Published Jun 02, 2014Once upon a time not long ago, when people worshipped gangsta rap and lived life slow, a rapper named 50 Cent was the man to beat, selling millions of records with hit songs and beefs. However, he would soon become the catalyst to his own defeat. Following lacklustre studio effort Before I Self Destruct, 50 Cent has spent the last several years trying to re-establish himself as one of rap's premier artists to varying degrees of success.
Unfortunately, Animal Ambition doesn't do much to help solve his musical conundrum. 50 wants listeners to feel like he's hungry for the top spot again — and in some spots, he succeeds — but for the most part, he falls flat. On "Hold On," for instance, he tries to remind listeners of his street credentials, recounting his longstanding feud with incarcerated label executive Jimmy Henchman. Instead, the track only serves as a reminder of his reliance on overly dramatized rap feuds. Meanwhile, the Dr. Dre-produced "Smoke" feels like a by-the-numbers single that should have been omitted from the final track list.
Despite these missteps, 50 can still be captivating when he wants to be. On the whisper-privy "Irregular Heartbeat," he confidently evokes a sense of dread, spewing verses like, "We by the schoolyard waiting for you to get your kid." This highlights Animal Ambition's greatest issue: he is clearly capable of reaching his former highs, yet can't seem to maintain a solid grasp.
Either way, Animal Ambition showcases a very creatively confused 50 Cent, trapped in some sort of musical purgatory we can only hope he find his way out of. (Caroline)