ARTIST: 50 Cent
WEB DEBUT: Aug. 30, 2007
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 11, 2007
ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: It’s a little strange listening to Curtis as an actual sequenced album–five of its 17 tracks have already crossed my desk–and what’s even stranger is that the version of the album currently making its way around the Internet is the clean version, which results in 50′s raps being pockmarked with sudden drop-outs. (The word “panties” in “Amusement Park” is dropped; so is the titular firearm of “My Gun Go Off.” I probably missed about 60% of the real insults to 50′s detractors and enemies as a result.)
Anyway, here’s the thing about Curtis: If you can get past 50′s horrible flow and even worse attitudes toward women–nothing says “sensitive guy” like 50′s admission in “Follow My Lead” that “if you act like a bitch, I call you a bitch then hang up / Probably call you right back and shit”–and anyone else who may get in his way, Curtis is not a bad album, and it’s nowhere near the floptastic mess that so many pundits were hoping it would be. Even the singles, particularly “Amusement Park,” sound better in the context of the album (although the “Ayo Technology”/Punch-Out! similarities are more apparent than ever).
Most of the highlights are sonic: “Curtis 187″ is twisted around a bright acoustic-guitar chord, and the twitchy “Peep Show,” which is built around a bare-bones sample that makes “In Da Club” sound downright overproduced, seems as destined for the strip-club circuit as Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” did all those years ago. (Pity about Eminem’s by-the-numbers cameo–it’s hard to not think he has a bunch of verses stockpiled for times like these.) This isn’t to say that Curtis doesn’t have its duds; whoever thought that it would be a good idea to have Nicole Scherzinger sing a hook, as she does on “Fire,” should get their ears checked straight away.
The bottom line: Am I ever going to listen to it again after tonght? Maybe! (Although I’d probably skip “Fire.” Sorry Nicole.) And honestly, that’s more than I thought I’d say when i downloaded it a few hours ago.
THE BEST TRACK: The Dr. Dre-produced “Fully Loaded Clip,” which could be 50′s attempt to channel the best parts of the Klymaxx catalog while he talks about how he was holding things down on the “real” front while people like Jay-Z and Nas were busy romancing their ladies. But since this is the clean version, of course, the song’s actually called “Fully Loaded [beat].” (Apparently an early version of this track leaked back in April.)