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50 Cent directs a solid team

November 09, 2005|Soren Baker

Various artists

"Music From and Inspired by 'Get Rich or Die Tryin',' the Motion Picture"

(G Unit/Interscope)

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Like his mentor Eminem before him, 50 Cent used savvy marketing, run-ins with law enforcement and a string of potent songs to catapult himself to the upper echelon of popular music. And as with Eminem and "8 Mile," the Queens, N.Y., rapper's first starring role in a major motion picture is in a film based loosely on his tumultuous life story.

But unlike Eminem, who appeared as a rapper or producer on less than half of the "8 Mile" album, 50 Cent takes a hands-on approach to the soundtrack to his semiautobiographical film, appearing on the majority of the collection's brutal songs and featuring artists from his G Unit record label on the others.

Like much of 50 Cent's previous music, the songs here are dark ruminations on life in the streets, the peril that accompanies that lifestyle and the hope of one day becoming successful enough to not have to worry about the repercussions of his actions.

In the stirring "Hustlers Ambition," 50 Cent takes the perspective of a small-time thug with hopes of making it big, much like his character in the film and his real-life mentality. He hits his creative stride on the soulful "What If," where he ponders what his life would be like if he assumed the characteristics of Snoop Dogg, Usher and other celebrities, and the sleepy "Window Shopper," in which he chastises those who are jealous of his success.

Young Buck, an equally charismatic G Unit rapper, makes the most of his two appearances, detailing his unwavering thuggery on the menacing "You Already Know" and taunting overzealous police on the chilling "Don't Need No Help."

50 Cent and his talented cast of supporting rappers make this a rare rap soundtrack, and a powerful one at that, that matches the mood and content of the film to which it is connected.

-- Soren Baker

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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