Its story is a form of fantasy. 50 Cent’s popularity was steeply declining after the mixed reception to his 2007 album Curtis and his commercial loss to rival Kanye West’s Graduation released on the same day, signaling for many a symbolic death of gangsta rap. Blood on the Sand represents in 2010 a nostalgic return to 2000s gangsta rap at its most baroque: grimy settings, sexist machismo, blatant violence, hyperbolic posturing. The game serves as escapist power fantasy specifically designed for 50 Cent, what writer Grant Howitt for Look, Robot identifies as “a love story” of G-Unit members showering their hero with undivided praise. Since the game pairs 50 Cent with one of three possible G-Unit teammates, these secondary characters never actually meet one another outside of cutscenes. Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, and DJ Whoo Kid thus record lines addressing 50 Cent, but 50 Cent can record all his lines in one fell swoop by responding without addressing his teammates by name. The effect is that all dialogue from G-Unit is in the service of helping or responding specifically to 50 Cent, as though they have no other interests of their own besides boosting the ego of their fellow rapper. In a new decade that has since moved on from the music of 50 Cent, Blood on the Sand functions as a glorified advertisement and fantasy revolving around the fading celebrity.
Read the full column at Haywire Magazine.