The autumn release of 50 Cent'sCurtis
surely has Interscope execs sweating like pigs praying not to be butchered. WillCurtis
save the G-Unit empire or hasten its demise? While they're waiting, the suits should parse related releases for hints. The formulaicRotten Apple
, the sophomore effort from Lloyd Banks, went top three. Nashville rhymer Young Buck (aka David Brown) repeated Banks' achievement with his own second disc,Buck the World
. However, unlike his fellow G-Unit member Banks, Buck achieved success by reaching beyond the posse's signature sound. Finding inspiration in his Southern roots, he also looks outside the G-Unit stable for guests like Ky-Mani Marley and Lyfe Jennings. But that doesn't make
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a better album. Other than "Slow Your Roll," a roll call of the dead and damned, Buck is as lyrically stunted as before. And the most memorable track, "Lose My Mind," is skeletal, screamed hip-hop produced by G-Unit mentor Eminem. IfBuck the World
doesn't totally buck the G-Unit orthodoxy, it at least shows there's life beyond Fiddy — a fact that could mean a lot more this fall. -- Dan Leroy