(AllHipHop News) It has been 12 years since 50 Cent burst onto the mainstream music scene with his debut studio album Get Rich or Die Tryin '. From there, the Hip Hop mogul has expanded his brand to include music, fashion, film, television, and liquor.
Big Issue caught up with the G-Unit leader for the "Letter To My Younger Self" series. 50 used the opportunity to discuss two of his mentors - Jam Master Jay and Eminem. The "Wanksta" rhymer also reflected on Get Rich or Die Tryin ' selling over 872,000 copies in its first week.
On Jam Master Jay:
I started writing lyrics full time in 1997. I met Jam Master Jay from Run DMC and he had his label, which would take people on and develop them until they were ready to go to a major. Jay taught me how to count bars – and when the chorus should start and stop. And I kept practising. Sometimes hard work beats talent. I wrote all the time, and so I got better and better.
I think Jay liked me ‘cause I looked like the lyrics. I had all the jewelry, I looked like a hustler. I’d been on the street so long, people respected me. The honest truth is, at that point, the drug dealers were the leaders of the neighborhood. They had more money than the rappers. The things LL Cool J and Run DMC wanted were the things guys hustling already had. Now, of course, the artists are way richer than the dealers, the hip hop culture has grown so much.
Eminem had this competitive energy that made him the guy all the other rappers worried about. From early days, he was this great battle artist. The guys who were up against him would think of everything you could say about him, then he’d say those things about himself first. So everything they had against him, he took it away. He was writing all this personal stuff. I was never anything like that. I came into music with songwriting intentions ‘cause that’s where the money was.
On releasing get Rich Or Die Tryin':
If I could go back to any time, I’d go back to when the sales figure for the first week of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ came out. I went to sit at the back of the tour bus and just thought, wow. I couldn’t believe it. When I got those sales I knew that from now on I didn’t have to wait for someone else to say it was okay, I could say it was okay myself. But I also knew that feeling, that confirmation, that finally you have the momentum – you only feel it once. I knew I would never have that feeling again. ‘Cause everything was about to change.
Read 50 Cent's full "Letter To My Younger Self" here.