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Animal Ambition – 50 Cent

Animal Ambition

Animal Ambition  

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Audio CD, Universal Music, Rs. 395

While at first glance, 50 Cent’s Animal Ambition seems to roar, the album quickly takes off the facade and fizzles out to a meow. Five years since the largest-selling hip-hip star put out actual music, Animal Ambition comes as a gut-wrenching collapse of time wasted. His fifth studio album and the first on a label that is not run by original allies Dr. Dre and Eminem, Animal Ambition sets out on a wild run but ends up as a tamed and domesticated beast.

Kicking off with ‘Hold On’, Curtis James Jackson III almost wakes up from his stupor in the uninspiring track and delivers some seemingly last-minute penned lines that drag till you drop. He finally addresses the problem openly on the maddeningly catchy second song ‘Don’t Worry About It’ where the rapper tells fans and foes alike that they shouldn’t care about all the “time passing and I’m not around.” The song, featuring fellow rapper Yo Gotti, doesn’t show any sonic drudgery either despite its head-banging synths and grooves.

However, the unmistakable 50 voice pops up in the title track that follows and shows shades of the beast within, but again fails to evolve with the animal mimic growls sounding more like burps.

The beast does roar in a few chance glimpses of the album’s strongest tracks and return him to the glory days of his hip-hop milestones like ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’’. Tracks like ‘Pilot’ and ‘Hustler’ see 50 use his signature sing-song cadence to low-ride the rhythm. Equally hook-rich and street-hard is album closer ‘Cut the Paper’ where the rap legend teams up with frequent collaborator Kidd Kidd and Styles P and shows off his fuzz-toned virtual second bass line voice that doubles the funk.

‘Everything I Come Around’ - a favourite in the collection is not 50’s best foot forward, but rather the emerging Kidd Kidd whose nasal vocals steals the limelight. Weaving in a hypnotic monotone, the rapper is at his paramount excellence in this unusually non-heavy track.

The slicker R&B tracks, where singers Trey Songz and Guardan Banks pitch in, show more audio appeal. ‘Smoke’ is a lively, rolling, dancey track that weaves and bends with Trey’s signature sounds.

‘Irregular Heartbeat’ is just another silent regular fleeting track despite Judakiss’ attempts to revive it while ‘Twisted’ feat. Mr. Probz seems to do more justice with its generic brighter riffs. ‘Winners Circle’ feat. Guardian Banks is the reviver that hits the mark as the singer hits high while 50 goes low. While, as always, 50’s bling-driven verse isn’t as rare as his rhythmic delivery, his rich vocal instrument floats over the minimalist riffs - evidence that the singer in him hasn’t faded yet, despite the movies, footwear collections, video games and other distractions.

While Animal Ambition has its glorious moments, much of the album goes over the cliff and leaves no lasting impression of the wild in its feeble, fading wake.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 9:00:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/beat-street-animal-ambition-50-cent/article6331761.ece

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