It seems like a long time since 50 Cent was one of the biggest things in hip-hop. When he emerged as a protégé of Dr Dre and Eminem a decade ago, he was the roughest, toughest, most frequently shot rapper in the game. He was also behind the line ‘I love you like a fat kid loves cake’, surely one of the greatest lyrics of this or any other century.
But in his attempt to diversify into films and computer games, Fiddy seemed to lose his way. He even got pelted with waves of campsite detritus when performing at the Reading Festival. Despite an impressive array of beefs with everyone from P Diddy to Lil Wayne, people just weren’t scared of him any more.
With all that in mind, a collaboration with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine seems like an odd choice for 50 Cent’s comeback, particularly if he’s set on reasserting his gangsta credentials. In reality it all works out pretty well, Levine’s vocals mesh nicely with a propulsive and pleasingly Gothic production that has more than a touch of the Dre about it. While it’s clearly targeted at the charts, Fiddy doesn’t pull any punches with his verses. He wants the world to know that he’s back and just as dangerous as ever, something he accomplishes with some inspired F-bombing.
But he’s outdone by guest Eminem – another artist who knows a thing or two about spending time in the wilderness. His verse has more swears-per-minute than a Quentin Tarantino movie on fast-forward. It also demonstrates the astonishing verbal dexterity that made everyone love him, before his talent became eclipsed by his fame.
All in all then, it’s a pretty triumphant comeback. Fiddy has spoken of his desire to have another hit as big as ‘In Da Club’ before he retires. If he keeps going like this when new album ‘Street King Immortal’ drops in 2013, he may well achieve his ambition.