The Big Ten – 50 Cent
50 Cent represents an era in hip hop that is seemingly long gone. But 10 years into the game – on the dot – 50 is back with a new tape meant to remind listeners he can still spit with the best of them. The Big Ten is a return of the mixtape era 50 Cent that lashed out against the industry until he became the face of that same industry. At the end of the tape’s opening track (“Body on It”) 50 shouts, “Tell me when I fell off,” after listing several hits he’s had since hip hop wrote him off. The rhetorically posed question is one deserving of response: 50 didn’t necessarily fall off, but he definitely lost something. Perhaps he got complacent – who can blame him – after earning hundreds of millions of dollars. Or maybe he got bored of the direction hip hop has been steered in since his infamous Rolling Stone cover face off with Kanye West. Whatever the case is, it’s apparent that 50 is no longer aiming to appease radio as The Big Ten showcases some of his best work in years. The rhymes are reminiscent of a hungry Power of the Dollar-era 50 while the beats are as hard-hitting as the G-Unit Radio days. If nothing more, this ‘tape serves as a warning to other rappers. This is the same guy who has ended multiple careers, written countless number one records and become the biggest hip hop mogul not named Shawn (or Sean). Ladies and gentlemen, 50 Cent is back – whether the game is ready or not.