50 Cent

The brazen multiethnic hip-hop crew Egotrip summarizes the gangsta-rap phenomenon with this haiku from its Big Book of Racism: Fuck that nigga dead/Fuck them niggaz, kill niggaz/Our first gold record! But even though few iced-out thugs have much to say about narcotics and firearms that wasn’t said better by N.W.A or Notorious B.I.G., the genre offers up an Eminem or DMX every few years to keep suburban white boys interested in what’s happening in America’s inner cities. 50 Cent and Clipse don’t have Big’s storytelling abilities or Ice Cube’s once-strong knack for biting social commentary. They do, however, boast killer disses (50 has made a cottage industry out of publicly questioning Ja Rule’s status as a murderer, thug and heterosexual) and some undeniable Dre and Neptunes-produced club bangers that feel light years ahead of most street-life sounds.

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