Curtis is the third album from hip hop heavyweight 50 Curtis Jackson Cent. Well crafted beats combined with 50s trademark tales of street life and celebrity makes this an interesting and accomplished album. Guest stars include Akon, Eminem, Timbaland, Mary J Blige and Justin Timberlake who features on the single Ayo Technology.
If you believe everything you hear, Curtis
is 50 Cent's bid to be hip-hop king--the rumor goes that he issued it the same day Kanye West released his Graduation
CD to spawn a sales race and thus, a) establish superiority, or b) retire with his head hung low. But here's what might not have occurred to 50: Given enough talent and a fully loaded speed-dial--the kind that can raise Timbaland, Akon, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, and Eminem faster than the sickest rapper can stitch together a verse--it's possible for two diabolically good discs to drop the same day. Forgetting the Kanye competition for a moment, Curtis
might come up short in a race with its creator's other albums--the rawness and reach of Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
isn't here. But certain cultural moments (who would refute that the release Get Rich
was one?) can't be replicated, and what Curtis
lacks in credible grit, it more than makes up for in finesse. Never let it be said that you can't be fierce and flow at the same time: "I Get Money" glides back to the old school in sound--there's a house party happening behind this track--but sends out a modern message, "I'll Still Kill," with Akon, underscores 50's continued thug-hood with a lethal hook, and "Follow My Lead," with the smoothie Robin Thicke, is a finger-popper worth 100 plays for its sly mood alone. May the best rapper, if there is one, keep rapping. --Tammy La Gorce