50 Cent

The Kanan Tape

It’s hard to say when the last time that 50 Cent released music was, and I’m not going to Google it because it doesn’t matter. 

50 Cent has not been musically relevant for a minute, because he hasn’t had to be. He’s been comfortable making and spending money. Remember when he was in a video with that singing kid who dissed him on YouTube? That’s the 50 Cent we have come to love, potentially forgetting that he made half of the best songs of the 2000’s (and if you’re young enough you could not even know!). 

That was also five years ago (I Googled it). A lot has happened since then, and I guess not all of it has been favorable for 50, who filed for bankruptcy in 2015. That probably doesn’t matter because who knows how money works when you have millions of pieces of it, but it may have spurred him to release December’s The Kanan Tape to help kickstart a Huge Money Making Tour. 

I prefer to think it’s because he is a rapper, and rappers – no matter how old they get – need to remind you that they’re the man. 

To corroborate my assumption, 50 released a music video/ short film for the track “I’m The Man,” off said tape, which aims to show that he is still, undisputedly, The Man. I’m not sure if the video accomplishes this – half of it is a mediocrely shot and directed robbery scene – but the song, and several others on The Kanan Tape show that he’s still got it. 

“I’m The Man” and some of the best songs on the tape sound like old 50 Cent songs, in a good way. “I’m The Man” is produced by Sonny Digital, who definitely isn’t known for making 50-sounding beats, but 50 isn’t found trying to force his style into a new lane, instead effortlessly melding with Sonny’s spacey, moody production with some classic lowkey 50 crooning. Shoutouts to the fact that all the rappers used to sing but no one complained then Drake sang and everyone complained? 

The tape’s standout track “Tryna Fuck Me Over” features production from Scoop Deville that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Massacre, but is still current enough that Post Malone is able to do his singy thing on it. I love me some Post Malone, but he is easily outshined by 50 on this one, who sounds as charismatic as he did in 2003. 

“Too Rich for the Bitch” shows that 50 is just as capable of going in on a London On Da Track beat that he stole from Young Thug – seriously, just imagine Thug on this, WHAT A COMBINATION 2016 BOUT TO BE HUGE FOR HIM – as something that sounds like it was specifically crafted for him, like “Burner On Me”. The moral of the story is that 50 Cent, despite being an Old Rapper, is still a Good Rapper, and his ‘classic sound’ is still good. This is good. It is worth the free download! 

- Mike Skwark

Published in Volume 70, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 14, 2016)

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