Ideal ammunition for middle class suburban kids in their dad’s Escalade and perfect cannon fodder for anyone with an active interest in hip hop, G-Unit is back with a pseudo-vengeance on their first album in five years.
T.O.S.: Terminate On Sight is the follow-up to 2003’s Beg for Mercy and it is an antagonistic shred through the current beefs and issues on the crew’s mind. As is usually the case with hip hop millionaires, however, those beefs and issues tend to be less than gripping. 50 Cent may have been shot a number of times, but his lyrical weight fits more within gated communities than it does with the hard streets of Queens.
G-Unit is down a member on T.O.S. Young Buck has apparently committed the principal sin of fraternizing with known Gorilla Unit “enemies” like Lil Wayne. Buck also apparently had the nerve to complain about not receiving royalty cheques and, like a true Boss, 50 Cent cut him loose. The problem with T.O.S. is that it was cut before Buck was cut and, as such, features five tracks with the most talented member G-Unit ever had.
50 Cent, Tony Yayo, and Lloyd Banks are left with the rest of T.O.S. and it is a featureless attempt ingrained in second-rate pop-rap rubbish. It’s filled to the lip with bogus millionaire vs. millionaire beefs for the purpose of hype and a number of songs about how hardcore the Unit wishes they were. They even lift lines from Wu-Tang to boost their fictional integrity (“Money Make the World Go Round”).
Thankfully the production is pretty tight, as the minimalistic approach has always served these guys best. Swiss Beatz supplies some magic on the best track “Get Down,” which by and large sounds like it belongs on another record with better rappers.
And there are rare bright spots, like the album’s lead track “Straight Outta Southside” or “You So Tough.”
Overall, though, T.O.S. is just another lukewarm entry for Mumbles and the Gang to labour through. “Rider Pt. 2” is about as mind-numbing as it gets and the title track is grating and dim-witted. It’s as though G-Unit is almost humiliated to cut some of these tracks. If they weren’t, they should have been.
T.O.S. finds a conked-out group of mediocre rappers stringing together a chain of suburban soft-core rap. This isn’t gangster rap; it’s soccer mom rap.
After having been owned by Kanye on the charts, Fiddy sounds distracted and befuddled and his crew isn’t much better. As bad as 50 Cent can get, the grand comfort with G-Unit is that there’s typically someone right behind him to come off worse.