50 Cent has been off his game for a while. Some may argue that the death of former manager, Chris Lighty, was when trouble started to occur, while some believe that his departure from Interscope Records was the beginning of the end of Fif. In any case, most will agree that the past few years haven’t exactly seen 50 on his feet, musically.
This was until earlier this week, when the rapper dropped The Kanan Tape. Serving as 50’s eleventh solo mixtape, The Kanan Tape is a loosely conceptual piece based off of Kanan, the relentless drug dealer character he plays on the hit television series, Power. Clocking in at a mere 25 minutes, the mixtape sees 50 tackling some of the most daring beats he’s ever chosen to rap over.
With The Kanan Tape, 50 Cent, real name Curtis Jackson, navigates away from his more traditional New York-style production, taking a chance with some Southern (and even a little West Coast) flavor throughout the tape. Surprising, it actually features only one instrumental from an East Coast-based name (the closing track, “On Everything” is produced by New Jersey’s !llmind).
A recent trip to Atlanta with G-Unit’s Young Buck found 50 returning home with potential club-smashers from current hit-makers, London on da Track and Sonny Digital. The move was eye-opening, seeing as the rapper has generally found himself working with more unknown producers in recent memory.
By stepping out of his box, we see 50 flourish throughout the tape. While perhaps his lyrical content hasn’t exactly evolved all that much over the past few years, 50 still manages to find ways to make his content more exciting and fresh through the use of the beats. 50 displays both his diligent drug dealer (“Body Bags”, “Burner On Me”) and playful pimp (“Too Rich”, “Tryna Fuck Me Over”) characters frequently throughout the project, with content and flows reminiscent of his early Shady/Aftermath/Interscope days circa the releases of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and 50 Cent: The New Breed.
Aside from his own personal shine on The Kanan Tape, the project’s all-Southern special guests find 50 in good company. Whether Boosie Badazz and Young Buck on the ignorant “Nigga” opener or a standout verse from the White Iverson himself, Post Malone, it is clear that a little time away from home was much needed for Mr. Jackson.
In short, by distancing himself from his usual sound and being more daring in terms of production, features, and concept, The Kanan Tape helps 50 Cent prove that there is indeed a fire still left in his belly. The mixtape marks a Powerful return to a fuller shape from the beast that is the G-Unit general. Despite a tremendous number of duds these past few years, 50 is back and ready to Get Rich, all over again! 8/10
Stream 50 Cent’s The Kanan Tape here: