50 Cent celebrated July Fourth weekend by releasing his newest mixtape, Forever King, as a free download on his This Is 50 Website. The collection was originally called Sincerely Southside Part 2, but the death of Michael Jackson called for a last minute adjustment. “When Michael Jackson passed, there was a piece of artwork that had ‘King of Pop, King of Rap’ with me and his pictures. That’s what gave me the concept of the artwork. There’s a real human skull that’s got diamonds embedded in it,” he told MTV of the cover, which features 50 superimposed over artist Damien Hirst’s “For the Love of God” sculpture.
While the mixtape is dedicated to Michael Jackson, there’s only a few King of Pop nods throughout Forever King, mostly in the form of 50 saying “RIP” during the outro of a song. “Suicide Watch” samples Vincent Price’s laugh from “Thriller,” and “Michael Jackson Freestyle” is mostly about selling crack until the chorus from the Jackson 5’s “I Wanna Be Where You Are” kicks in on the second half of the song. (Prior to Jackson’s death, “Michael Jackson Freestyle” was called “Where You Are.”)
Songs sampled on Forever King include an awesome selection of obscure ’90s R&B, with Case’s “Touch Me, Tease Me,” Horace Brown’s “One For the Money” and Christopher Williams’ “Dreamin’.” And while 50 often raps just one verse before letting the original composition play out for the remaining time, between Forever King and the violent War Angel mixtape, the Queens MC is building up buzz for the September release of his official next album, Before I Self Destruct.