Is it only me, or does anybody else find the way that 50 Cent's publicity focuses almost exclusively on his having been shot just a little, well, ghoulish? It's as if he's being sold as the heir apparent to Tupac and Biggie, his proximity to death apparently a powerful enough lure to shift some eight million copies of his debut album. He's the gangsta so baaad that not even bullets could keep him down - though I'm sure Ladbrokes would probably still give shorter odds on his dying violently than, say, Kylie. The term "self-fulfilling prophecy" springs to mind - as well it might with mates like G-Unit, a crew of such single-minded devotion to firearms they make Charlton Heston seem like a pinko liberal. The lyrics to Beg for Mercy read like some grotesque cross between Hustler and Guns & Ammo, with names such as Uzi, Desert Eagle, Mac-10 and Ruger intoned as if they were the sacraments of some perverse religion, and the various handguns' specifications are recited with a grisly, psychopathic relish, frequently punctuated by gunshots, as the Unit issue their unending stream of threats. And compared with the creepy, dehumanised carnality of tracks like "I Smell Pussy" and "Groupie Love" (sample line: "Treat me like a lollipop, lick me baby/ Then lick Dre and Shady"), the sidearm so lovingly hymned in "My Buddy" is clearly valued much more highly than mere people.