Streets is Watching: 50 Cent Part Two

Video Editor Sam StokesVideographer Slim Upon’s relaunch, Part One of the “Streets is Talking: 50 Cent” interview ran, touching on new albums, longstanding feuds, and some label rumors. Two weeks later comes the second half—delving deep into 50 Cent’s past, for an always candid look into the mind of Curtis Jackson. With a memory […]

Video Editor Sam StokesVideographer Slim

Upon’s relaunch, Part One of the “Streets is Talking: 50 Cent” interview ran, touching on new albums, longstanding feuds, and some label rumors. Two weeks later comes the second half—delving deep into 50 Cent’s past, for an always candid look into the mind of Curtis Jackson.

With a memory that catches tiny details, there seems to be no area one can’t go with 50. Arguably the King of Rap for the last several years goes as far as to request a writer to ask whatever questions were screened by labels and management.


In an age of political-correctedness, 50 Cent presents himself in living color, speaking so freely. The man behind the scenes can be humble at times, but he appears unflinchingly honest.


As the other two icons of rap frequently don sunglasses when questioned, Fif looks you in the eye, and gives you his humanity.

As Curtis is delayed a quarter, one can only wonder what’s going on behind those eyes. The Streets are Talking, so is 50, but it’s the things he won’t tell you without a beat underneath that have made him an iconic superstar.


What he does speak on though, a reader would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. You released “How To Rob” during your label situation at Columbia Records. The record caused quite a stir amongst the industry, but created publicity too. A couple of people had some words for you after that, namely Ghostface Killah and Big Pun. What was the situation like when you bumped into Ghost in the Sony building? 

50 Cent: Well it was no altercation or none of that, so it’s all good. We got a lot of egos in Hip-Hop. The competitive nature in Hip-Hop just makes them want to constantly compete with who is in their division. At that point, that was desperation out of me. That was me being on my second record company, them not understanding me again…approaching a release date where there was no momentum at all… and when I did drop “How To Rob” and it did start getting momentum and it worked out, they took the record and put it on the In Too Deep Soundtrack. It never equated to anything for me. So outside bumping into Ghost, and Big Pun saying something back to you on a record, did you ever get confronted by anyone else mentioned on that song after that record got big?

50 Cent: No, I think the chorus made it clear what my intentions were “This ain’t serious/being broke can make you delirious.” If a person wanted a problem after that, they just wanted a f**king problem anyway, like you know. You soon started hanging with Nas. Did you two click or was it for business? 

50 Cent: Well you can’t just decide to hang out with someone who’s got momentum. Nas, when he first came around, [he said] “Yo, you remind me of [me] when I first came out.”  That’s his perception of it. He actually took me on the Nastradamus tour. He was a good dude; I liked him because he had did something for nothing. It’s hard to mistake a person as someone who isn’t genuine; when they do something that you know is beneficial to you with nothing to look forward to receiving in response to their actions. When you were rolling with him, you did the song “Projects Too Hot” with Nature and Nas. There were some obvious jabs to Roc-A-Fella Records on the hook, were you aware of the building tension between Nas and Jay?

50 Cent: Nah, I didn’t feel anything. Speaking of records and controversy, did any of the old timers mentioned on “Ghetto Qu’ran (Forgive Me)” ever step to you? You were still living in Queens at the time; did you ever feel tension on the streets after you released that joint?

50 Cent: None. Everybody who heard the [still unreleased] record, appreciated it. That’s a big misconception. People try to figure out a reason, like that’s the police trying to figure out a reason saying it’s because of the song [that Jam Master Jay was killed], like get the f**k out here. Nas made a record [“Get Down”] after [mine] that salutes some of the same n***as, but n***as call me a snitch for doing it. There’s a difference. They’re upset because it hurts them to watch me to win.  People get upset; they will feel discomfort to having [to] watch me do good. What was your take on when a lot of the rappers in the Hip-Hop Community started labeling you as a snitch? How did that make you feel?

50 Cent: That’s the worst thing you can actually be in the environment I’m from. Yeah right, they going to call you that. If I snitched, then who I told on? You see what I’m saying? They said I was supposed to show up at Preme’s trial; [the] trial came and went. See what I’m saying? They’re going to say whatever they’re going to say. You can’t control the media, they’re the people that see you outside of that, [who] have no knowledge of what they’re talking about and they just heard someone else say it and ran with it. What’s your definition of snitching?

