G-Unit - T.O.S: Terminate on Sight
Record Label: G-Unit / Interscope Records
Release Date: July 1, 2008
It is, mark my words, only a matter of time before the wheels on the 50 Cent train fall off and run for the nearest scrap yard. For the last five years, weíve been barraged with anything and everything that is 50 Cent. From music, to clothes, to movies, to Vivica A. Fox, back to movies, to his rap feud with The Game, to his rap feud with Kanye West, to Vitamin Water. You name it and there is probably a good chance that on the ingredients, the name ĎCurtis Jacksoní will appear somewhere. Hell, you might want to check your cereal because chances are 50 has his spoon and milk in it, taking a cut.
The newest album from his rap group, T.O.S. (Terminate On Sight), is no exception. As long as his name is bankable, 50 will continue to throw it out there with prospering hopes that there will be some money attached on the come around. G-Unitís debut album, Beg For Mercy, was a big hit. It came out nine months after 50ís debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryiní, in 2003, with hits from his debut still atop the Billboard charts. Beg For Mercy sold some two-plus million records in the states and received some pretty good critical reviews. With this yearís release of T.O.S, Iím sure that 50 was hoping for the same fruit from his labor. After listening to this album way more than I should have, G-Unit should stick to being branded on the front of the 50ís popular clothing line, not meddling in peopleís eardrums.
In fairness, I really liked 50ís first album, Get Rich or Die Tryiní, when it came out. It was gritty and new and had this flair about it that made me intrigued to listen and anticipatory for more music; Beg For Mercy had the same gritty, hard and grimy feel to it. After liking each debut album, I was then looking forward to more music, but subsequently (and continually), I was simply let down. The Massacre came out in 2005 and had a lot of hit singles on it, granted, but it had the aura of complacency about it. When Curtis came out in 2007, he was coasting on industry fumes. 50 strolled along on the same recipe he used for each prior album. He uses the same phrases, the same rhyme scheme and the same lyrical content; itís all become unoriginal music.
So, as I continue to analyze 50ís music and the more I continue to hear 50 Cent, the more I realize why hip-hop has gotten a bad rap. Bluntly, honestly and unequivocally Ė 50 Cent is garbage. I have liked each new CD from him (and thus, G-Unit) less than the previous. I, then, do not find it odd that his album sales have continued to fall short of their predecessors. The reviews of each album seem to follow that same trend.
Now, after being disappointed with each of his last few albums, why would I want to hear the new G-Unit album you might ask? Why would I want to write a review about it? Well, my friends, there are two reasons: Young Buck and Lloyd Banks. To me, Young Buck is what rap music is about. His music is nothing more than his feelings thrown down on paper and spit into a mic. He wears his attitude on his chest and has no caution about saying whatever he wants, whenever he wants to. He has flown under the radar for a while and I think that is part of the reason that I love his music. The same goes for Lloyd Banks, whose debut album The Hunger For More is, to me, a great disc. It produced some commercial hits, but the album was real and upfront, so I was sold. Young Buck and Lloyd Banks both have dirty, hard-hitting lyrics that go great with their dirty, hard-hitting rap style.
So, what did I think of T.O.S? As a whole, it was garbage. In parts, it was great. The parts that were great: Lloyd Banks, Young Buck and, surprisingly, Tony Yayo. There was nothing that 50 added to benefit this record or benefit his counterparts. He continues to rap about the exact same things, with the exact same lyrics and the exact same rhyme scheme. In fact, the more and more I listen, the less and less I can decipher what album Iím actually listening to. The production of the album sounds like G-Unit, but the songs sound the same and they run together from beginning to end.
The solitary few that stood out (and I canít really tell why) are "Rider Pt. 2," "Straight Outta Southside," "Piano Man," and "I Like The Way She Do It." Other than that, the album was a mess of random lyrics that I found almost completely boring. The only time that I found myself paying attention was when 50 Cent wasnít rapping, which wasnít very often. On the album, for example, it doesnít get much worse than the song "Kitty Kat," which has some random girl saying, "Ouch, I need cash for my kitty kat." Seriously. And when (or if) you listen to this album, Iím sure that youíll catch the irony on "I Donít Wanna Talk About It," where 50 Cent continues to rap about girls, guns, gunshots, gun shells and money, only to then hit us with the chorus, "I donít wanna talk about it." If thatís the case, and he really didnít want to talk about it, his last four albums wouldnít have been released.
Ultimately, on this album, 50 has only done what heís done for the last five years. He developed a sound, a style, a swagger, an image Ė and he has continued to push that out to the masses. Heís nothing if heís not consistent. The problem is not that his music isnít consistently good. Itís that itís getting consistently worse. I think the penultimate display of that is on this G-Unit record. Personally, I canít find enough bad things say or ways to point out how bad 50ís music continues to get, so Iíll let Young Buck sum up the possession of this album best: "Fuck ya clique, like Syphilis, bitch, you stuck with this."