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50 Cent is brutally honest

50 Cent'Get Rich or Die Tryin'Interscope Records

The sound of a coin hitting the floor quietly exits the speakers, it ends as quickly as it begins, and silence follows. The subtle intro to 50 Cent's major-label debut, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," is the polar opposite of the uproar surrounding the album.

After years of releasing independent mix tapes and earning an underground following so huge it's hard to believe that no one noticed him earlier, 50 Cent was finally "discovered" by Eminem and signed to his Shady Records label two years ago.

Unlike most of the hype factories in today's music industry, however, 50 Cent's is more than well deserved. He's already gained and lost a record deal, been arrested, stabbed, shot and somehow managed to live through it all. So what is the result of 50 Cent's turbulent lifestyle? A brutally honest, classic hardcore rap album with no joking around and no skits, just a 70-minute, true-to-life, filler-free classic.

He already has earned countless comparisons to 2pac, and "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" does nothing but back them up. Even though his flow is relatively laid back, 50 Cent's vivid storytelling and inventive wordplay fill his lyrics with an undeniable energy. Also adding to his furor is believability. "Many men, wish death upon me/ Blood in my eye dog and I can't see/ I'm trying to be what I'm destined to be," he raps on "Many Men (Wish Death)," the strongest song on the album.

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Although other artists might just be projecting an image to sell records, 50 Cent's trauma is real, and his songs don't leave much room for the imagination. Although his life is clearly in a state of danger, 50 Cent doesn't hold back on any subject, and he even goes so far as to drop the names of his enemies without fear. Out of all of them though, the most notable of his foes is the ultra famous Ja Rule, who gets two songs on the album dedicated solely to him: "Wanksta" and "Back Down." Although they aren't as good the rest of the album, they are a nice change of pace from his usual street friendly sounds.

Speaking of which, the majority of 50 Cent's beats are brilliantly supplied by both Dr. Dre and Eminem. As usual, Dr. Dre is at the top of his game, as heard on the first single, "In Da Club," and "Heat," which is literally based on the sounds of the street. Eminem, who makes two appearances on the album, also contributes two tracks, both of which are up to par with the good doctor's, once again reaffirming Eminem's status of "Superman."

Although 50 Cent might not be the savior that hip-hop is hoping for, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" is easily the best gangsta rap record to come out in a long time. Not even the glossy production of the Dr. Dre/Eminem dream team had enough shine to wipe away all of the dirt on 50 Cent's rugged style.

However, that's definitely a good thing because there's nothing hip-hop needs more than to get in touch with what's real than what's merely created in a recording studio.

Luke Slisz is a junior at John Marshall High School. To respond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336); write Teen Beat, Post-Bulletin, P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903-6118 or send e-mail to teenbeat@postbulletin.com.

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