That it took more than six months to get another six songs from G-Unit is another testament to the fact that times have changed; a decade ago, the same time frame would have produced six mixtapes and maybe an album or two. But times—and the music industry—have changed and while 50 Cent, Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and now Kidd Kidd may no longer be truly leading a movement, the Unit is still making music that sets itself apart from everyone else.

"Ballin'" opens the EP with an Auto-Tuned hook from Fif before Yayo swaggers in with an unassailable confidence and Buck comes firing shots from all cylinders, a theme he repeats throughout the project. The single "Bring My Bottles" opens with Yayo talking shit, which generally represents the mark of a quality G-Unit cut; the song is probably the most club-friendly track on The Beast Is G-Unit with Buck handling the lion's share of the rhyming. But "Doper Than My Last One" is probably the EP's stand out cut, if only because it's hard to imagine any other rappers being able to deliver on a beat as well as the Unit does on in-house engineer Ky Miller's production. Banks in particular shines here; he and Yayo take probably the biggest steps forward on this project compared to August's comeback EP The Beauty Of Independence. In contrast, 50 makes himself scarce for the most part, relegating himself to hook duty or taking himself completely out of songs altogether.

But if you're craving some new G-Unit, the EP will satisfy that urge. There's plenty of 50 Cent menace, Young Buck grit, Tony Yayo wildness and Lloyd Banks lyricism in these bars, while Kidd Kidd acquits himself well throughout. The production doesn't follow the cut-and-paste, ratchet bounce sound that coats the hip-hop landscape around them, making the project stand out sonically from the pack. But the biggest difference from the first EP is the subject matter; there's more bravado, more of the brash confidence that gave the Unit their strut when they first broke onto the scene rather than the thirst for redemption and lamentation of change that scored The Beauty Of Independence.

Whether that's a positive step or not, or whether it speaks to a better balance of topics, remains to be seen. But if the two EPs can be taken as one full-length of 13 cuts, then the Unit is showing a breadth that could mean they're serious about causing damage in the rap world again. Here's hoping we get more material sooner rather than later. —Dan Rys

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