You know the story. Nine shots couldnt stop him; he took them and smiled. He flipped his real life trauma into multi-platinum plaques and took over the game in one fell swoop. Four years later, after his monster debut Get Rich Or Die Trying, Curtis Jackson is in a true position of power.
Considering he holds so much weight in the game, you would expect 50 Cent to wear his ego on his sleeve. On the contrary, Fif is very reserved. He talks and walks like an old boss now; always thinking before speaking and moving only when he wants to move. His infamous willingness to throw his adversaries under the bus without a hint of conscience is not removed though; the code of cobras is still very much in effect.
Now with rap sales drying up, crew members getting their official discharge, and challenges from Camron, 50 knows its all eyes on him going into the release of his new album Curtis. AllHipHop.coms Streets is Talking interview series finally gets the facts straight on 50 before one of us self-destructs.
AllHipHop.com: Who was Curtis Jackson as a child?
50 Cent: Well, I mean, I was real active. I needed to slow down a little bit; they had to give me medication for that. My grandmother used to use it to keep me under control, like If you dont stop, Im going to give you your medicine. I wasnt a bad kid; I was just overactive. I was always into something. My grandparents were looking after me; thats when my moms was still around. I moved in with my grandparents and I kind of chilled. Physically, it slowed me down, but my head kept racing.
AllHipHop.com: Do you remember what kind of medication it was?
50 Cent: Nah, I dont remember exactly what it was. I was young.
AllHipHop.com: Growing up, who were you checking for music wise? Who did you idolize?
50 Cent: Well, I was a fan. I enjoyed KRS-One early on. Criminal Minded, [by Boogie Down Productions] that material was a reflection of the mentality that lived in my neighborhood. Then, later on, he started giving so much information because he was really intelligent, that he kind of lost us.
AllHipHop.com: Is there anyone in particular you look at for their lyricism?
50 Cent: Rakim, and a lot of other artists. But we really appreciated them after they had hits.
AllHipHop.com: Looking back, the original incident that started the friction between you and Ja Rule was when he got stuck for his chain. Ja later sees you with the dude that robbed him, correct?
50 Cent: Yeah.
AllHipHop.com: After the alleged robbery, Ja sees you with the person in question and then theres beef.
50 Cent: Nah, he was just different. I guess in his head, we were peers because we both rapped, but my life prior to music was different from his life. This is the n***a knocking on your door every Saturday trying to sell you a Watchtower; we [were] just raised differently. Meanwhile, I didnt have anyone to take care of me, so I was taking care of myself earlier; I was hustling since I was 12.
AllHipHop.com: So after the alleged robbery, he didnt step to you?
50 Cent: Nah, the n***a who I grew up with robbed him. There was no connection between me and him prior to him actually robbing the n***a. Later, I see him at Club Amazura [in Queens]. He see me there laughing and playing around with the n***a, and he started feeling some kind of way based on that. He's looking like Thats the n***a that robbed me right there, and he sees me over there laughing and playing with him and it kind of tilted from that. Because later on, I was like What up. I said what up to the n***a and [he s] acting funny like he didnt want to say whats up. I was like, This n***a is a b***h ass; this n***a [is] a sucker. The n***a that robbed you is right there and you aint doing nothing. And you acting like you dont want to say whats up now. So it started off [as] some bulls**t, but thats the way life is where I come from.
AllHipHop.com: So you see Ja in Atlanta and yall start fighting. Allegedly, you laid him out and popped his chain as well, is that true?
50 Cent: Nah, thats not true. I punched him in the face though. I punched him in his eye and I left out of the altercation with the actual chain.
AllHipHop.com: Is it true that Kenneth Supreme McGriff gave you a watch in exchange for the chain back?
50 Cent: Nah, not Preme, one of the other old heads. They wanted to give the chain back in good faith, nahmean?
AllHipHop.com: What kind of watch was it? Was it a Rolex?
50 Cent: A Movado.
AllHipHop.com: You still got it?
50 Cent: Nah, he had two of them. He was like, Blood or Crip? A red one or a blue one.
AllHipHop.com: Fast forward to when you got shot, you say that you were hit nine times, but there is paperwork that has surfaced in the last month that Darryl "Hommo" Baum fired multiple shots, but you only were hit three times. Can you clear that up?
50 Cent: That must be maybe this one [points to his wrist], this one [points to his forearm] and this one [points to his cheek]. And then this one right here [points to his right leg] and there and all of these s**ts right here are a myth, right? My whole f**king hip from here to the top of my knee was broke. Maybe it was [a myth]; I dont remember.
AllHipHop.com: Gunplay is a subject you often touch upon in your records, any reason why you didnt get back at the dudes who set you up?
50 Cent: Well the n***a that shot me [is] dead, what you want me to do? The n***a that sent them to shoot me is in jail; he got life. You know?
AllHipHop.com: That was going to be my next question. The dude that did send them, is that dude right?
50 Cent: Yeah.
AllHipHop.com: After your recovery, there was a supposed blacklisting on you within the industry. Did you ever feel it?
50 Cent: The music business is based in New York City - being that all the major companies have office space, employees and representation of their company [in New York]. With all the momentum I had on the mixtape circuit prior to me signing to Eminem and Dr. Dre, they werent knocking on my door. They werent coming to see me like that. Thats why I give them my ass to kiss now. You know why New York City Hip-Hop is f**ked up? Because of 50 Cent. When you take all those artists from the Southern based markets and you add up their releases, it still dont add up to what my album release is. Every time I come, I sell more records than all of them in one pot, you see what Im saying? So I am New York City.
AllHipHop.com: So lets talk about what you got going now in regards to Curtis. I know you approached the production differently as opposed to just getting beat CDs. You sat down with Kanye, Pharrell, and Will.I.Am any memorable studio sessions?
