Like any unrepentant hustler in the pen, 50 plays up the self-pity, but he doesn't hinge his persona on a confused thug-martyr image the way Tupac did. Instead, he concentrates on the seduction of pure flow, mastering an indolent tone that ebbs and surges in intensity, but always slips back into a smoothly controlled cruise zone. What's more, 50 takes far more pleasure in that zone's potency than Dre and company ever did on The Chronic, because he actually likes to see his boo smile. Though he'd never admit it, his most pertinent comparison is to that other honey-toned rap sensation, Nelly, but this show should take pop hedonism deeper and dirtier than St. Louis' favorite son would ever dare. Boyz, take your girls, before 50 takes them for you.
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