50 Cent wants us to love him like they loved 'Pac, as he un-self-consciously declares on "In Da Club." Considering that hit's maddening ubiquity, he doesn't have anything to worry about. Fiddy's fifth album, Get Rich or Die Tryin, has sold something like four bajillion copies, making him the biggest rapper in the game, thanks to his singularly mushy rap style and hooks that are more compelling than his own well-chiseled abs. Initially a hustler's brag, as we all know by now, his line "Watch the money pile up" ended up being prophetic.
But 50 Cent's mythology of hustling, dealing, and being shot nine times precedes his music (and is used by his label as a brilliant marketing ruse). Thereby posing the age-old dilemma: how do you reconcile loving the sinner with hating the sin? In other words, if a hit bangs with the ferocity of "In Da Club"--but summarily, existentially, and flippantly depicts/promotes murder, violence, misogyny, homophobia, materialism, and like, having strippers' "asses up in the Ramada"--is it still okay to like it? One fan posting as "Young Tito" on Fiddy's web board summed it up: "I don't give a shit bout how a muhfucka lives o' how he was brought up. it don't affect me how he got shot 9 times so why should i care??? Not sayin nothin bad toward 50 tho, he's real n' all but i jus listen to da tunes, i don't live 'em."
Young Tito may have a lot more to think about once 50 Cent's life story is published. Tentatively (and hilariously) titled Number One With Nine Bullets, last week it was announced that MTV Books would pick up his autobiography, which Fiddy will pen with an unnamed journalist. And, not only will it share all the grisly parts of Fiddy's tragic upbringing in Jamaica, Queens, it will also feature lyrics, Polaroids, and "poetry." Poetry? Then again, this is the man who put the Alcoholics Anonymous mantra, "God grant me the wisdom" in a song, and advised, that it's "best to be a gentleman." As the man himself rhymed on "Wanksta," "I fucking with they mind."