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Fitty of Arabia: 50 Cent’s ‘Blood on the Sand’

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Shitting on 50 Cent is pretty easy but every once in a while, there’s something just too amazing not to talk about and for reasons unknown– initially, I thought this game was some sort of April Fools joke– I haven’t seen a lot of people talking/laughing about this: A sequel to his awful ‘50 Cent: Bulletproof’ game is coming out kinda soon and it’s G-Unit in the Middle-East fighting fucking A-rabs!

From the interview with game producer Aaron Blean:

“…50 and G-Unit are putting on a sold-out performance somewhere in a fictional Middle Eastern setting. This is where the ‘blood on the sand’ comes in. They put on the performance; the people are pleased, but the concert promoter stiffs them and doesn’t give 50 and G-Unit their payment…So, of course, 50 isn’t going to leave until he gets paid, so he hassles the concert promoter, [saying] if he doesn’t come up with the money now, there will be consequences. And instead, the promoter offers him a very valuable gift – something that’s valuable to this particular country – a diamond encrusted skull.

So 50 gets the skull, and as he’s about to leave this war-torn country, when they’re ambushed and the skull is taken. They escape the ambush, but they’re without the skull. So 50’s motivated to get what belongs to him. So basically, throughout the game, he’s trying to track these people down and find out who they are and why he was ambushed.

I think my favorite aspect of it is how it’s a “fictional Middle Eastern setting”; presumably, to neither offend anyone or have any concerns with regional or historical accuracy. It’s all pretty absurd, but it’s kinda great at the same time. The idea of getting to be Lloyd Banks in the desert sounds fun enough.

Rappers “branching out” and licensing their rap persona or something like it is great in-theory because the thing about rap is, for all the shit it gets about being too serious or too this or that, even 50 Cent’s involved in ventures this silly and over-the-top and on some level, he knows it. Of course, when it comes to over-the-top potentially great/potentially horrible licensed rap ideas, I’m still waiting on the ‘State Property’ cartoon!

Written by Brandon

April 7th, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Posted in 50 Cent, G-unit, video games

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Stop Fronting: ‘Return of the Mac’ and ‘Blood Money’

I only half-understood the uproar when Mobb Deep signed to G-Unit. They were pretty much done already. I wasn’t expecting anymore interesting music from Mobb Deep for the rest of my life. There would always be ‘The Infamous’ and to a lesser extent, ‘Hell on Earth’ and ‘Murda Muzik’. Signing to G-Unit was a depressing but obvious economic choice for a group that probably needed to do something if they were going to stick around. Not to mention, any accusations of selling-out were pointless because Mobb Deep were totally honest about how it made them richer; they didn’t try to justify it at all. They got G-Unit tattoos on their hands and started telling everyone how much more money they were making. I mean, they called the album ‘Blood Money’. That says more about their choice to sign than any of us fans crying “sell-out” could say. If it took ‘Blood Money’ to make ‘Return of the Mac’ well I’m not complaining. I get a good album and these guys have a lot of money. Everybody wins, right?

Well, not everybody. Somehow, even after making a pretty great album Prodigy is getting backhanded compliments because many see ‘Return of the Mac’ as an “apology” for ‘Blood Money’. This is fan projection more than anything else. This is probably the album Prodigy has wanted to make for a couple years now but label bullshit and the very-scary and very-real need to stay “relevant” pushed him away from those goals and towards mediocrity. Signing to G-Unit guaranteed him money and I assume, a level of comfort, giving him the freedom, time, and a renewed confidence to make something like ‘Return of the Mac’. I don’t think one could exist without the other. Prodigy even makes this clear, incorporating a few references to 50 and G-Unit throughout the album.

