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Putting the band back together

Is Fiddy Cent gonna be able to use the Internets to get his career back in order?

You’ll recall that last year he was pwned by Kanye West in their 9/11 first week sales battle. Kanye West sold upwards of a million copies of Graduation the first week out, while Fiddy sold way less copies of Curtis. And then sales of Curtis declined precipitously after that first week, to point where he struggled just to sell a million copies.

To this day, I’ve only heard Graduation once, and I thought it was fucking gay as shit. Even compared to those first couple of Kanye West albums. Yet and still, it managed to rank way up in the top 10 of this year’s Village Voice Pazz and Jop music critics poll. Meanwhile, Curtis was all the way down at number 438. (No, really.) Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ!

And you know how these critics polls are run by cracka-ass crackas who live to make some sort of ironic case for low-brow black music. (Case in point, UGK’s Underground Kingz, which squeaked in to the top 40 and number 39, just ahead of El-P’s I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead.) If Fiddy Cent can’t win them over… I mean, what else is he gonna do? Learn how to rap better? Pfft!

Suffice it to say the guy’s career is fucked the fucked up. (Not that he could ever possibly be hurting for money again – unlike, say, Joell Ortiz.) Supposedly, he was gonna release a new G-Unit group album a few months ago, but I guess he figured, why bother? If so few people ran out and copped Curtis, that shit could fuck around and do Lupe numbers.

Enter Fiddy Cent’s new website, Thisis50. For the past several weeks, I’ve been seeing viral videos promoting this new venture. I tried to check it out once, and it looked like it might even have some interesting content; but then you have to be registered with the site to view most of it, and it’s not like I could give a rat’s ass about Fiddy Cent.

I’m sure a lot of people do though, and I’m sure a lot of people will sign up with Thisis50 next week, when he releases his new Return of the Body Snatchers Vol. 1 mixtape through the site. Just like I got suckered into joining whatever that SRC Records website was to cop that Wu-Tang Returns mixtape – which, for what it’s worth, ended up way better than 8 Diagrams.

Fiddy obviously doesn’t stand to benefit much financially by giving away a new mixtape through his site. Supposedly, it’s gonna be free for a couple of weeks, and then it’s gonna be released commercially with a bonus DVD or some such. But I doubt very many people are gonna cop the pay version. At the very least though, this might be a step towards winning some of his fan base back.

I’m not gonna be listening to it myself, because – like I said – that’s not my cup of tea, but I would imagine that, since it’s a mixtape, it’s gonna be a lot more interesting than one of his studio albums. He can pull that old Clipse trick (which was probably a Fiddy trick in the first place) of taking a song that was already good and recording his own vocals over it, as if he’s adding much in the way of actual value.

Also, there might be some beef a-brewin’, which I’m sure will help generate interest. If you look at the cover of the new mixtape, there’s no Young Buck to be found. And the other day, there was that video of Young Buck taking to the stage with Lil’ Wayne. Which I took to mean that Young Buck might be defecting Fiddy Cent’s camp to go kiss Lil’ Wayne on the mouth.

So hopefully Fiddy goes at them. There’s obviously plenty of fodder for ad hominems.

Shit, if he does, I might even be forced to break down and sign up for Thisis50. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what effect this all has on his career in the long run. Fiddy Cent started out going at people on silly mixtapes, and he became one of the most successful rappers evar in seemingly no time at all. Will he be able to pull the same trick twice, with the help of the Internets? I guess we’ll see.

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