50 Cent, "Animal Ambition" (G-Unit/Caroline/Capitol Music Group)
50 Cent made a ginormous splash more than a decade ago with his multiplatinum platinum debut "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," pushing out early career hits from "In da Club" to "P.I.M.P."
But the rapper has been unable to live up to his first album's success, which ultimately led to his departure from Interscope Records and Eminem's Shady/Aftermath. He's since found a new home with Caroline, the independent label at Capitol Music Group.
Now, as an independent artist, 50 Cent releases his first album in five years with "Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire to Win." He often shows rust on his fifth studio offering, but the 11-track set is not a total disappointment.
50 Cent still possesses a high level of cockiness, effectively displaying his street mentality on "The Funeral," "Chase the Paper" and "Irregular Heartbeat," with Jadakiss and Kidd Kidd. He raps about still keeping a gun under his pillow on "Hold On" and talks about his thirst to become more successful on "Hustler" and "Winners Circle," featuring Guordan Banks.
But while "Animal Ambition" shows some promise, there are some missteps. His rhymes are too simple and easily forgettable on the title track. He teams up with Trey Songz on the Dr. Dre-produced "Smoke," but the track lacks the infectious spirit that lived in past club hits such as "Candy Shop" and "21 Questions."