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50 Cent, The Lost Tape

A decade ago, 50 Cent made his name in rap thanks to his assault on the mixtape game. In the time since, his career has had a unique trajectory—he’s gone from biggest star in the industry to an artist with impressive outside business ventures to an individual whose name still holds plenty of weight, but less so for his music, as he tries to find new footing. It’s this third stage that he currently finds himself in. Fif remains capable of making hot music—he proved this with the December 2011 mixtape The Big 10—but his mainstream relevancy now rests on atypical yet successful collaborations like “Down On Me” with Jeremih and “Up!” alongside Bay Area newcomer LoveRance.

That’s where The Lost Tape comes in. Linking with DJ Drama for a certified Gangsta Grillz, 50 is looking to earn his respect back in the same way he first took it as he readies his fifth studio album for this summer. There are times when he’s able to do this, but it’s not consistent throughout. The major knock on Fif is still present here—that the content of his music hasn’t evolved at anywhere near the pace of the realities of his circumstances—with the result, when negative, falling somewhere on the spectrum between stale and no longer believable. The times he’s at his best are on cuts like “Complicated,” an updated version of his vintage tough talk. “You got a nice gimmick, though, and you’ve been hot a few summers/But I got the kinda flow that can stop world hunger/SK, I got nothin’ but energy/Call me 50, call me Ferrari, the remedy/Hi, again, in case a hater don’t remember me/I happen to be what these rap niggas here pretend to be,” he rhymes with an easy flow over the smooth production.

It’s that style of production that marks the release, with plenty of rather slow-tempoed, occasionally jazzy or soulful beats for 50 to take a stab at. On the whole, it suffices, but it doesn’t set the ideal backdrop to foster the aggressive energy that can be the Queens native’s forte. The most riotous beat is, well, “Riot,” where 50 splices his own verses into 2 Chainz’s single. The outcome is the most exciting moment on the tape, which also makes it a little disappointing in that 50 is unable to duplicate the fire that he seemed to approach that track with, knowing it had already been done so well in its original form.

Other guests, for the most part, don’t particularly detract, but nor do they bolster the effort noticeably. The G-Unit general allows Kidd Kidd and Precious Paris to tag along for a few tracks, while Jeremih and Robbie Nova offer some R&B flavors. “Murder One” features Eminem, technically, but truly only includes a few words of encouragement from the vet to kick it off. Still, it’s one of the project’s highlights.

In teaming with DJ Drama for The Lost Tape, 50 Cent wasn’t quite able to reignite the fire of his early days, but he did serve up a tightly packed project that’s worth riding around to. It doesn’t wholly recall the elements that brought 50 Cent to the top, but done in a newly organic, 2012 way, as fans seemed to have hoped. But his song-crafting skills and lyrical approach are still there, which make his impending fifth album on Interscope one worth tracking. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)

  • Tdot

    I’ve been waiting for fit to come back with something great, but this wasn’t it. He needs to take a step back and record with banks,yayo,buck, em and dre. All the pressure to make Get rich or die trying 2 is having a negative effect on him.

    Fif go back and work with who made you hot!

    • THA TRUTH

      hey Guys, support real hiphop..support the RED ALBUM…

    • TruthBeTold

      fuck this review. actually fuck the retard who wrote this review. your really trying to say this is a step down from DAVID BANNER? REALLY? this is a classic fif right here, oj, murder one, swag level, complicated, etc. this mixtape was fire, i know i was a lil disappointed he bit off street energy an shit but he made them better. just fuckin wait till his album, i actually hate you xxl , you know nothing about hip hop im really starting to think its just a bunch of hipster white dudes and ill informed pakkis that be runnin this fuckin excuse for a HIPHOP magazine.

  • saequann

    This is a really biased review. First off that’s opinion that riot is the biggest highlight of the mixtape. I think there are way better tracks then that on the tape like “lay down” or “can’t Help myself” and “when I pop the trunk or “oj” and its a way better mixtape then the dj compilations that have came out like the meek mill tape and the jadakiss tape where they flooded there mixtapes with features witch I hate. This the best mixtape that has came out this year so far and its a real mixtape not a dj compilation with a bunch of features. 50 is still one of the only artist who knows how to pit a mixtape togeather unlike all these other artist who are flooding there tapes with features so they can get a bunch of download numbers to brag about. The mixtape circuit was the only place u could get music that wasn’t watered down Cu’s of how commercial hiphop has become and now artist are watering down the mixtape circuit to get downloaded and 50 is one of the only artist who isn’t following that bad trend. I disagree with this review this mixtape should have got no less then a Xl rating and its better then dream chasers 2 and all that other crape out there

    • Joe

      ^ i stamp the above statement! lol

    • Haters

      I don’t understand why everyone feels the need to be like “Why didn’t you give this a better rating? I think this should be better.”. Cause seriously, they rate it how they want to rate it, if you don’t like what they gave a release, then just say your opinion but don’t say their wrong cause everyone has their own likes and dislikes. Go review it yourself if you give two shits but reading it gives me a good idea of what to expect.

