50 Cent - I Get Money (G-Unit/Interscope, 2007)
It’s painful to think that this song came out over three years ago already - one of those time flies moment that’s utterly hard to believe in retrospect. It’s hard to believe that song exists in a time before Lil’ Wayne dropped Tha Carter III, before Gucci Mane became a genuinely great rapper, before every rapper wanted to be Kanye West, and before T.I. started doing songs with Rihanna (he was still doing songs with Justin Timberlake, they were just really fucking good). 2007 seems like forever nowadays, but somehow this song exists in a vacuum that feels downright unearthly. I Get Money was the last genuine commercially successfully street-banger to come out of New York - no, those BP3 songs don’t qualify. There’s a timeless quality to it; something that’s kinda hard to put your finger on, mostly because of where it originated.
Curtis was a strange album; an uneven mess overall, with some genuinely great songs hidden beneath Straight To The Bank and Amusement Park. I’m not even talking about the Thicke and Timberlake songs, which I admittedly enjoyed; I mean the bangers like Man Down, Curtis 187, I’ll Still Kill, Guns Come Out, and above all, I Get Money. The beat on here is obviously the highlight, probably one of the most memorable hip-hop instrumentals of the last decade. 50 wasn’t really trying at all on here, from a lyrical standpoint; and that kinda adds an extra dimension to the song. I think it’s been pointed out many times before that 50 Cent is, and will always be, a great rapper when he wants to be. He doesn’t always want to be though, and although that can get frustrating, it’s merely part of the allure here.
50’s got that post-Ross Boss swagger down so pat on this song, that it’s ridiculous. The video helps to add to the song’s mythos, with bundles of money stacked inside of Wonderbread bags and an all-green setting and wardrobe that’s just a feast for the eyes. 50 is cheesing through the entire video, that smarmy expression just asking for you to be pissed off at him he raps the clumbsily sly bling like blaow, you like my style; haha, I’m running to the back right now.
Sadly, this was the last genuine hit Curtis has ever scored. Before I Self Destruct is as underrated as an album comes, but it lacked anything as fondly memorable as I Get Money. 50 doesn’t do much musically nowadays, as he’s too worried about keeping his homies secure and being funny on Twitter, which is more than respectable. At the same time, I miss those syrup-slurred sing-song verses more and more everyday. The rap game needs 50 Cent to be relevant again.