Well, I've already reviewed an album by each Lloyd Banks and 50 Cent, so why not continue the trend and analyze one by G-Unit as a group (because, honestly, I don't think anyone is going to care if I review Tony Yayo's solo album. That's not to say I don't like Yayo, because I do, but the general consensus is that he, um, isn't very good.)?
The project I will be reviewing is G-Unit's second LP, T.O.S.: Terminate On Sight (which I will merely refer to from here on out as T.O.S. to help keep carpal tunnel syndrome at bay). T.O.S. was released in 2008, five years after the group's platinum debut effort, Beg For Mercy. By this point, Young Buck has officially been ousted from the gang, and although he is present on numerous songs over the course of the album, that is because the tracks were recorded before Buck was booted, and as a matter of fact, he is merely listed as a guest artist.
Because Beg For Mercy was released the same year 50 Cent put out Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003), it garnered a crapload of attention and immediately began moving innumerable units. Unfortunately for 50 and his G-Unit brethren Lloyd Banks and Yayo, by '08, the hate for the group was at an all-time high, and to this day, T.O.S. still has not reached gold status.
All of that said, who really gives a damn about album sales? Let's delve into this project to see if it's actually any good instead of just relying on the charts.
1. Straight Outta Southside
Obviously, this was G-Unit's attempt at re-creating N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton," and it wasn't very successful. I mean, the lyrics here are absolutely horrendous, not to mention cheesy as hell, and the Ron Browz beat isn't very palatable.
2. Piano Man
This is the first track Young Buck is on, and he brings absolutely nothing to the table. He's not alone, though, as no one from Tha Bizness (the producer) to 50 to Banks to Yayo displays any kind of semblance of continuity on this song.
3. Close To Me
Even though this track wasn't one of the T.O.S.'s two singles, it still received consistent rotation on the radio. It isn't bad, as a sick bass fuels a decent beat, but, once again, the lyrics are pretty garbage. It's amazing to see how much Banks has grown as a lyricist since this album. This, for example, were his best lines on this song: "I'm a very special kind, I can't let you shine, these rappers out they mind, don't compare to me combined." That's like tea-time for him now.
4. Rider, Pt. 2
Now this bangs. "Rider, Pt. 2" was actually my favorite song for a while after it first dropped (it was the album's second single). The Rick Rock beat is ill beyond belief, and 50 Cent drops a crazy hook using autotune (I am not a proponent of autotune at all, but 50 sounds sick with it). This is the best song on T.O.S.. Young Buck is here too, by the way.
5. Casualties Of War
Maybe we're finally getting somewhere now, because this record is pretty solid, too. Ky Miller produces an extremely eerie (but good) beat, and 50 drops another good hook. I think it's pretty clear by now that this album isn't about lyrics, so I won't even say that the lyrics on this cut are garbage. Whoops.
6. You So Tough
I actually like everything about this song, including the lyrics. Ky Miller lays down a dark, grimy beat, and Lloyd Banks drops some good rhymes: "There is no peace, you're the prey or the predator, while you plottin 'on me, I'm 10 steps ahead of ya, black 40 caliber I put it in for red on ya, nigga I'm special, you mad 'cause you regular, man I don't want your bitch, I damn near remember her, refresh my memory, oh yeah I slept with her, no wonder she ain't mention you when I met with her." It was rumored that this was a T.I. diss. 50 and his camp denied it, though.
7. No Days Off
Let me start by saying the Dual Output production on this joint is ill. It is extremely dark and menacing, and, once again, Banks comes through with the best verse, including these lines: "Look how the game change, bad for the system, niggas on game shows, two dudes kissin'." This is right up there with "Rider, Pt. 2" as far as T.O.S.'s best tracks go. "No Days Off" also marks Young Buck's third appearance on the project.
Ky Miller is on the boards once again, laying down a pretty nice beat for G-Unit here. That said, 50 is the only member of the group on this track who seems at all competent, as Yayo ends every line with "I fucked your girl" and Banks decides to talk about how many times he nuts. That's not to say Fiddy's verse was that great, either. This was the best part: "Her man ain't a hustler, man he can't do that, he got a 9 to 5, used to pump packs, got knocked once, and he never came back." The beat is what makes this record listenable.
