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100pr00f
07-12-2007, 07:24 AM
50 Cent
I Was There
Interview: Sacha Jenkins Images: Ben Watts


Low ceilings, no windows, walls plastered in promotional stickers. Itís a small room in the basement of Curtis ď50 CentĒ Jacksonís grandmotherís house in Queens. And the way 50ís bulked up right nowótraining for a role in The Dance, an upcoming boxing movie with Nicholas Cageóitís a surprise he fits in here at all.

íCourse, 50ís awfully big metaphorically, too. As in, the biggest hip-hop star on the planet. Heís got the biggest portfolio, with G-Unit Records, G-Unit Clothing, G-Unit sneakers with Reebok, and a reported 10 percent stake in Glaceau Vitaminwateróthe Queens-based beverage company that just sold to Coca-Cola for a cool $4.1 billion. (Some quick math will tell you that was a big day for 50.) Now he lives in the biggest mansion in Connecticut, formerly owned by the big, big, retired heavyweight champ Mike Tyson.

Despite his size and status, the dude keeps his ear to the street and his feet in some beef. We know this. We know he got shot nine times a few years backóright outside this house, in fact. We know that his first two albums, 2003ís Get Rich or Die Tryiní and 2005ís The Massacre, combined to sell some 20 million copies worldwide. We know that Dipset don Camíron has been tryna knock his cred via Internet songs and videos and an oft-repeated cry of ďCurrrtis!Ēóthis in the same spirit of former G-Unit soldier The Gameís G U-Not campaign.

We also know that, recently, G-Unitís sales have been slipping, along with the rest of the rap industryís, and that 50 has adopted a harder line when it comes to sponsoring his troopsóexcept for his original soldier, Tony Yayo, whom he continues to support unconditionally, even in the face of Yayoís March arrest on charges he assaulted the 14-year-old son of The Gameís manager, Jimmy Henchmen. (And we learned, a week after this interview took place, that 50ís upcoming album, Curtis, originally scheduled for a June 26 release, wonít be coming out until September.)

Damn, the big homie sure has come a long way. But as he sits down on the bed where used to rest his head, 50ís more Curtis than ever.

Weíre in 50ís grandmaís house. The very crib where it all popped off.
Weíre in my grandmotherís basement. I kinda grew up right here. You seen in the movie, Get Rich or Die Tryiní, I got into an altercation with my uncles, so I had to move from upstairs down here, and they converted this into a space for me. You got to bend down to walk in.

Right. Itís pretty much like a cell.
Yeah, it is. But you know whatís crazy? Thereís, like, pinkish paneling under there. [Points to the sticker-covered wall] I ainít like it. So I took the stickersópromotional stickers from my first record I made with Jam Master Jay: ď50 Cent Means Change.Ē This was í97.

There must be a thousand stickers on these walls. I mean, is this a window into how your mind works? Like, in terms of focus?Yeah. Iíll sit there and make sure each one of them fit perfectly.

So you were living here until when?
2000. I got shot out front. I went and stayed in the Poconos after I got out of the hospital. It was me, my sonís mom and my son. I had a place that we was staying in the Poconos. And then I came back here. Then when the record took off, I went from this space right here into a 65,000-square-foot homeóMikeís house. But this is why I had to be that excessive. It had to be that big.

Whatís the story behind this house? How long has it been in your family?
Prior to Get Rich or Die Tryiní, this was the largest asset in my family. Itís worth about $250,000. Now I got cars in my yard that cost $400,000. My grandmother donít stay here no more. I bought her a house in Long Island. I own, like, five other houses.
And you wrote your new album down here?
Yeah. Curtis.

Itís musty, the floor isnít finishedÖ Why did you come back here to write?
I mean, it just brings memories back to me. Iím in my old space, see old faces, things start feeling the way they used to. Being able to write material from a perspective I couldnít probably write [from] in any other space like that. And I was in one of those funky creative spaces where I couldnít come up with nothingÖ For me, when I come back here, itís like my feet are on the ground. I donít think nothing is more painful than having known what it feel like to be successful and then having it taken away from you. So on some levels, itís healthy for me to go íhead and come from the financial space that Iím in back to here, as a reminder, so I can actually appreciate what Iíve got.

How did it feel coming back to this house the first time after youíd been shot?
Initially? Paranoia. Itís still likeóthat donít ever go away. I think, after the experience, period, you a different person. I think anyone would. Even war. Like when you go to war. Even though you signed up and you can anticipate death being around you, the experience of having lived in those threatening situations, I think, can change your character.

So it makes me almost a fatalist on some levels. I accept the fact that Iím going to die, that weíre all going to die. But what confuses me is, people think that when I say Iíma get rich or die tryiní, they think I meant it literally. If someone you respect in the workplace tells you they going to get rich or die tryiní, it simply means theyíre determined. That was my meaning for it at that point.

