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The Rap Juggernaut Back on Form,
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This review is from: Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire To Win (Audio CD)
"I'm tryna make it feel like the first time", says 50 Cent on 'Winners Circle', one of the standout tracks from his fifth studio album, and first in five years, Animal Ambition. Whereas some will, at first, interpret this line as him trying to make another Get Rich or Die Tryin', once listening to the album it is obvious that 50's aim was to bring back the hunger and energy he conveyed on tracks before becoming the major star he became. Furthermore, once listening to Animal Ambition it becomes evident that 50 has succeeded at achieving said aim.
Considering there is a five year gap between Animal Ambition and 2009's Before I Self Destruct, it shouldn't be surprising to hear that the two albums adopt two complete different approaches. For Animal Ambition, it appears that 50 has taken the smooth, comprehensive route, similar to that of The Massacre instead of the dark, destructively aggressive route of both the Curtis and Before I Self Destruct albums. It could even be said that Animal Ambition is the The Massacre's more successful, ambitious sibling.
The album starts off very strong with 'Hold On', a smooth, soulful, jazzy-lite song which is definitely one of the lyrically best offerings on the album, and from then on the album continues to supply great tracks with the pumped-up, club anthem 'Don't Worry 'Bout It', the album's title track 'Animal Ambition' which could easily have fitted in with the more up-tempo moments of Get Rich or Die Tryin', and 'Pilot', which perfectly flexes 50 Cent's fast flow and is one of the most Massacre-sounded tracks on the album. However, the album does take a slight dip with 'Smoke', as it sounds the most dated out of all the songs and is a bit of an anomaly, topic wise. Despite this the album picks back up immediately with 'Everytime I Come Around' and 'Irregular Heartbeat', which are both the most aggressive offerings from the standard track list, and standout tracks in their own right.
After the very glamorous, retro sounding 'Hustler', the album offers it's most ambitious, triumphant songs 'Twisted' and 'Winners Circle'. Whereas 'Twisted' is a smooth celebration of success and doing well, 'Winners Circle' is an utterly epic song about... Well... winning and making history and achieving greatness. In fact, the superb production and the topic matter combined with Gourdan Banks' amazing vocals would have made 'Winners Circle' a perfect closer to the album. However 'Chase the Paper', with it's Ty Fyffe production and assistance from Kidd Kidd, Prodigy and Styles P serves as a great closer to a great album.
In terms of reasons why to purchase the deluxe edition, the three bonus tracks are all the convincing you need. 'The Funeral', which in my opinion is one of 50 Cent's best songs in years, 'You Know' and the absolute banger 'Flip on You' are all great additions to the standard track list, in particular 'Flip on You' as the perfect combination of 50 Cent and ScHoolboy Q make for an incredible closing track.
All in all, Animal Ambition is an amazing album, and with the album's sub-title "An Untamed Desire to Win" being the central topic matter running through all the songs, it makes it the closest 50 has come to making a concept album. And despite there being no Eminem or G-Unit features, and being 50's shortest album with a run time of just over 48 minutes (including bonus tracks), Animal Ambition is arguably 50 Cent's best album since The Massacre and a refreshing change to what was becoming a formulaic pattern to 50 Cent albums.