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The North Wind

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Molly Birch
Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

50 Cent’s listeners short-changed

Although I’ve been known to bop my head to the occasional rap song over the years, I would hardly call myself a fan. I’m a laid-back beat, poetic lyrics kind of girl, and having angry slurs spit at me through my headphones usually isn’t kosher. But sometimes, when it’s been a compromising day and a gentle guitar strum isn’t going to do my mood justice, I need to rely on an artist who will say the F-word a few (hundred) times.

Enter rap mogul 50 Cent, whose recent rivalry with Kanye West over the simultaneous release of their new albums has given him a resurgence in fame after a touch-and-go couple of years. Unfortunately, his new CD, “Curtis,” won’t buy him much more time in the spotlight.

After consecutive hits “In Da Club” and “21 Questions” in 2003, 50 has found it difficult to maintain a solid sound in a booming hip-hop industry where it’s easy to be forgotten because everyone sounds the same. His 2005 album, “The Massacre,” flickered for a little bit, but his hardcore fans probably pretend that it never happened at all.

“Curtis” goes back to the clubbish, fresh-off-the-street beats that skyrocketed 50 into stardom four years ago. The first track consists of a silly dialogue less than a minute long between two people about guns, which suffices as a good segue into the album’s first real song — “My Gun Go Off.” The subject matter speaks for itself and reveals a tougher, more violent 50 than I remembered.

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Track No. 4, “I’ll Still Kill,” is where the mild magic of this album starts. If 50’s looking for a hit, here it is. The beat is guaranteed to make you move somehow, whether it’s tapping your shoes or drumming your fingertips. Its message, “don’t even look at me wrong when I come through the hood,” is raw and relatable. And fellow rapper Akon does not hurt the chorus at all with his crisp vocals.

If one gem isn’t enough, there’s another shortly after on track seven, titled “Ayo Technology.” I had my doubts about this one because it starts out with 50 versing about a hot girl he wants to hook up with — a subject that has been so overplayed in hip-hop that any unoriginal attempt just sucks — but all of a sudden who arrives with a basket full of smooth, pretty-boy charm? Justin Timberlake. Timberlake is a pop icon who belongs nowhere on my CD shelf or in a rap song, but in this case the song would flounder without him. Timbaland tosses in his voice, too, which suggests that 50 knew he wasn’t strong enough to carry even half the song, so he called in for reinforcement.

Lyrically, I hit the “play” button knowing I wasn’t about to be serenaded with flowery Barry Manilow-type imagery, but 50’s choice of words on “Curtis” is lame. The clever wordplay and witty rhymes of a few years ago have already been forgotten in the interest of looking like a pompous badass. For all of the spouting that 50 does about guns and murder, which constitutes about 98 percent of this album, it all just translates into a genuinely OK guy who’s trying too hard to be the top dog in his industry. Why else would someone toss out the N-word every few minutes if he wasn’t trying to compensate for not actually feeling that confrontational all the time?

Overall, “Curtis” has a little potential and a good beat that’s easy to step in time to if you’re out with your iPod; just don’t sing along as well, or you will kill the mood of everyone you encounter. Sorry, 50, but I’ve heard what Kanye has to offer, and in the throwdown for album sales that you two are currently having, it’d be in your best interest to just put the glock down.

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