more interesting songs on the album. There are a couple duds on this one. "Pilot" just feels a little flat to me. I'm not a huge fan of the beat or the lyrics. "Chase The Paper" is an okay song. I liked it, but I really wanted a closing song as strong as the first song on the album and it didn't quite end on the note I would have liked. It's not bad, but there's just no denying "Hold On" just intros the album so well and that this album needed a really strong closer.

The biggest flaw is that it is basically more of the same. It's 11 tracks of the sound you've come to expect from 50 Cent with lyrics and a rapping style you've come to expect from 50 Cent. That's great if you want a pretty good to okay 50 Cent album. Since it's been a while since 50 released an album it doesn't bother me that much. I will say that if you're looking to see advancement in sound and lyrical content it just isn't here. I think at this point in his career I've accepted that 50 has some limitations and is always going to focus on a certain type of sound and a certain type of content. Taking that in mind I judge how well he accomplished his "sound". With this album he does a good job. Perhaps not as good as his classic material. As a whole I'd say this might be as good as Curtis. I do like the album as a whole though, which I appreciate since I was really interested to hear this one. I was kind of ready to hear a new 50 Cent album. I can also see that many might think they’ve heard it before and heard it done better on his previous albums. That's a totally understandable viewpoint.

There isn't a lot of advancement in sound from previous work on this album, and honestly at times the themes and content feel a little watered down, but I think that is probably part of Animal Ambition's charm. It's 50 Cent doing what 50 Cent does for the better or worse, most likely depending on the listener. It's a nice return to form for 50 Cent and previous listeners know this material is par for the course. I'm guessing the larger part of his fan base probably wants to hear an album that sounds pretty much like this. It's on the short side with 11 tracks but trimming it down keeps it tight and helps it stay cohesive, and honestly if this album were 8-9 tracks longer it might have been a little too much and listener fatigue might come in. For 50 fans it might be a little on the short side (I'm pretty sure this is 50's shortest album). For me though the length helps the album more than it hurts it. It's hard to say how this fits in with modern day hip hop/rap. I think there is still some interest in the style, but there is no denying hip-hop/rap has come along way since the Get Rich Or Die Trying era. I don't think this is the album that will take him back to the top. However, for fans of 50 Cent and anyone who enjoys his classic material this album has more than enough shiny spots to keep you interested and it has a couple of the better 50 Cent songs I've heard in a long while.

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