50 Cent: Well snitching is giving them information. You’re giving information to the authorities, bottom line, that’s it. They were trying to say I was snitching by writing my experience and having real s**t pulled into my music. I don’t know what to write about if I don’t use my experience. And then I say a n***a is a snitch if he sends his kids into the precinct to point n***as out. I’d say someone is a snitch if they let their girl go into the precinct and they sit and fall back. Come on, man. When Jam Master Jay was killed in October 2002, it was said that the police stepped to you and put you under police protection, is that true?

50 Cent: Nah, I was supposed to perform at Mars 2112 the night Jam Master Jay got killed. They said, “If 50 touches the sidewalk, we’re just going to arrest him.” Because they felt like whoever killed Jam Master Jay… [pauses], they was thinking early on… [pauses]… you got a body there and you know [there’s] a homicide, before you came in this place to kill a person, right, you know it’s an intended situation. You go, “Where’s the answers to this lie?” It lies between his friends and his enemies. And when you go through Jam Master Jay and his enemies, you have a long list. And when you go through his friends, and I pop up, it’s all, “S**t, he’s not an angel.”

You’ve got to understand, if he wants to make an album, he’s right next to a precinct that has had chases, motorcycle chases and different s**t where they were chasing me for different reasons. They have a perception of me that’s darker from my youth and they just assume that it just had some type of connection early on. You think that person that’s in jail now who sent them dudes to get you has anything to do with Jay’s death?

50 Cent: I have no idea. And if I told you I did have an idea, I’d be a snitch. During the Irv and Supreme trials, it came out that certain Murder Inc. employees and related individuals were tracking your whereabouts through two-way pagers.

50 Cent: Yeah, I mean I was off the radar for the most part. I ain’t run into nobody that I [wasn’t] supposed to be dealing with; I was moving how I was supposed to. So if somebody [were] to say, “Your man [is] in the hood,” that’s what they’re saying on the pagers. You know, telling n***as where I was at, but that n***a’s brown-nosing. When you got real drama, you gotta be low, baby. When you come out, you got to put your dancing shoes on. So it just doesn’t bother me. What’s the deal with the video for “Amusement Park” being accepted at MTV? People saying it got rejected at MTV, but I saw it the other day and I didn’t see anything too crazy?

50 Cent: Yeah, you know what it is? I got energy around that is great, it works in my favor. But it’s a negative thing, people want to say something that ain’t right about me. I think it comes from watching me having so much success that they are sick of it—I mean in a short period of time—you got guys out there that [have] been successful a lot longer than me.  I think my confidence, they mistake it for arrogance. I come from a place that’s cold, where nobody ain’t going to believe in you; so if you don’t believe in yourself, you ain’t going to make it.  I can’t escape what I am. Recently, you made some comments about Master P at a press junket for BET. You commented that Master P doesn’t sell any records, and more or less, isn’t very relevant. 

50 Cent: You got to say what they said to me before you say what I said. They said, “Master P was agreeing to censor himself; not to say certain words in his music.” Check this out, because he is not as current as he used to be, maybe he’ll compromise himself and not do it. Maybe he’s a different person than he was. But initially, when he came in, he had content [like] Ice Cream Man, you understand what I’m saying?  It was a different thing. And for me, don’t expect me to compromise myself. If it’s over, then it’s over; I’ll find something else to do. But I’m not going to not say what I would say when it comes time to write the record. He recently wrote an editorial on and one of the first things he mentioned was that he paid for your first tour in the South. Is that true?

50 Cent: What he did was he made an investment in himself. P is a really smart businessman. He took me on the road with just me and him right out on the tour. Yeah, at the time, I was getting about $8,000 a show, I was on a mixtape. I had no commercial records out. On the mixtape energy alone, I was touring through the South with Master P. And he was like, “Let me bring him,” because I had that momentum at the time.  He gave me $250,000 for 10 shows; that was big. You know coming off my corner, $250,000 is a lot.  So I ran around with him and did what we did. I don’t understand how that relates to him [being] willing to censor himself. Well in response to the press junket, he definitely brought that point up, it was actually one of his opening statements in his editorial. He also said, and it’s not directed towards you, that people in rap need to grow up a little. 

50 Cent: So he’s in a different place now obviously. If he feels different, then he has his rights and he’s entitled to his own opinion. How could you tell a painter to paint a picture and don’t use black when you’re painting this room; it’s impossible for him to be accurate. Hip-Hop is a mirror, what we writing is a reflection of the environment of what’s going on.

