What do you get the man who has everything? Well, for his birthday on Friday, 50 Cent gave himself (and his fans) the gift of music when he dropped 5 (Murder by Numbers), a free 10-track unofficial album with all new and original music on his website ThisIs50.com.
"What I'm releasing right now is a part of me wanting music out during the middle of the summer," Fif told MTV News. "I had a plan for myself: I wanted to have the new record come out during my birthday."
Over the course of the last year, the G-Unit boss has gone through a number of ups and downs with his label, Interscope. Fif's next album, Street King Immortal, will be his fifth solo album with the label and the last in his contractual requirement. Since the LP isn't due until later this year, 50 decided to drum up some excitement on the mixtape scene, which he revolutionized with classic projects like 50 Cent Is the Future and God's Plan. "Everyone's waiting for my fifth studio album through Interscope, so I titled it that because it will build interest in the actual project," he said of 5.
Marked by hard-nosed tracks like the Sizzla-sampling, dancehall-tinged "My Crown" and hometown ode "NY," Murder by Numbers proves that Fif hasn't lost his penchant for making raw and uncut street music. It's a different type of project, one that could easily get misunderstood by a powerhouse rap label, so it requires a more underground distribution method. "I don't really need label support for this project," the music mogul argued. "It's about the actual music, and I don't think people buy what record label you're on; I think they buy music or buy into the actual artist themselves."
The success of the gratis 5 can't be measured in album sales, but 50 said he will feel justified in his creativity when he hears his music blasting out of the cars of his faithful following. The fans' approval is the only one that he seeks. The texture of tracks like the money-getting hymn "Business Mind" and smoker-fest "Roll That Sh--" are ripe for the warm weather, Fif says. "I don't think this music will be the same if I introduce it in the winter. I think it's for right now, so I'm putting it out regardless," he said.
As far as his next solo LP, the one that has been talked about since he released Before I Self Destruct in 2009, 50 is looking for an end-of-the-year drop now that he has cleared up all issues with Interscope. "They're in full support of me now. We cleared up audit issues. That's always an issue, when you get to the final album or the final requirement you end up going through the books with everything that you've done," he said. "Once those things are resolved, everyone is ready to get back to work, and that's where we're at."
What is your favorite track from 50 Cent's 5 (Murder by Numbers)? Let us know in the comments!