Songs in the Key of G

“They want the hard music from me. They want what I fell in love with from KRS-One and Criminal Minded… And, I understand it because what they would say is wrong with a 50 Cent record is what they enjoy from Drake. ‘I want this s— forever, babe.’ When he’s singing on his choruses nobody has an issue because he doesn’t come from a tough background.”

-50 Cent, Kendra G Radio Show via Rerrlstar

50 Cent touches on the importance of rap identity in the bedazzling interview with a lost-sounding Kendra G above. The institution of rap identity entails the need to assign or associate a persona or character to an artist. This identity then determines the kind of music said artist is allowed to perform. Rappers who have chosen “gangsta” identities can’t sing on their records. The Kanye Wests of the world can’t pen and perform hardened, violent street tales. Upholding this ridiculous standard was the platform that propelled 50 Cent into stardom as he shoved Ja Rule’s head into the toilet, Leon Isaac Kennedy style. Yet, a more mature, satisfied 50 Cent condemns the institution today.

[Blogger’s Note: 50 Cent didn’t end Ja Rule’s career. Ja Rule’s fans' abrupt abandonment ended it.]

“[Ja Rule] was actually trying to hit notes. Like, going away from just using the monotone singing bass in your speaking voice.”

-50 Cent, Kendra G Radio Show via Rerrlstar

50 Cent issues a formal excuse for why his girly gangsta sing-alongs are more acceptable than Ja Rule’s. Apparently Rule tried a little too hard to be a real singer, which, as you remember, wasn’t gangsta enough. In 50’s mind, Ja Rule’s attempts to hit notes made his music fraudulent and unworthy for public consumption. 50 believes that he never left the confines of what he calls “monotone singing”. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I am assuming he’s implying that he stays within a certain gangsta-safe octave. In which case, 50 Cent has explored high notes far more than Ja Rule ever did. Rule’s voice could never escape the threshold of a growl. 50, however, has songs like “Best Friend” and “21 Questions” that strike farther right on the keyboard than anything Rule’s ever attempted.

Why should artists perceived to be tame, such as Drake, be the only rappers allowed to explore melody this way? When did melody become the universal indication of weakness? Surely not in the early and mid nineties when Bone Thugs –N- Harmony broke sales records as, well… thugs in harmony. Flesh –N- Bone just came home from an 11-year stretch over some of the “real nigga shit” that has become more valuable to rap careers than music has. I don’t think anyone in popular music alarms me more than Bizzy Bone. These men’s respective gangsters are not questioned, but their music is melodic in every sense of the word.

Aspiring rapsters, take note. Melody is important to music. Contrary to popular belief, there’s melody in rap as well, even when people aren’t singing, per se. We can all use our voices as instruments. When people like the sound of said instrument, you’ve got something. Why should anything more matter?

Being “hard”, “real” or, my personal favorite, being from an environment associated with either quality are not important to artistry. But, even if they were, why would the use of melody in song negate these principles?

Questions? Comments? Requests? And, I know you’re gettin’ boooooored… ron@ronmexicocity.com

P.S.: There’s a greater discussion to be had in 50′s comparison of his own “hard” music with that of KRS-One’s.

P.P.S.: Did 50 also imply that people shouldn’t make music their listeners can’t recreate? Listen to 50′s Musiq Soulchild analogy.

  • Detroit P

    And thats all there was to say about that. Cosign.

    • Mutada/Mullah Atari

      Mex… You are 200% right on this one. Rule was trying to hit notes? What was 50 doing on the hook for the “Officer Rickyyyyyy” diss. SMH

  • JihaD

    You are a dumb ass nigga… I want you to listen to 21 Questions (that NATE DOGG was singing on, not 50) or Best Friend and compare them to “What would I be without You” or “Rainy Days” or any one of Jeffereys hits and please tell me how they are alike… Go ahead, I can wait… At worst, you can accuse 50 of ABUSING that melody shit, but that full on singing shit Jeff was doing on the aforementioned tracks or shit like “Mesmerize”? Nigga Please (pun intended)

    Also, I like how you didn’t even put this interview into context; He specifically said two things influence that melodic shit he’s been doing is Power of The Dollar: Getting the Marketing money from the label and his international fanbase, who may not know the words to the song but understand the hook.