But I think a big part of your mystique is the potential that maybe you will die.
I will. And Iím sure that everyone else will.

No, no, no. Itís in terms ofóI think fans are thinking of the likelihood of your dying a violent, hip-hopĖrelated death.
I mean, youíre going to have random acts of violence, period. All you got to do is say to yourself, How do you actually choose to live your life? íCause youíll never get the chance to live, being afraid to die. Youíll never have an experience where youíre actually free, ícause youíre conscious and youíre afraid.

But in hip-hop, on a certain level, itís about being accessible. And because you are who you are, itís almost impossible for you to do that.
To be accessible. Like, when you reach a point that Iím at, when youíre an international rap star, the less common you appear, the bigger your celebrity. You know, so itís a different thing. You got a guy out there that just sold 500,000 copies that needs to be wherever the cameras is going off at, and Iím just not in that same space.


Some of Camíronís jabs are about your not being in the streets with the people.
What am I supposed to do, stand on the corner and smoke weed with him? I donít smoke weed, and Iím not standing on the corner. For what? I stood on the corner when that was my hustle. I got a new hustle and a new concept of a corner to stand on. The same idiot that you just mentioned went on 60 Minutes and said he wouldnít tell police about [the whereabouts of] a serial killer. Only thing missing from hip-hop is an IQ test. If youíre smart, you know thatís not the fuckiní place to say that. Then you gotta send a statement out and apologize. What does that mean? That he will snitch?

The whole ďCurtisĒ thing. That was Camís thing, his way of attacking you, and now you embraced it.
I always take things people feel are uncomfortable for me, when they arenít, and I make them comfortable. I make them not make sense to the public.

Why would someone saying your nameÖ
Thatís another point. Like Iím telling you, youíre dealing with a real idiot. He calls me the name my mother named me, to make me feel like thatís a disrespect on some level. Doesnít make sense. Curtis is now the name of my album.

Severe Punishment
07-12-2007, 09:38 AM
What am I supposed to do, stand on the corner and smoke weed with him? I donít smoke weed, and Iím not standing on the corner. For what? I stood on the corner when that was my hustle. I got a new hustle and a new concept of a corner to stand on.


I actually don't like 50 but he does make a point here ..

Come Honor Face
07-12-2007, 10:01 AM
None of this matters! However, I seen that Justin Timberlake, and Akon will be on the album. So that's already 4 tracks I've heard off the Curtis album. I gotta tell ya theyre all gay. Just flat out gay!

100pr00f
07-12-2007, 10:12 AM
i agree

HarlemDiplomat
07-12-2007, 10:26 AM
Fuck 50... nigga talkin about he don't smoke weed and don't be on the corner?

Ummm, didn't this nigga just have a fuckin song talkin about smokin tree? Nigga is a liar.

And nobody telling you to go on the corner. I mean damn, at least Gay-Z goes back to his hood and gives love.

The only time this nigga is in the hood is when hes hiding from niggaz so he goes the last place they wont find him.

Fuck 50, his album is only gonna get bought by little girls and the closet homosexual men that love seeing him with his shirt off!!!

TrueDciple
07-12-2007, 12:03 PM
Fuck 50... nigga talkin about he don't smoke weed and don't be on the corner?

Ummm, didn't this nigga just have a fuckin song talkin about smokin tree? Nigga is a liar.

And nobody telling you to go on the corner. I mean damn, at least Gay-Z goes back to his hood and gives love.

The only time this nigga is in the hood is when hes hiding from niggaz so he goes the last place they wont find him.

Fuck 50, his album is only gonna get bought by little girls and the closet homosexual men that love seeing him with his shirt off!!!


wao...

Exodus
07-12-2007, 12:06 PM
lol, I'd love to see Cam'ron take an IQ test

mofo
07-12-2007, 12:46 PM
Fuck 50... nigga talkin about he don't smoke weed and don't be on the corner?

Ummm, didn't this nigga just have a fuckin song talkin about smokin tree? Nigga is a liar.

And nobody telling you to go on the corner. I mean damn, at least Gay-Z goes back to his hood and gives love.

The only time this nigga is in the hood is when hes hiding from niggaz so he goes the last place they wont find him.

Fuck 50, his album is only gonna get bought by little girls and the closet homosexual men that love seeing him with his shirt off!!!
u mad?

HarlemDiplomat
07-12-2007, 12:51 PM
u mad?

LOL! That was my screen name at another forum... I use to post this pic alot...

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w135/HarlemDiplomat031/Umad2.jpg

wutangironflag
07-12-2007, 02:04 PM
^ lol

11th Chamber
07-12-2007, 02:11 PM
good read, kinda short tho