Rap mogul 50 Cent released on Monday November 16th “Before I Self Destruct,” his long awaited fourth studio album. This time, Fifty finds himself in a very different space than the #1 spot he was used to occupy. But can we really say we didn’t see it coming?
Based on first day sales, 50 Cent’s BISD is projected to sell between 150,000 and 160,000 units in its first week. A sharp drop from his last effort “Curtis,” which pushed 695,000 copies in its opening week. Seems like the internet leak of BISD a few weeks before the official release date might not have been so insignificant after all… Although 150,000 is a solid number given the current industry climate, the comparison with other hip hop heavyweights’ album dropping in 2009 makes us wonder whether 50 Cent’s reign may have come to an end.
Indeed, Eminem’s “Relapse” sold over 600,000 copies in its first week while Jay-Z’s “Blueprint III” moved over 475,000 units. What’s worse, BISD’s first week sales, if confirmed, would be in the same range as Fifty’s favorite enemy Rick Ross… The G-Unit capo would face the harsh backlash from his numerous mockeries and boasting over “Officer Ricky” and the relatively low sales of “Deeper Than Rap.”
So what’s wrong with 50 Cent? First, the promotion. BISD got pushed back so many times over the past year that it became difficult to build up the buzz properly. Some hot tracks like “I Get It In” did not make it to the album despite getting heavy radio rotations, while the crucial pre-release period was centered on only one club friendly single, “Baby By Me.”
Another reason could be 50 Cent’s highly developed business sense itself. The rapper ventured into so many different business areas, from books to fragrances, that the public may have grown tired of this heavy marketing machine and constant promotion revolving around Fifty’s persona. Even his attempts to squash beef and reunite New York rappers on one stage for the recent “This Is 50 Fest” look like another publicity stunt. The gangsta character Fifty brought out with “Get Rich Or Die Tryin” seems so far from the calculating businessman he actually is… And at the end of the day, although some of these ventures turned out profitable, the overall 50 Cent / G-unit brands ended up diluted.
Last but not least, the music might be the main reason why BISD will probably never reach platinum status. Despite many claims from the rapper’s camp that this album was better than everything else he released and that he was back with classic material, it is simply not the case. Granted, Fifty tried to pull a Jay-Z and go back to basics, without resorting to the help of the infamous autotune. But the production team on the album is definitely not on point. A few joints actually do recapture his original vibe from the early 2000’s, but most of the album is just average and lacks creativity, lyrically and musically as well.
No doubt Interscope will spare a public humiliation to 50 Cent and buy enough copies of the album to outsell rival Rick Ross. But it’s actually sad to see one of the greatest alive falling from his throne. On a positive note: only after falling can one bounce back… With his warrior state of mind, Fifty will for sure be stimulated and hopefully come back hungrier than ever, this time in role of the contender.