    Ron, for real, it’s like you not even trying too hard anymore to be hater– are these XXL niggas not paying you enough anymore? You sound real tired and lazy with this BS hate…

    JihaD

  • Enlightened

    Yeah Ron, I was shocked at that interview.

    That’s the first time I ever saw 50 in an interview completely unaware of what he should be saying.

    I’ve never seen him give that fucked up of an answer to anything. He had to have a lot of time to think about it since people have been saying it for years.

    Shit, even KRS-One was using melodies on “The Bridge is Over.”

    To me, the difference was just always what you’re singing about. Juvenile on 400 Degrees singin’ “Until then/ I’ma be thuggin behind a project buildin…with the ghetto children” was classic. Ja Rule singin “hooooo all those Rainy Days… smile for me, smile for me” was something else…to my ears anyway.

    But a real nigga gon’ be comfortable in his own skin. That shit is childish. I thought he would say something along those lines in his usual hood-articulate way (using the word “space” all the time)

    But that interview was one of a man with a guilty conscience who couldn’t think of anyway to justify that shit.

    Damn Fif, I had you in my Top 5 of all time for interview entertainment.

  • sealsaa

    “Blogger’s Note: 50 Cent didn’t end Ja Rule’s career. Ja Rule’s fans’ abrupt abandonment ended it.]”

    Mex, you’re doing the lawd’s work! Nah, but really, I’ve been making this same argument since GRODT dropped, and 50 develped this inane rep. as a “career killer”. Now he’s laying claim to landing the death blow that was Fat Joe’s recent abortion of an album. Um, we don’t believe you, you need more people.

    And his songs in A minor approach to rap is nothing new. 21 Questions was equally as corny as anything Ja put out.

    I find it hilarious though, that he’s trying to label Jay-Z as soft because of his current pulbic image, while he’s singing about getting some chick knocked up so that she can take half his shit, as if it didn’t almost happen to him in real life. Stop it Curtis.

  • latino heat

    most rappers have harmonized hooks in there career, would you say DMX was singing, What These Bitches Want? no, he was just harmonizing. big difference between that and actually trying to match notes with Mary J., Ashanti and Jennifer Lopez.

    as for Bone there style was just original and dope at the time. Nelly stole there formula and just watered it down and made it easy for girls to sing along with.

    and no i’m not a 50 stan and i haven’t listened to Bone since E.1999.

  • http://wordlife.tumblr.com WordsManifest

    “I don’t think anyone in popular music alarms me more than Bizzy Bone.”

    that should be a blurb on the hardcover edition of The Book of Bone. i mean it.

  • brand-new

    50 came right out the gate using harmonizing type hooks. the very first track on 50 cent is the future, remember, “you should be that bitch that buys me shit all da time, you should be on your knees tryin to break me off”.

  • http://dasteamwerkmusik.blogspot.com bollocks

    “50 Cent has explored high notes far more than Ja Rule ever did. Rule’s voice could never escape the threshold of a growl. 50, however, has songs like “Best Friend” and “21 Questions” that strike farther left on the keyboard than anything Rule’s ever attempted.”

    Yo Ron, good drop, 50′s a bitch, but one quick correction: further LEFT on a keyboard would be a lower, deeper tone, while higher notes would be found further RIGHT on keyboard.

    Just had to holler.

    Oh, you also missed a good “21 Questions?” pun in your Questions? Comments? Requests? tag.

    PS – KRS = the king of sampled hooks. Do melodies that come from samples not count as melodies? Or is it still “real nigga shit” because it’s a woman singing? There is an entire book to be written about the contradictions in the KRS comparison.

    • Chilly Willy

      Thank you !

      I was about to comment on the left to the right.

      “I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I am assuming he’s implying that he stays within a certain gangsta-safe octave.”
      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      No comment ! Everything is there!

      BTW, You’re nooooooobodyyyyyy, til sooomebodyyyyyyyy kiiiiills youuuuuu…Tell me that nigga was soft. C’mon Fif!

      • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

        duly noted, guys. i fucked that one up. niggas be knowin better. appreciated.

  • allhiphop>xxlmag

    the only time i heard 50 actually try to sing was on Rider Pt 2 and that was with autotune and the song was gangsta as hell.
    ja was actually trying to sing like rnb singers and 50 just harmonizes.
    not that hard to see the difference.

    • chitchat

      Pretty much. And I didnt hear the interview but judgin by the quote, 50 never denied that he sings.

