50 Cent, G-Unit aim for modern rap relevance

NEW YORK — Older, sharper, and closer-knit than ever, the G-Unit crew is back in beast mode.

In a surprise move last August, 50 Cent’s veteran rap group released EP The Beauty of Independence, its first new effort since 2008’s T.O.S. (Terminate on Sight). Although it got off to a weak start — bowing at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 album chart and moving just 14,000 copies its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan — Beauty marked a long-awaited return to the game for the formidable hip-hop collective. G-Unit’s 2003 debut Beg for Mercy has sold more than 3 million copies to date (not to mention the platinum solo efforts of members 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck).

Another six-track EP, The Beast is G-Unit, was released Tuesday. It’s the product of mere weeks in the studio last summer, when G-Unit recorded more than 40 songs together after reuniting for a performance at Summer Jam hip-hop fest in June.

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