50 Cent Is Done With The Album-Releasing Game


It should be noted that your correspondent is no great fan of 50 Cent, the Queens-born MC/smart drink mogul who has made himself over into something of a Twitter celebrity in recent months, simultaneously acting like a prankster and making big declarations about healing the world in a way that has so profoundly affected some, they’ve gone so far as to commit online shenanigans in his name. (It’s like a religion!) But his announcement that he’s no longer releasing albums is certainly worthy of note.

After all, it wasn’t even four years ago that the onetime Curtis Jackson was facing off with Kanye West for superiority over not just the hip-hop charts but the big-kahuna BIllboard 200. And now, his long-delayed follow-up to 2009’s Before I Self-Destruct has allegedly been screwed up by his label Interscope so bad, he’s done with the album-releasing game—is at least worthy of noting. And to add a cherry (or at least get more attention from Interscope head Jimmy Iovine et al), he’s threatening to leak a song from Dr. Dre’s eternally delayed Detox.

This story of labels not seeming to “get it right” is, of course, par for the course as far as the hip-hop side of the business’s recently prickly relationship with album releases goes; Jayson Greene’s recent look at the struggles of onetime 50 acolyte The Game in his long, grinding gear- up to release The R.E.D. Album. As he wrote back then:

Indeed, for major labels, releasing rap albums has become a process frighteningly similar in outline to signing major legislation–months of dead space, a brief flurry of activity and heady promises, then, finally, inexplicable stalls, dashed hopes, and disillusionment. Repeat. There are several well-established coping strategies; for instance, mixtapes made of the latest scraps from the album’s cutting room floor, a cost-eating and humiliating exercise for all involved and the album-release equivalent of showing up with an expensive present the day after you missed your kid’s birthday. Other viable options include: ranting about your predicament on Twitter and wallowing in the sympathy of your followers; or working with any and every producer the label sends your way, in hopes that a Bruno Mars hook will finally bring mercy from the gods.

Well, looks like Curtis is in that second-to-last stage of grief, albeit one tinged with anger. Maybe threatening to leak a Dre song is a pigtails-in-the-inkwell way of saying “hey, produce me another track, please?”