      He implied that he believes his fanbase wouldn’t WANT to hear him sing because they equate his tough background with a man that doesnt sing. Its silly on the part of a fan to think that, but not crazy for 50 to assume some may think that. Especially after he saw how the fans did Ja Rule.

  • Shawty J

    I have no problem with rappers that sing every once in a while, regardless of which sub-genre off hip-hop that they’re doing. 50 Cent has actually tried to hit notes in some of songs and that hasn’t bothered me any. 50 need to be honest and stop trying to talk himself around the questions being asked.

  • L.a Vet

    Why is 50 cent a topic on this site every week…

    BISD >>>>>>>

  • giantstepp

    Brillant Ron Mexico! I’ve been trying to articulate thses points for years considering the 50 Ja Rule “beef”. The nigga 50 totally stole his style while pushing him out the game. Good thing I was a grown ass man past 30 when this BS went down and could see past the BS. 50 was the hottest nigga out in hip hop,the buzz was incredible preceding GRODT, he told ya”ll nigga’s Ja was pussy, and you all bought it hook line and sinker. Now, Im no Ja fan…dont have one CD, but the nigga Ja had certified hit after hit after hit, singing or not that had the clubs and radio pumping. Ja had his own lane and worked that shit.Personally, I believe that he was probably at the end of the height of his success. 50 gets too much credit for “ending” Ja’s career.

  • http://-- gaddic

    WHAT FUCKING BULLSHIT IS THIS?
    Everyone knows all music contains melody
    (there are other people on the earth with common sense)
    But please note rap is one if not the only genre that uses the lyrical and identical presentation of poetry and literature
    Point being rap is about structured lyrics not zany-ass melodic hooks bridges and verse replaced with nothing but mindless bullshit that rhymes to the melody-their is no
    songwriting skill present in Ja Rule’s shit

    All r&b singers sing about is love and fucking
    Hiphop is about expressing the aggression and personality of the minority and oppressed

    It expresses all the thoughts of an oppressed and tortured
    50 CENT applies the above only to make hits to sell records the rest of his album he hits it with the real shit(75%-85%)
    Ja vastly overdos it
    Name one JaRule album better than GRODT
    If you can’t
    SHUT THE FUCK UP
    If you can
    Swallow what’s left of JaRule’s cum in your mouth!

    • Chilly Willy

      “All r&b singers sing about is love and fucking
      Hiphop is about expressing the aggression and personality of the minority and oppressed ”
      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      *Cue 21 Questions,…erm I mean Candy Shop*

      OH, SHIT !!!

      Sorry that was not a good example…my bad…

      • Curtis75Black

        “All r&b singers sing about is love and fucking Hiphop is about expressing the aggression and personality of the minority and oppressed”
        _________________

        The only emcee that still reps that way is Chuck D !!

    • beaver

      yea your exactly right..this blogg was dumb also.

  • chris

    *Right of the keyboard

    How could somebody make records for 7 years and not know the difference between being monotone and not being monotone? Didn’t Guru break that shit down 17 years ago on “Mass Appeal”?

    • Ya Boy

      Off topic I was listening 2 Mass Appeal when I read this comment and co sign. “In My Monotone style”

  • Brooklyn

    i agree with 50 not ending ja’s career, it was a combination of murder inc. coming under investigation by the feds and ja not making anything hot after the beef. but i said that about 50 when “21 questions” came out, how the fuck he gonna criticize ja when he’s doing the same thing? but that street niggas not supposed to sing shit is bull, what about back in the 50′s and 60′s when them gang niggas was doing that doo-wop shit on the corners? and ja had a lot more bitches singing the hooks on his songs than he did, christina milian, lil mo, ashanti, vita, et. al. and nothing 50 has ever done as even come close to looking at anything krs had done, let alone touching it. i’m sick of this nigga, he need to go away now.

  • these posts are racist

    The Power of Simple Rhetoric
    In law, one has to justify everything they say. Every argument or position taken must have a clear and sound basis. When speaking to the masses however, simply speaking simple phrases captures people’s emotions and causes them to believe what they are hearing.

    50 cent is the rap version of the republican spin machine. “Let’s not worry about the war! Gay people are getting married people!!!”

    • http://dasteamwerkmusik.blogspot.com bollocks

      HAHAHAHAHA!!! LOLz @ TPAR! Good shit on the rhetoric drop as well as 50 = republican spin machine!

      the words “clear and sound basis” do not apply to anything 50 has ever said or done.

