We've heard it all before from this gangsta poseur


December 2, 2005

BY JIM DeROGATIS Pop Music Critic

"Bulletproof," 50 Cent's much-hyped, blood-splattered new video game, can be viewed as another transparent attempt by the rapper formerly known as Curtis Jackson to cash in on the badder than bad, "been shot nine times" image that won him fame and fortune.

Lending your name to a computerized shoot 'em up is a sure sign that a musician is artistically bankrupt, second only to the sell-out Hollywood movie. Now, with "Bulletproof" following on the heels of his widely panned film "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," Jackson has given us both.

But one could argue Fiddy was born to shine in the video game forum. Described by manufacturers as "a gritty urban action game" employing "more than 25 dramatic counter kill moves," "Bulletproof" is a cartoon about senseless violence -- just like the rapper's music.

The designers utilized 150 tracks clocking in at more than eight hours of music. But the real lure for hard-core fans -- and does Fiddy have any other kind? -- are 13 previously unreleased tunes.

These follow the already long-since-hackneyed Fiddy formula: Jackson raps in his stilted, thick-tongued way about his bad, bad gangsta self over laid-back, uninspired Dre-like grooves, frequently passing the mike to his G-Unit crew, including Lloyd Banks, Young Buck and Tony Yayo. (All of his pals, as well as Dre and Eminem, also give voice to characters in the game.)

The gangsta posing has never sounded more tired or phony. "I'm so 'hood/First LP, 10 million sold/ I'm so good," Fiddy boasts in "I'm a Rider," before bragging for the umpteenth time about his bullet holes. "Got shot in the back/Then turned around and got shot in the eye. ... There's a message in my music/Can you hear it, guy?"

Yeah, Curtis, we got it: Shot nine times; became a rapper. Haven't you got anything else?

"I been pimpin'/Ridin' in my Coupe de Ville," the rapper croaks in "I Warned You."

Uh-uh, sorry, heard that one, too.

"I live in Connecticut, nigger/ But I run New York," Fiddy adds in the dancehall-inflected "Simply the Best."

Ah, now the man is talking! I'm not buying the King of New York bit, but boasting about living in an 18-room suburban mansion, coupled with his recent dis of Kanye West's "George Bush doesn't care about black people" comment and his oft-flaunted gun fetish, the "real" Curtis Jackson has finally revealed himself and hinted at a new pose to replace the played-out gangsta.

50 Cent: Republican poster boy. Charlton Heston, watch out.