9. I Like The Way She Do It
This was the album's first single, and while it has "radio joint" written all over it, it isn't very good. The beat is kind of annoying, and the content is, as you can tell from the title, pretty played out. Young Buck drops the best verse on here.
10. Kitty Kat
This is just stupid. The beat is pretty nice, but the hook consists of a girl saying, "Oww, I need cash for my kitty kat." Huh. I wonder what that might be implying?
11. Party Ain't Over
The beat on this cut, laid out by Damien Taylor, is ridiculous. "Party Ain't Over" has, easily, one of the most booming basslines I have ever heard. If you play this in your ride, there is a pretty good chance you will blow your windows out. 50's delivery on this is great, as is Banks', particularly on these lines: "Yeah, they love it when I pop 'round, doors up, top down, seat back, keep that, motherfuckin' glock 'round, nigga this is my town, my block, my crown, my sound, peace to my niggas on lockdown." Young Buck puts down a decent verse, too.
12. Let It Go
50 is actually absent on this track, with Mavado filling in and doing the hook. The reggaeish beat on this, done by Don Cannon, is very good, and Tony Yayo drops what is one of my favorite verses by him: "I'm Marvin Bernard, hip-hop goin hard, feds ran in the crib, squad all in my yard, I'm the high school dropout, crack game genius, the mack'll turn your back into Gilbert Arenas." Not that the Gilbert Arenas part actually makes much sense, but it sounds good.
13. Get Down
Swizz Beatz produces this beat that, while it sounds good at first, gets irritating fairly quickly. Nothing to see here.
14. I Don't Wanna Talk About It
When I first heard this cut, I liked it. Now, I'm wondering what the heck I was thinking.
15. Ready Or Not
When I saw that Jake One produced this beat, my first thought was, "Seriously?" Don't take that the wrong way, though; the production here is ill; it just doesn't sound like a Jake One beat at all. Oh, and Yayo is actually spitting on this: "My little shooter's 16 from the projects, glock-16 with the Napoleon complex, I'm in and out the projects, my lifestyle pleasant, you? You live life like a barbaric peasant." 50 isn't on this cut, but it's still a really good track all-around.
16. Money Makes The World Go 'Round
What's with 50 Cent? He's not on this track either, and it certainly could have used him. Not that he could have saved it anyway, though. The production is flatter than roadkill.
17. Chase Da Cat
Like "Party Ain't Over," the bass on here knocks, and the beat, although generic overall, is pretty good. I really liked this when I first heard it, but after a while it kind of wore off. Young Buck makes an appearance here, bringing his final total to five guest spots on T.O.S.. His verse stinks though, so don't get your hopes up (not that you would anyway). The content on "Chase Da Cat" mirrors "I Like The Way She Do It," so if you're going to like this, it will be solely because of the production by Kadis & Sean.
I remember liking this album a lot more when it first came out in 2008. Now, I have a lot of trouble listening to it in its entirety. While the production is pretty solid throughout, the lyrics are just awful, and it's not like these guys are bad lyricists, because they aren't. It just seems like they morph into some disgusting life-form that is barely above Lil Wayne on the lyrical chain when they rap together.
It's hard to believe that this is the same Lloyd Banks whose album I just reviewed yesterday, because he seems like an entirely different rapper on T.O.S.. The growth he has exhibited over the past couple of years really is astounding. On that same token, it's hard to believe this is the same 50 Cent who put out Power Of The Dollar (which I also just reviewed), Get Rich or Die Tryin', and, his most recent project, Before I Self Destruct. Of course, T.O.S. dropped not even a year after 50 released that piece of trash Curtis, so maybe he still hadn't recovered by this point.
Honestly, as much as I like G-Unit, I feel like I'd be sacrificing a piece of my reputation if I recommended this album to you. Some of the cuts are nice and bang in the ride, but as far as it being a good pure hip-hop album? No; just no. Hopefully, their third LP (if and when they do drop one) will be miles better than this, and I expect it will be with a more mature Banks and a 50 Cent who seems to be reverting back to his old ways as a rapper (and that's a good thing).
TOP FIVE TRACKS
1. Rider, Pt. 2
2. No Days Off
3. Party Ain't Over
4. Let It Go
5. You So Tough
I'm sure you'll have no trouble weeding them out yourself.