When asked about my expectations for Animal Ambition, the latest album from 50 cent, I responded simply “meh, I hope it’s more Power of a Dollar, Guess Who’s Back, less Curtis.” Thankfully, if it’s one artist who’s able to pay attention to the needs of his core fanbase it’s 50. Animal Ambition is a return to gangsta rap sound New York Twitter has been crying for all this time.
If there is anything to be said about 50, it’s that he’s an artist that commands a certain level of attention. Jokes were inevitably flying around about his alleged lack of relevance in the rap game, but it could honestly be argued that we listen whenever Curtis has something to say. Tracks like “Don’t Worry Bout It”, “Pilot”, “Winner’s Circle”, express his sentiments toward the jabs. The Queens legend spends a significant portion of the album explaining how he doesn’t need to explain himself (Hustler, Hold On), highlighting the paradoxical qualities that make 50 so appealing.
One thing to be extremely gracious for on Animal Ambition is the lack of singing that was ridiculously overused on 50’s three previous albums, The Massacre, Curtis and Before I Self Destruct. If anything, AA takes on a grittier theme, making use of the syncopated instrumentals and smooth melodies NY rap is known for. Songs like “Don’t Worry Bout It”, which was a hit with the Summer Jam crowd on Sunday, and “Chase The Paper” sound like they were made for the scammiest, schemenest of dudes, not completely unlike 50 himself. Sadly, there is a bit of crooning and tuning, but the only one that bothered me much where he attempts to do the singing. *Side-eyes*
I like Animal Ambition. It’s an album your reformed dope boy uncle is going to play in his Infiniti on the way to the good legal job he has now. That maybe one of my favorite takeaways from this project, 50 made music for the fans of his generation, which I hope at least, will inspire these old-heads to put their youngins onto. If not, at least Animal Ambition gave hipsters some context for all the Troy Ave slander.
Best Tracks: Don’t Worry Bout It, Pilot, Irregular Heartbeat, Hold On