A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this album might not be as sick and twisted as Eminem's Relapse, it does focus on violent threats and imagery. 50 Cent talks about shooting people that don't see things his way and discusses more varieties of guns than most firearms encyclopedias. Besides the intense violence here, there's also lot of profanity, with "f--k" and the N-word being 50 Cent's two favorite curse words. Women don't fare well on the album; they're viewed as sex objects or gold diggers who shouldn't complain about 50 Cent's infidelity. The album also contains the 50 Cent movie of the same name that is equally loaded with gun violence and bad language.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
BEFORE I SELF DESTRUCT has been several years in the making. The album was actually completed in 2007, but 50 Cent chose to release Curtis instead. By 2008, singles from Before I Self Destruct were hitting the airwaves, and it has been a steady stream of releases from the album ever since. Lloyd Banks and Ne-Yo appear on individual tracks, while Dr. Dre can be found as producer on a few as well. The bulk of the album covers inner-city struggle as "Fiddy" recounts his rise to the top. On more than a few songs he interjects more current struggles with women and phony rappers.
Is it any good?
For loyal fans ofÂ 50 Cent, this album shouldn't disappoint. It's basically consistent with what the rapper has delivered in the past. Although the album is definitely not for kids (or teens!), adult listeners should appreciate a sound that is less heavy and dense than previous releases. By adding a few varying hooks and piano touches, the album doesn't drone on...too much. Some songs like "Stretch" and "Days Went By" break up the monotony a bit, but the lyrics in general lag and the album lacks the creativity and enthusiasm of many of today's other popular rappers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violent images. How do you feel when you watch something violent happen on a TV show or at the movies? Does it bother you or can you just blow it off? Do you think violent lyrics can ever be appropriate for tweens or teens? Do you think make-believe violence can still affect how you think about violence and how you behave?
Talk about rappers as role models. What makes these hip-hop stars, who talk about murdering people, selling drugs, and disrespecting women, accepted celebrities who appear on talk shows and enjoy mainstream media exposure? Do you think their popularity makes the messages they promote more acceptable? Do their images differ any from their rhymes? Is the marketing of many rappers toned down for younger audiences?
Families can talk about reality versus fiction. Many rappers sing about leading a thug life, murdering people with ease, and breaking laws wherever they go. Do you think this is how their lives really work? Or, do you think this is an image that they're selling to their audience? What about rappers like 50 Cent, who is widely known to have been shot many times, and T.I., who is now serving a prison sentence for weapons charges?