  • DV8

    “[Blogger’s Note: 50 Cent didn’t end Ja Rule’s career. Ja Rule’s fans' abrupt abandonment ended it.]”

    ^^^^^^Oh so very true that plus the federal investigation.

    “50, however, has songs like “Best Friend” and “21 Questions” that strike farther right on the keyboard than anything Rule’s ever attempted”

    ^^^^^^^ and dont forget that atrocity “Groupie Love” off the 1st G-Unit album (that nigga was singing). 50 stole that nigga Ja style. But as the saying goes what goes around comes around because Ja bit both 2Pac and DMX.

  • DV8

    and another thing. Im sure Kelly Rowlands appearance in 50′s video is no coincidence. Im sure it was a chess move by 50.

  • http://gooddoctorzeus.blogspot.com DocZeus

    Ol’ Dirty Bastard used to hit the high notes on his records all the damn time and I’ll be damned if somebody tries to tell me he was soft.

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

    I don’t think 50 ended Ja’s career as much as Ja got distracted & discouraged from making music by 50′s barrage. He went from the hottest dude on the block, to 50′s punching bag, & we hadn’t had that much emotion in Hip Hop in awhile @ that point. 50 put himself in the position to be the bad guy that everybody loved, & ran with it. Ja Rule was just happened to be successful & popular @ the wrong place & wrong time.

    “But that interview was one of a man with a guilty conscience who couldn’t think of anyway to justify that shit”

    ^^^^Word. Fif knows he muscled Ja Rule out of his lane, took his shit & revamped it. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Ja had stayed doing what he was doing, but he just quietly went away. Again, distracted & discouraged.

    To this day though, right, wrong or indifferent, Curtis is a chess playing motherfucker.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    “Curtis is a chess playing motherfucker.”

    *salutes Grands, celebrates #27, logs off of Firefox*

  • Teddy

    50 is the most full of shit rapper of all time hands down next to mase, even when i try to give him a chance and listen to his music all that pops into my head is him in some interview talking about aggresive content and what the people want.

  • Vhingrhamesonyo’momma

    I never understood the whole 50/Ja beef there the same package no matter how you deliver it. They both sing and got muscles and can’t rap for shit or use to could rap before they went mainstream.

  • kingequality

    hell yeah ja and 50 should of just got together and been the new nice and smooth this nigga been singing his ass off and trying to justify it what about many men if you took a couple of lines out of the hook it could of been a dam gospel song hiphop is such a big ass soap opera now we dont even have real talk anymore just gossiping

    • Enlightened

      The new Nice and Smooth! LOL. Hell naw. Real talk I was just singing (oops, rappin) “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow” in my head the other day.

      I need to download that.

  • http://www.schoolyardent.com/blog iquell

    Thanks for breaking that down without too much comedy so that folks can see the BS that 50 speaks, eventhough he is greatly entertaining during interviews (music not so much). He ALWAYS justifies himself with the use of a few big words, which impresses the interviewer and the audience. But that doesn’t me he’s right. That being said 50 interviews are still goods.

  • Pingback: 11.05 – Around the Way « A Day & A Dream

  • AD

    I’m pretty sure that Ja Rule’s singing was not the basis of the beef. 50 seemed to try to use it to downplay Ja’s supposed gangster.

  • UNITURNZ2000

    Was dre’s and snoop’s songs any less “gangsta” cuz they had nate dogg singing on it? Remember the song “regulators”? That was a gangsta track!

  • Smel

    “I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I am assuming he’s implying that he stays within a certain gangsta-safe octave.”

    BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • keke

    I cannot believe that I am about to comment about this but I am really annoyed with 50′s response and this interview.

    His initial response was wack. Then she cut him some slack and asked a lame follow-up question “How did you get those smarts?!”…(probably cause she noticed he was uncomfortable but it was still lame)

    Then he went back to that initial question and followed up with more silliness.

    he tried but that was an epic fail!

  • http://www.32weekspregnantultrasound.com/32-weeks-pregnant-pain/ contractions 32 weeks pregnant

    Great!This article is creative£¬there are a lot of new idea£¬it gives me inspiration.I think I will also inspired by you and think about more new ideas

  • eartheart

    thats it…for all the thousands of songs in the key of G?!!