Often, these references feel out of place, stuck in there just to antagonize hatin-ass fans like myself, making it harder to separate Prodigy from G-Unit. When I first heard ‘Mac 10 Handle’ a few months ago, the line “I’m so impulsive/I start gunnin’ right in front of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph” made me think of the bowdlerized verse from ‘Pearly Gates’. I willfully interpreted it as some kind of subtle fuck you to 50 or something. The reality is probably more complex. Indeed, that line is on ‘Return of the Mac’ because he can say it, it is a declaration of “freedom” but I don’t think that means it is in any way in opposition to ‘Blood Money’. ‘Rotten Apple’, one of the discs best tracks, shares its name with Lloyd Banks’ last album and on ‘Take it to the Top’ among a verse that at least content-wise, recalls the angry depression we expect from Prodigy, he says “You got some stomach on your Nikes/I got blood on my G-Units”. Just as we get into the kind of “gully” stuff we expect from Prodigy, he still tosses in a reference to G-Unit, not allowing the listener to totally distance ‘Blood Money’ Mobb Deep from the Mobb Deep we know and love and sort of hear on ‘Return of the Mac’. In that way at least, this is as uncompromising as ‘The Infamous’.

On ‘Stop Fronting’, the obvious fuck-you song to haters, P brags: “I’m on tour with Mobb Deep/We out in Japan, Australia then we doing Madison Square/Then it’s right back on the road with 50 and Em/Rappers upset we last more longer than them.” While P’s logic is a bit off, I think most people aren’t jealous of Mobb Deep but sort of feel sorry for them, it still continues his uncompromising take on signing to G-Unit even as he makes the music that defines pre-G-Unit Mobb Deep. If you loved Prodigy for rapping about robbing and people and not giving a fuck, well then you can’t be too pissed when they really didn’t give a fuck and signed to G-Unit. What makes ‘Return of the Mac’ striking is that it even exists that, just as it seemed like everything was over for Mobb Deep, Prodigy comes back and show he doesn’t give a fuck by singing to G-Unit and that he really, really gives a fuck by making something as good as ‘Return of the Mac’. Artists almost never come back from “selling-out” and make something good. Granted, signing to G-Unit didn’t do wonders for their career but from what I’ve gathered, they are pretty comfortable and it is when someone is comfortable that you can assume they’ll stop making interesting shit or take chances. It seems as though Prodigy has found a way to give and take, making money and making something with integrity. Fuck a ‘Kingdom Come’, ‘Return of the Mac’ is grown-man rap because Prodigy has totally accepted the reality that art and commerce are mixed. When Jay-Z tells you “30 is the new 20″ he doesn’t believe it as much as he thinks by making it a single he can will it to be true. Prodigy has no interest in justification or explanation because he doesn’t need to, the same personality that brought you ‘The Infamous’ and ‘Return of the Mac’ is also hanging out with 50 Cent and not being okay but at least, accepting shit like his ‘Pearly Gates’ verse being changed. That’s just how it goes.

Even those that want to connect this “mixtape” with independence, be it the uncensored nature of Prodigy’s content or the literal independence of KOCH Records cannot completely do so because there’s currently a ‘Best Buy Exclusive’ version of ‘Return of the Mac’ featuring three bonus tracks (‘My Priorities’, ‘That’s That’, and ‘Last Words’). A mixtape, on a non-major label, that allows an exclusive version of that mixtape with additional tracks to be sold at a chain-store. That is the weird world of the music industry, where the porous borders between independence and major labels, integrity and selling-out, exist. Good for Prodigy for taking advantage of it rather than simply bemoaning its existence or hating on the South or plenty of other bullshit moves. It’s not 1995 anymore. As I type this, I’m watching BET’s ‘Rip the Runway’ and I just saw 50 Cent introduce Rakim who rapped a bunch of classics while models presented the new G-Unit Clothing line. The show’s ending now and over credits, an Eric B and Rakim medley plays. Who cares about the context! That just happened (no Ricky Bobby)!

Written by Brandon

March 30th, 2007 at 3:15 am

Posted in G-unit, Mobb Deep, mixtapes