Thoughts of a Predicate Felon
The cover-art is spectacular. Tony Yayo peers through the bars at a mirror, searching the hallways for a chance at freedom more convincingly than anyone on Prison Break. The title is more poetic than we’ve come to expect from G-Unit debuts, Thoughts of a Predicate Felon. 50 Cent hasn’t used a three-syllable word like that in years.
Track four is decent, though it’s hard to imagine a real gangster referring to backstabbers as a “Tattle Teller.” But I can respect what Yayo is trying to do here, re-create that thrilling yet chilling suspense of late-90s rap, when rap feuds where as prevalent as hit songs. Then it all falls apart. And not surprisingly, it’s the G-Unit lineage that brings Yayo down. 50 comes in on “So Seductive,”a ridiculous tune that moves from bravado to sexuality without any sense. The rapper belongs on songs like “Eastside Westside,” which rely on simple cinematic piano grooves that compliment his scary guttural stories of violence and crime. Instead there are one too many songs like “Curious,” with sing-song choruses and rather bland lyrics.
While the album pretends to give a glimpse of a criminal mind, or at least that of a jailed black man; it in actuality defers to pseudo stories hobbled by that same lame misogyny that hounds most of contemporary hip-hop. Yayo comes off neither as a convincing “gangsta” nor a suave, street-smart ladies man. Sex, money, masculine pride, are these the only thoughts of a predicate felon? But the cover promised so much more!