[To the interviewer]

You got a [magazine] in front of you right now Don Diva. A lot of the stuff they might be writing may be more realer to the guys that end up in those publications than the actual artists that are writing it, but they are influenced by those people so they write from that perspective. It’s entertaining to them, and it’s something real about it.  It’s a part of their experience. If they have been altered by it in any way, then it’s part of their actual experience. Moving along…did your heavy influence at Interscope translate into you going to Dr. Dre and telling him, “I just kicked Game off G-Unit. It’s either me or him, you got to choose.”

50 Cent: Do you even have to ask that question to know the answer to that one? I ain’t have to tell him; Dre [has] been around for a long time. I mean, it’s obvious, if you know how much I put into the actual work, as far as the album is concerned. If you remember, you just heard me say I wrote 10 songs for the concept of Before I Self Destruct, put them on the side to start creating the Curtis [album]. [I] conceptually developed the record, it’s done and ready [to be] presented to the general public. Before I Self Destruct has 10 records completed, and I only have five songs left to complete my total studio requirement [to Interscope].

My last album The Massacre, [had] 22 songs on it, the maximum playing time possible.  Technically, it’s a double CD. I started writing an album that I recorded 12 or 13 records [for] in three days. It was two verse songs, so the songs weren’t all the way completed, but it was just the ideas was complete. I put those songs on the side before I completed The Massacre. The songs that went on the side, six of those songs surfaced when Game couldn’t complete his album. I did the deal; Game completed the album. I had excess; I had a computer full of hit records, of material. I brought him to the house; I gave him “Hate It Or Love It,” “How We Do,” “Church For Thugs,” “Special,” “Higher,” “Westside Story”—there you have it, The Documentary.

Three of those records I just mentioned to you were his first three singles. So anybody that is confused at this point is out of their f**king mind. The difference between a good rapper, and a good songwriter, now you give him a record with the chorus built in, he’s going to get busy [sings “It’s Okay (One Blood)”]. When you give him a record that don’t have a chorus on there, he’s going to do his 50 Cent rendition. That’s the only way he figures he can actually pull it off, you got to make reference to something. Anything else you want to touch on that we didn’t touch that’s current?  Any new business dealings, updates, signings, acquisitions? 

50 Cent: I think we pretty much got it. What kind of questions you wanted to ask me that they asked you not to ask? Censorship, and your opinion on the ongoing debates…

50 Cent: You know what I think? Those people are what they can deliver. Anybody who is actually willing to be something different based on a few people saying, “Oh, that’s not right, this is the way I was raised.” I’m giving you something from my heart or making the music that’s actually capturing a feeling, then why would I change it? Like it doesn’t make sense to me, I can’t understand that to save my life. Why would you ban words in music that you are willing to ban in television that you are not willing to ban on cable television? If you are going to provide a platform, [allow] Sirius and XM Radio those platforms to exist where’s that acceptable, then why would you say it’s not okay to say it when the CD clearly has a big ass advisory sticker on it? And Walmart only sells the clean version of the record, so it’s optional for you to buy that content or not. You know what it is? All this s**t is underlying racial s**t.

That Don Imus s**t, first of all, his apology was accepted by the young ladies, because the young ladies don’t see themselves as “nappy headed hoes.” So you make your references to “b***h, hoe, s###,” or whatever you want to say on the record. Have you heard these things on a record before, have women around you been appalled to hearing that because they heard that playing? They don’t usually find disrespect in that, you know why? Because they don’t usually direct it to themselves; you just hear it. It’s just something that’s just going on.  In one ear, out the other, you feel that I’m saying?

What it is when Don Imus is gone off his show, we angry at White folks, then they go, “It’s not okay for Don Imus to say it, but it’s okay for the rappers to say it?” And then the people we consider Black leaders, go after Hip-Hop also to make themselves not appear biased, man. But at the same time, I think they’re escaping the fact [that] Hip-Hop has made more Black millionaires than any other art form than you can point to; to point to it as you want to destroy it or whatever level, it’s beyond me. Do you think those quote unquote Black leaders have ulterior motives when it comes to situations like that?

50 Cent: You know what? To be honest with you, I think some people consider them Black leaders. They may have ulterior motives. I don’t know what to think of the situation. But I will say that they’re ambulance chasers. I will say that I think they have personal injury attorneys that don’t give them kickbacks. And I will say that they will cause enough fuss until you come cut the check, and that’s just that.