He'll Still Shoot You in the Face

Curtis (Interscope Records)
50 Cent

By Kory Wilcoxson

If the artist is 50 Cent, you know what you're getting before you open the package. The first three songs are "My Gun Go Off," "I'll Still Kill," and "Man Down," whose chorus is, "I'll murder ya." But unlike with other rappers, this violent bravado doesn't come off as disingenuous. If you think it does, I dare you to tell 50 Cent to his face.

On his third album, 50 Cent tries to come across as more human (hence the title, 50 Cent's real first name). But most of Curtis perpetuates his violent, greedy, misogynist persona and he does so better than any other rapper in the game.

While the content of his lyrics seem to circle the same territory, 50 Cent has shown great improvement in his rap skills. He's added more gears to his delivery, which boosts songs like "Follow My Lead" and "Fully Loaded Clip" and helps Curtis avoid the monotony of his other albums.

The album could have been better if 50 Cent had been more judicious in his selection. The first single, "Amusement Park," is an uninspired sex romp that fails to arouse and songs like "Touch the Sky" and "Movin' On Up" feel like filler. But the rest of Curtis should solidify 50 Cent's place at the top of the rap empire.

Check out www.50cent.com.