      • mike

        exactly. its a review so obviously its an opinion and people are mad that they don’t share the same opinion. and if its biased at all its toward 50 since hes been on the cover like 8 times. most recently, once with soulja boy and the other with money mayweather

    • $yk

      I agree with sae…I like the same songs he picked, not the one’s in the review that are driven by the “who’s hot” status quo…

      but it is an L…IMO Big 10 is a better effort…

  • Grant

    50 cent is the best, this should defo have at least got an XL rating, cant wait for album july 2nd!!!

  • saequann

    People need to stop saying that he needs to work with em and dre stuff its a mixtape.50 has never worked with them on a mixtape and don’t make it sound like he hasn’t been working with them em and dre were both on his last album he got 2 beats from dre and did a song with em “pscyo” if u were real fans then u got his last album before I self destruct” and new that. And stop asking for buck to come back he is disloyal and caused g-unit records 10 million in damages!!!!! He is a bad buisness investment I liked himwith them but he isn’t worth internal bleeding him and game caused the laborious and banks and Yahoo are branching out as artist to take there careers to the next legal and stop acting like he don’t work with them nomore Yayo was on 2 tracks on 50 last mixtape and 50 was on banks last album. The mixtape is hot bust like the last one and the last album and all the freestyles he has put out before this and the big ten mixtape and the new album will be fire too hatred die slow

  • BillzClinton

    The Lost tape, should have never been found. This sucks bad.

    Not a hater, been a 50 fan for ever, but this is terrible.

  • Henny

    this mixtape deserves an XL at least…you cant knock fif for not changing his content he is an entertainer & they way he sees it is that he actually lived that life so he has a right to rap about it unlike these other rappers in the game who just say shit to sound good but arent actually about that life they rap about. Fif is genius because he’s managed to say the same shit a million different ways & its still undeniably hot! Plus his fans are always sayin we want the “old 50″ his fans dont want him to grow lol he gave them what they wanted to the best of his abilities & with great quality. I’m really impressed with this mixtape i just wish everyone appreciated fif as much as i did because its so easy to hate on him.

  • GreatSpawn

    What’s great about this tape is the simplicity.

    Where other artist go and purchases expensive beats, and have featured guests to make the mixtape hot, fif choose 2 go his own way.

    The features he has is from artist we know little about.

    I wouldnt call Riot the hottest song.

    I would rank the songs this way: Lay down, Murder one, Complicated, Double Up, Riot, All his love

    These are the songs that make the mixtape, all of them i would give a XL and the rest of the mixtape would get an L.

    Id still give the mixtape a XL because i think fif made a great tape out of nothing.

    He already made big 10 and that tape was full of juicy beats and not so much street element as this.

    I can see why he did the project, he’s preparing his comeback.

    But if the album is gonna sell, fif needs to generate interest, and for the broad public i dont think songs sounding like they did on this tape is a good path to choose.

    Big 10 could have been his album, that’s how strong that tape was.
    This is just a buzz creator, and honestly, better than Meek’s dreamchaser and Jadakiss consignment.

  • zii

    its great !!! XXXXL

  • BBJBoy

    DONT FORGET THIS IS ONLY THE OPTION OF Adam Fleischer AND THIS GUY BOUGHT THE LIL SEAN ALBUM WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU

  • Shaun

    WHATTT DID THEY LISTEN TO THE MIXTAPE?

  • John Cochran

    He should’ve done a couple joints like riot, he murdered that. It was ok, but he could’ve went way harder

  • nquestion

    If this tape was lost it should have stayed that way quit biting off of NAS and get ur own fucking ideas Curtis !!!!

  • Daholy1

    I AM The BEst Rapper That Knowone knows..Atleast yet…. youtube.commeazyholla1

  • cheek

    Y’all are fucked up in the head if you think Banner’s mixtape is better than this. 50 spits hard and theres 5 or 6 bangers. Just cut your losses and go away XXL.

  • ra

    been a 50 fan but i have officially gave up on him….this mixtape is weak. kidd kidd sucks too…Atl runs the game and this nigga aint got one Atl produced track. Ny dead!

  • sean

    they sleep on fifty cent hard just because they dont want to see the same commercial succes from the past but the truth of the matter is that fifty is one of the top emcees in the music industry and that wont change because he loves to make music for the art .The crazy thing is who honestly can go in the volt pull out some of the hardest records that were just collecting dust put together a mixtape and crush the competition without ever lifting a finger.In my opinion Xxl writers choose to be bias out of convencience instead of honest every chance they get and truthfully seem to be out of touch from the reality of what great hiphop is