Since breaking into the scene in the early 2000s, G-Unit has been known for mixing bravado with brut force, over potent production. The crew’s effort, The Beast Is G-Unit is the latest addition to the collective’s discography, and reflects why they’re still strong 12 years after The Unit’s debut album, Beg For Mercy.
“Ballin’” is the kick-off, a cut that picks up where last year’s The Beauty of Independence left off. “Until God calls for me,” 50 Cent sings on the auto-tuned hook. “I’m a keep ballin’.” The cut, “I’m Grown” more or less follows in its footsteps, though it appears to be less memorable.
“Bring My Bottles” is a catchy club anthem, a specialty that 50 Cent can basically teach a class on, ever since he killed the industry with “In Da Club.” This cut also allows G-Unit’s Young Buck to really show his personality more as he acts as a solo star.
The mood shifts on “Doper Than My Last One,” a selection that breathes as a throwback to past rap eras while remaining modern. Lloyd Banks is able to use this as his canvas, and the self-proclaimed Punchline King boasts in his usual nonchalant manner. But it lacks many punchlines to quote, which was once the best aspect of a Banks verse.
Just when you thought the project would be a solo cut project, “Boy Boy” brings most of the crew back together for a menacing track that isn’t as strong as the others.
Finally, “Choose One” showcases the collective as a whole in what could be considered a standout upon a first listen. Banks, Buck, Tony Yayo and Kidd Kidd deliver some of their most vivid bars of the project. “I’m in the trenches like a marine sniper,” Yayo says before describing a street reality that resonates much like the best of G-Unit’s most interesting material.
At the end of the project, a few things are clear. G-Unit is poised to continue what they started with last year’s reunion. They still have the ability to craft catchy club anthems and menacing street joints, though they don’t always hit the bar we once expected from anything 50-related. That brings us to the biggest knock on The Beast Is G-Unit. 50 Cent isn’t rapping much on the project and it leaves the listener hoping he did. I mean, more than one verse from the lead emcee of the group shouldn’t be hard to come by. I guess that’s just more reason to anticipate G-Unit’s next project, right? Still, it’s hard to bump The Beast knowing the group’s most vital beast isn’t really giving us what we expected.
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