50 Cent : P.I.M.P

Mega-bling rapper lives up to cheapskate name on monolithic single...

Like you always knew, money changes everything. Just a little over a year ago, 50 Cent was simply another aspiring rapper with a mildly controversial backstory and a bad attitude towards the elders in the hip-hop game. Now, well, all change: he’s the world’s most notorious hip-hop artist, and joins his record company boss Eminem and producer Dr Dre as one of the genre’s hierarchy of power brokers.

You’d be wrong to think it could change absolutely everything, though. Still living a marginal existence (he was involved in a shooting incident earlier this year and travels with heavy protection). Still controversial (he’s recently been excommunicated by the leading US hip-hop magazine), his new single ‘P.I.M.P’ is equally anxious to stress that though you can take the man out of the streets, ultimately, you can’t take the streets out of the man.

And though part of a prevailing tide of pimp records and pimp style (floppy hats, chalices, and jewelled walking sticks) within US hip-hop, this can’t help but be a terrific record. Built around a beat that is, ironically rather reminiscent of a nursery rhyme, the lightly misogynistic lyrical content can’t hope to be quite so innocent. Instead, what we have here is a warts and all account of the player’s life – well, not quite warts and all, the ‘clean’ single edit proves that there’s no adequate substitute for the word ‘motherfucker’ – glossed over by 50’s characteristically offhand lyrical skills. “[I]No matter what you heard about me[/I]” runs the hook, “[I]you just can’t get a dollar out of me…[/I]” My round again, then.

Oh, and Snoop Dogg? Of course Snoop’s on it. He’s on everything. The other day he was on my bus into town.