50 Cent made a monumental impact on the music scene ten years ago with his debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. For a lot of us, especially within my generation, he redefined and popularized the rap genre. Now, the legendary rapper returns with his latest album Animal Ambition, and although it’s pretty solid, it isn’t completely up to the Get Rich standards.

It wouldn’t be the first time a reputable artist couldn’t break away from the standards set by their initial work. The sophomore slump is prevalent in the music industry, but in the case of 50 Cent, it goes beyond his second album. Every consecutive album he’s released has been inferior to Get Rich. Unfortunately, Animal Ambition isn’t here to end that trend.

Much has changed within the genre since 50’s club hit “Candy Shop” was released. Artists like Kanye West, Drake, and Kid CuDi have appeared, making the genre more diverse and full of both emotional and controversial topics. But 50 Cent doesn’t seem to be catching on. Many of the rhymes in Animal Ambition are short of innovative, and most of the album consists of 50 Cent rapping about his money or his haters; it just isn’t interesting. So much has been done and explored in the genre since Get Rich, street themes (drugs, money, thuggery) are almost a thing of the past.

The album opens up with “Hold On,” which is very reminiscent of the Get Rich days. “I woke up this morning, this is insane/ Rich as a motherf–ker, and ain't much changed.” These first lines pretty much sum up this album, for better or for worse. There is an upside to the fact that the album is stuck in the past and doesn’t try anything new. If you yearn for a classic, early 2000’s 50 Cent experience, then Animal Ambition might be right up your alley.

Hopefully in the future 50 Cent will take a closer look at the genre as it stands today, and maybe even offer commentary about the hypocrisies, stereotypes, and issues within the genre through a veteran’s perspective. Until then, let’s hope Curtis Jackson was merely going back to the basics as a refresher for a newer, avant-garde project.

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