Hello hip hop heads and rock ‘n’ roll freaks! G4tv’s Frank Meyer here with my monthly "Frankly Speaking"rundown of music picks to steer you in the direction of the best stuff out there. This time though, I thought I’d try something different and compare two recently released albums side by side, 50 Cent’s The Massacre and his protégé The Game’s The Documentary. 50’s is released this week, while Game’s has been ridin’ the top of the charts for a month or so now. The interesting part is that while both dudes were discovered and mentored by Dr. Dre and Eminem, they are now in the middle of a spat that found one member of Game's crew in the hospital last night with a bullet hole in his leg. Ouch! So by the time you read this, both artists might have shot each other in a hip hop showdown and you might be prepping yourself for the slew of the posthumous release that is sure to follow. Anyways, enough about the beef, let’s get to the meat:
Beats: Both albums feature an array of top producers, lead by Dr. Dre, Eminem and Scott Storch, and range from murderous hardcore beats to luvy-duvy pop fluff. While 50’s beats are quite consistent with his established sound and should please fans, Game’s beats are more diverse. Bottom line, there’s no beat on The Massacre anywhere near as bangin’ as Game’s “Westside Story” (Dre) or “Dreams” (Kayne West).
Winner: The Game
Lyrics: What 50 Cent lacks in the lyrical and skills department, he more than makes up for style. There’s just no denying this cat oozes personality and sex appeal. Thank God, because his lyrics on pop tunes like "Candy Shop" are as pedestrian as it gets. I can’t quite figure out why he rides Ja Rule so hard about singing on his hooks and going pop, when he does the same thing on nearly every track. But it works, so why tinker with a good thing, right? While Game’s lyrics and skills are way beyond 50's, he gets caught up in his own hype and spends much of his album just reminding you how dope he is, that he was signed by Dr. Dre, shouting out Eazy-E, and that he used to sling crack in Compton. This might be okay if he hadn’t spent the last year eating up mixtapes with the same sentiments and even the same exact lyrics. Usually, an artist doesn’t start repeating themselves on their debut album (!!!), so that’s not a good sign about his longetivity as a rapper. But he does have rhyme skills, and they are much better than 50's.
Winner: The Game
Flow: Hey, 50 may not have the greatest lyrics, but his flow, delivery and ‘tude are unbeatable. So unbeatable, in fact, that even Game’s superior skills can’t touch 50's charm. It’s fine to say how great you are once it’s established you are indeed great, but to be soooo cocky on your debut demonstrates Game's insecurity and self-promotion, not his skills. Game does have much presence on the mic, but his style is too reminiscent of a million other rappers and his gruff delivery could be mistaken for Jadakiss on a bad day or, worse yet, Everlast on a good day. No one sounds like 50.
Winner: 50 Cent
Songs: Despite all the hype, there really are only a handful of great songs on Documentary. The NWA throwback “Westside Story” and the hypnotic “Dreams” are incredible, and “Higher” and “How We Do” are so catchy you hate to love them. Quite frankly, the rest is average at best. Great production, but cheesy vocal hooks, bravado lyrics without any depth, and a surprising lack of rugged, hard-edged beats. 50 fares better by sticking to what he knows the fans want, gang warfare mixed with thug-pop, and that’s what he gives them. Personally, I would prefer more killin’ and less lovin’ the ladies, but that’s just me (I'm a heavily armed Capricorn). A song like “Candy Shop” is just as commercial as anything by foe Ja Rule, yet somehow 50 manages to seem slightly less lame for it…slightly. He fares much better on hardcore battle cuts like “Piggy Bank,” where he lets his aggressions out and sounds plugged in and energized.
Winner: 50 Cent
Buzz: Boy, this is a tough call. Two weeks ago, everyone was talking about Game like no other rapper existed. But then the 50 promo machine went into overdrive, a leak of “Piggy Bank” found him dissing top rappers , and he began storming the mixtapes. In fact, just yesterday 50 kicked Game out of his G-Unit crew amidst a hail of gunfire. Having 50 call out a rapper can hurt or help your career, but having him turn on you so early in your career could be a major problem. The only reason game has heat is ‘cause 50, Dre and Em gave it to him, and they may be about to take it away. So right now, right this second, 50 has the heat, but that could change by next week.
Winner: 50 Cent
Beef Factor: Like 50, Game came out of the gate dissin’ everyone in site, which works if you can back it up and have backing. But no one beefs like 50. This cat beefs so much he’s already on the outs with Game and rumored to be feuding with Em! Now, with 50 bailing on him, who knows how long Game will keep mouthing off, ‘cause now he ain’t got no backup (not of 50’s caliber anyway). Meanwhile, 50 just keeps firing shots at other MCs..but he may have bit off more than he chew this time. Anyone can go after a weak MC like Ja, but to diss Nas, Fat Joe and Jadakiss? Now he’s just lost his mind. These MCs run laps around him in terms of skils, lyrics, flow and street cred. With these MCs promising scathing rebuttals, 50 might be about to feel a major backlash. F***kin’ with Jada and Nas? Dude, that’s just crazy talk.
Winner: 50 Cent
So by this comparison, 50 Cent’s The Massacre comes out the winner...but barely. The reality is that both albums are very hit and miss, marred by weak beats, pop fluff and too little to say, and neither MC lives up to their full potential. For all of his buzz, Game drops the ball on his debut, yet the longer 50 sticks around the more apparent his lack of skills become. Quite frankly, if Game is the best the west has to offer, and 50 is the king of New York, then I’m moving to Detroit or friggin’ Houston. Out there in the Middle America and down South, these rappers are hungry and just waiting for these platinum cats to get lazy. Guess what boys, the time is now!