Every year, the narrative of 50 Cent’s career shifts. The lead-up to Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire to Win coincided with a headlining spot at Hot 97′s storied Summer Jam — a stage he hadn’t graced in nearly a decade — and the reunion of his old crew, G-Unit, a group with whom he hadn’t performed in nearly as long. It was a great comeback story, but, unfortunately, none of it found its way to Animal Ambition.
Instead, it’s business-as-usual for Curtis Jackson. The topics remain in generic: stunting, robbery and thumbing his nose at those who he feels is beneath him. That kind of pomp can work, but the production on Ambition lacks any groove. It just thuds, and 50′s rhymes lack the sneer he used to muster so effortlessly.
The Queens rapper experiments with club bangers (“Don’t Worry ‘Bout It” and “Smoke”), but he sounds increasingly contemptuous of the lifestyle — unsurprising, considering 50′s health-conscious persona. He can still pen strong, gritty street tales (“Irregular Heartbeat” and “Hustler”), a heartening sign that a few of his gifts still remain.
For all that has happened in 50′s life since Get Rich or Die Tryin’, you would assume his music would encapsulate some of these moments. Animal Ambition never even tries.