• 50 Cent, 'The Big 10' (Self-released)

    50 Cent, 'The Big 10' (Self-released)

    Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson was King of the World — once. It was a simpler time. George W. Bush was still president. Dr. Dre still produced records occasionally. And successful commercial rappers were bullet-scarred warriors, or at least had the good sense to pretend they were. Auto-Tune...skinny jeans...rapping about your feelings... these ignominious, confusing days were far off. Now, after two flopped studio albums — 2007's lifeless Curtis and 2010's surprisingly crackling Before I Self Destruct) — with no new project looming on the horizon, 50 seems less like the pitiless conqueror of Get Rich or Die Tryin' and more like your drunk, embittered uncle, leaning in to regale you with a beery-eyed treatise on exactly how and where everything went wrong. Which doesn't mean he still isn't entertaining.

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