50 Cent: Well, all of them, just to see a different perspective. They all had interesting directions musically. I had pretty much finished what I felt was the record. I just wanted to see if there was something I was missing, because one of them might have a jewel.
AllHipHop.com: Why previously have you stuck to just the beat CDs?
50 Cent: I think everything sounds good in really good studios. Music is loud and its sonically right, it sounds better. When Im listening to it in [my] Walkman or some other s**t, I can kind of feel what Im doing. Its the real s**t.
AllHipHop.com: You had previously mentioned Jay-Zs marketing plan for Kingdom Come album. You have shown real respect for his set-up...
50 Cent: It was great.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your marketing looking like for this album?50 Cent: Its [less than] a fraction of Jay-Zs marketing plan. I never had that type of financial support around an album release. Thats the first [time] I ever seen that. And he moved 1.6 million records; I sold 1.1 [million] in my first four days on my last album [The Massacre]. So well see what the climate of Hip-Hop sales is when my record comes out. I just want a good launch. That might have been too much, that might have been too big. You ever thought about that? I think theres a point you can get overexposed on some levels. Thats my only answer I [can] come up in my head why he didnt sell truckloads of records, because that was supposed to be [Michael Jacksons] Thriller based on the marketing. Its like 15 million dollars - thats like a movie marketing budget.
AllHipHop.com: Have you ever felt like you have been overexposed so far?
50 Cent: Nah, I think the music business is conditioned for something different. It used to be you come back and go away, then come back and then go away. But my business model is coming [from] the curb. Because Im off the corner, Ill hustle as long there is money coming through, then well slowly fall back and set up shop somewhere else.
AllHipHop.com: Another rumor that has surfaced as of late is that you are leaving Interscope Records to go to Warner Brothers. Is there any truth to that?
50 Cent: Well, theres no truth to that. Ill explain to you my situation: right now, my album Curtis is ready to come out. The next album Before I Self Destruct is scheduled to be released February 4th. Following that, they have an option to release a greatest hits album, [then] my Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records requirements will be completed at that point and well renegotiate. Or Ill explore other options of me doing something different.
AllHipHop.com: Are you happy at Interscope?
50 Cent: I have a really strong influence at Interscope as a record company. Interscope is a reactive company; they are not proactive. I hate to be in a room where I want to sell records more than anybody else in the room. I think everybody in that motherf**ker should be fired and we should find new people to put in the room when I feel that way. On some levels, they interpret me like Im crazy a little bit, but I might be. What crazy person knows hes crazy? I got defects of character; my mind is a little different from everybody elses, [and I] probably aint as visible because Im conscious to some of it.
AllHipHop.com: So whats the difference between Curtis and Before I Self Destruct?
50 Cent: Theres a huge difference. The last album is more aggressive. I had planned to release that record [pauses] I could have probably been banned if I were to release that record at this point, with the climate of things going on.
AllHipHop.com: Can you expand on that comment a little bit further?
50 Cent: Nah, they can check it out [on] February 4th.
AllHipHop.com: Recently, Camron put out a video replying to your jabs of him being snuffed by Tru-Life. Im sure you saw it
50 Cent: These n***as is jokers. Let me tell you something: hes the best bowling pin I ever met in my life, man. I dont even have to do nothing, you can just fall back and he just going to continue to do things to make [himself] look crazy. But I said it, man: we like Jimmy [Jones] actually better than Cam, and he should actually be running Dipset. And thats from my perspective, because hes generating the interest for their crew right now with a big hit like [We Fly High], while [Camron is] constantly making decisions that makes his whole crew look crazy.
I can appreciate an idiot every now and then. He tickles me. [Laughs] He puts a video message to Miss Info and to YouTube in his underwear and a wife-beater and then says, Get a shot of the pool. I got hot tubs bigger than that pool that he pointed to, [mimicking Camron] Man, look at the palm trees. [Laughs] Hes delusional, for you to even make any reference to any financials considering his space; youre out of your mind. Hes not even a fraction [of my worth]. See, [Jay-Z] had a different way of dealing with it, Jay wouldnt say anything. Like Look at these bums, they want attention, I aint going to help them. Nah, Ill keep going until you're bodied completely, like nobody wants to buy nothing from you. You see what Im saying, so we got different a concept of how we deal it. In fact everybody that I have had an altercation with has had an altercation with Jay at some point. That should be an indication to their discomfort of the success that Ive been having. You see and people will look at it as like, 50 [is] always into [drama]. Nah, its because Im willing to address it. But if theyre willing to compete, Ill take all comers.
AllHipHop.com: When I spoke to Young Buck a couple of weeks ago, he said you put him a in position to win.
50 Cent: Yeah.
AlllHipHop.com: After all that went down behind that Koch Records conversation on Hot 97, what were your final thoughts of Prodigy's Return Of The Mac album?
50 Cent: I thought it was cool. Over at Koch, Prodigy do what he wants to do, and I let him. I had to let him out of the [G-Unit] contract to let him [release albums on Koch]. If you wanting to go do it, Im going to roll; Im not in the business of holding people back. You know what you never heard about me? You never heard nobody say anything f**ked up about me [concerning] money, you never heard a n***a say I beat him. You ever heard Puffy beat them?
50 Cent: You ever heard Master P beat them?
AllHipHop.com: Of course.
50 Cent: Have you heard people say Baby beat them?
AllHipHop.com: Of Course.
50 Cent: That just means they had the business savvy. and good businesspeople have people around them with a running conscience. They didnt steal anything from the n***a that said they beat them. They had no idea of what was going on and felt cheated later as they started gathering information. But my artists are well-informed. Im teaching them.