Over the past five years, 50 Cent has become more of a suit than a rapper. Though he tried on Before I Self Destruct, he couldn’t recapture the magic of Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Apparently having learned from that experience, 50 did the only thing he could do: move forward.
That’s exactly what “New Day,” which is produced by and features Dr. Dre as well as Alicia Keys, is about. The song, supposedly from 50’s upcoming album Street King Immortal, is a triumphant return to form for Curtis Jackson which achieves the rare feat of pleasing everyone at once. It opens with a sound bite from A Bronx Tale, with Robert De Niro’s character, Lorenzo, proclaiming the working man, the one who keeps on keeping on, the tough guy. It’s the perfect precursor to a song by 50 Cent and Dr. Dre, two guys who have faced criticism for falling off.
Dre raps with confidence in himself, which is refreshing for a guy who has been so wishy-washy about you-know-what. He also shows growth on this song, saying “Now I ride on some conscious sh*t,” and “F*ck the past, though I ain’t forgot where I came from.”
Much like they did on “Empire State of Mind,” Alicia Keys’ strong vocals steal the show. They, along with Dre’s hyper drums and uplifting production, are the reason this song will sound as good in the club as it will in your whip. The bridge between the hook and the third verse is universally relatable. “Now or never at all, I’m gonna give it my all,” Keys sings.
Of course, this is the guy who wore a gun belt on his naked torso for the cover if his debut album we’re talking about, and 50 can’t resist grimy gun talk on the second verse. This goes against the sentiment of the song, but Fif’s flow is so rejuvenated, you won’t even mind. In any case, the third verse is where he truly shines. “True story I said I’d get rich or die tryin’/I did it, good luck, sucker, tryna stop my shine,” he rhymes. For 50 “This is just another victory/except that I’m stronger than an ox now mentally.” It’s also his best joint in years.