Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent) plans to Get Rich or Die
Tryin (the title of his new album). In other words,
he wants to achieve the American Dream. Yet, America
has likely never heard it put quite like he put it before.
Then again, no one has ever heard a story like 50s
before. His mother, Sabrina, was a hustler.
She was murdered before Curtis was 8. He never knew
his father. He went to live with his grandparents and
was selling drugs before his teen years. I started
hustling at 12, my mother hustled ahead of me. I was
only allowed to because they knew me, Oh, thats
Sabrinas little boy. Let him do something.
In that situation I felt like I had no option.
In 1994, he was convicted of possession of a controlled
substance, and served three years. Curtis Jackson went
in, 50 Cent came out. Read the conversation with the
hottest name on the streets
Real Detroit: The release date for Get Rich or Die
Tryin is 2/11 [Editors note: The release
date was actualy moved to February 6.], which is the
numerical police code for robbery in progress. Take
me back. Tell me about How To Rob.
50 Cent: When I made How To Rob, I was
on a major label with Celine Dion, Mark Anthony, Mariah
Carey, all of these big stars. I had to make a record
that made people ask Who is 50 Cent?
RD: Which is exactly what happened. So what went down
at Columbia (Records)?
50: Columbia didnt understand 50 Cent; to them,
people [like me] only get shot on TV. I was shot three
days before I was supposed to shoot my first video (Thug
Love with Destinys Child). They freaked
out. Major labels would prefer to work with studio
gangstas, its less of a risk.
RD: After you were dropped, you hit the mix-tape circuit.
Where did that motivation come from?
50: When I was at Columbia, I would ask questions,
find out what peoples jobs were. If you put me
in a hands-on situation, Im gonna learn real fast.
They didnt realize the importance of the black
market and mix-tapes, so I used the connections I made,
and did what they werent doing. And I had the
worst deal, Ma, for like eight albums.
RD: [Laughs] I guess everything happens for a reason
50: If I didnt get shot, I wouldnt have
gotten dropped from Columbia
RD: If you hadnt been dropped from Columbia
50: I wouldnt be in the situation Im in
RD: So youve always had a huge street buzz, sometimes
more from controversy than from your music. Do you think
that has changed now?
50: Im glad that the music is doing so well,
but theres still controversy.
RD: What do you think is a common misconception about
50: People think Im crazy. Im not crazy.
RD: How do you feel about how you are portrayed in
50: Two days ago, I was killed in LA. CNN reported
that. What if my grandmother had seen that and had a
heart attack? People talk about lyrical content. There
is no media responsibility. Movies, the porn industry,
it has to be across the board or its ineffective.
RD: What about the people who do say, or will say,
that you glorify violence or drug sales because of your
50: People who glorify that lifestyle are total frauds.
Y know? Cuz the people who do it feel that
they have no choice.
RD: If they could, they would do something better.
50: Right. Im a murderer. Where my murderers
at? [When artists say things like that, its]
cuz [theyre] frauds. Ive been in situations
where either it was me or somebody else, and I handled
my business. But after that you go through a whole process.
You stop thinking about the police finding out what
you did. You start thinking about God knowing what just
happened. Ive been in situations that would have
you running around with a Bible in your pocket. I just
speak on my life.
RD: I feel that. Okay, its been said that you
are the most anticipated artist since Biggie. Is that
a lot of pressure?
50: No, not really. The anticipation comes from New
York. Theyve been listening to me for two years
now, and its been consistent, good performances.
Now their imagination is saying, I wonder what
hell sound like with Dre and Eminem being
that they are the best producers and rappers in the
game. Consistency is the key to all success. If I can
consistently deliver a good performance, then they wont
have to wait until they see a bootlegger and buy it
for $5, theyll give up that $16.
RD: The marketing and promotions for the project is
like nothing Ive ever seen before. Are you involved
in those decisions?
50: Absolutely, everything you see on the streets.
I feel like Im a marketing person now.
RD: Lets talk about the album, what was your
creative control like?
50: I aint have no boundaries
Em never says Dont say that or Can
you change that? If anything, they are always
saying that to him. And Dre, hes got to understand
what Im doing, hes from NWA.
RD: Theres a lot of diverse production on the
album. Dre has five tracks, Em only has two. Why was
50: It was important because I had done so many records
previously. Ive been working on this album the
whole time. I would make a mix-tape record, then make
a real record. The ones that I felt were the best, I
RD: What is it like working with Eminem?
50: Im starting to figure it out. I think that
what happened to Em happened so fast that he hasnt
even really realized how big he is. Hes still
down-to-earth and humble, despite the fact that he can
rap circles around the game. Hes so talented sometimes
it can become annoying. Plus he cant really toot
his own horn, it makes people uneasy; but I can. The
boy is No. 1. Were alike in a lot of ways, he
speaks a lot from his life experience, otherwise you
wouldnt know who Kim was. I do the same, its
just a little more gunplay, more life-threatening situations.
RD: I know you always wear a bulletproof vest
50: Yeah, I put it on right after my underwear.
RD: Are you afraid? Afraid to die young, like emcees
50: I get asked that a lot. It seems for some reason
that people think Im gonna die and theyre
gonna live, like forever. To them its more believable
that Ill die than them, then they get into a car
and smash into something. Death is promised to all of
us, Ma. Where did Pac get killed? That passenger
seat. Where did Biggie get killed? That passenger seat.
Where did 50 Cent get shot? The backseat, but still
in the car, shooters are comfortable shooting in vehicles
so Ive got a bulletproof vehicle. Im a target,
but I dont dwell on it.
RD: How were you impacted by the death of Jam Master
50: Since I got shot, I dont get worked up about
things that are out of my control. I got shot blocks
away from where Jay was killed. I get excited about
things I can prevent ... [50 quotes The Serenity
Prayer] I have to stay focused and keep working.
RD: Youve survived 9 bullet wounds and were only
in the hospital for 13 days, thats basically a
medical miracle. Do you feel like you have a destiny?
Are you fulfilling it right now?
50: Yes. I think Im supposed to do something
more positive. But anything that changes
too fast is no good. The people that listen to me wont
listen if I bring forth too much of a positive message
too soon. I mean, my situation, alone, is being a role
model. I dont have to say Rap it up
every two seconds, or Dont do drugs
every two seconds. They know theyre not supposed
to use drugs, and they know theyre supposed to
put a condom on. The fact that I exist is saying theres
always a possibility. Theres always hope. | RDW
The Get Rich or Die Tryin Record Release Party
is taking place on Sunday, February 9 at the State Theater,
hosted by WJLBs Bushman & DJ Green Lantern.
Also performing are Web Entertainment artist King Gordy
of The Fat Killahz, who appeared in 8 Mile as Big O,
a local rap star making it big. Shady Records recording
artists D12 and Obie Trice will also open the show.
50 confirmed Were going to drink Bacardi
like its your birthday.
Interview by RealDetroit for GetRealDetroit.com