"There's not much going on outside of G-Unit"
posted: 12-26-05
interview : adrian schraeder
He's the boss of all bosses: With the newest additions to his artist roster, a highly successful second album, an autobiography, a movie based on his life and endless merchandise products, the man they call 50 Cent has proven that he knows how to get those dollars. In the first hip hop-interview ever that started right on time, Fitty explains why he signed pastor Mase to G-Unit, why he's constantly getting into beef and why Kanye is so successful.
You seem to be very professional. Do you expect this behavior from all of your artists?
Absolutely. With Banks, Buck, Tony Yayo, Olivia and Spider, I expect them to do it right away. But with Mobb Deep and M.O.P. and Mase it's a different situation, because they already had an experience of what the expectations of them are. They've already been surrounded by other artists. Artists pick up other artists habits. So if they wanna be as successful as I am, then they gotta try to have the same behaviors.
Did you explain that to them?
Absolutely. I lead by example. So they gotta be able to behave as professional as possible and move forward at the fastest pace. There are opportunities that you lose, when you're not on time, when you don't handle your business properly.
You just added a couple of new artists to your label. How do you avoid getting in a similar situation like Roc-A-Fella?
You know, what I do is I focus on the music. I write music. I'm a great writer, you know?
You signed so many artists. How can you concentrate on them?
It's easy. I don't stop workin'. You see what I mean? This is what it is: you can create an environment where the artists are hungry to come with the next thing, the next idea. Because they watchin' each other work. It's a nonstop workin' situation over at G-Unit. And they become more hungry to come up with the newest idea. It's a positive competition. They're competitive amongst each other. They play music for each other and they're like: "Ooh, that's hot! Let's make something else!" You know what I mean?
Do you have a recording facility where they can all come together?
They can all actually record at my house. It's in Farmington, in Connecticut. 18 bedrooms, 37 bathrooms, 6 kitchens, everybody's comfortable there without actually being overwhelmed by everybody's presence at the same time. And while we're on tour, we book studio sessions and write while we're on the bus.
But you gave up this idea of G-Unit as a group, right?
Yeah. See, I'd be limiting G-Unit as a group. The talent is beyond the average group, which I think appears very obvious. Look at any group in the history that starts out with four or five members in it. What happens is when they decide that the group is gonna break up and do individual projects, you get a person of the group that stands apart. Like with N'Sync, you see Justin Timberlake. You see what I'm sayin'? And it's usually the artist that was the lead that still has what it takes. In G-Units case, after selling 11 million records with "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'", my first release was "Beg For Mercy" and that was the effort with myself, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck and Tony Yayo.
But Tony Yayo was in prison at that time!
Hey, he was still in jail, but he had vocals on the album and he participated in the tight deal. Cause he was in jail doesn't mean he wasn't still receiving his portion of the profits from the CD. So I add his name, cause he never was absent from any of the finances that was being distributed. And Lloyd Banks album was the second album that was release off of G-Unit as a record company and it scanned over 2 million records. Then Young Bucks "Straight Out Of Cashville" did 1.5 million...
But how does a guy like Mase fit in?
He fits in perfect. Cause everything doesn't have to be exactly the same. Everything that we have released to this point has been street orientated and aggressive. Mase… That's like sayin' how does Kanye West exist? He's exactly the opposite of anything that 50 Cent is about. He's non-confrontational, says things that... obviously his upbringing has been totally different from mine. Hip hop is not specifically about what goes on in South Jamaica, Queens. It's not totally aggressive. I think it's bigger than that. When I go from country to country outside of the United States and I see the music break the language barrier and people that speak all different kinds of languages come to my shows and still enjoy the music, it means that there gotta be people who have different experiences. There gotta be kids that went to school. Kanye West's album is based on college. Think of how many people have gone to college and haven't completed actually what they started.
You mean his image is well chosen?
Yeah, that's a wide audience. That image definitely works. I think that's cool, but Mase is different from everything else. But as a writer, he's still dominant. Unless you forgot that he was selling 4 million records. An album before he made the decision to do different things with his life. I think anybody who believes in God or has any religion can understand his decisions at that point. And his new album is based on the phases he was going through in his life.
You already completed an album with him?
We started it.
And you directed him?
Absolutely. And by him building his record the way it is, it gives you portions of him early on, like the way he used to think when he was younger, the way he thought when he was Murda Mase, when he had aggressive music. And that's some of the stuff that I was leakin' on the street so people can hear the difference. There's some of the really religious stuff that he has that has a really positive message towards the end of the album. His album is really well grounded and I feel like it's gonna probably be one of the biggest things they receive when we release it.
When people do interviews with you, they often don't talk about music, they talk about what else is going on in your life. Does that bother you?
They're so interested in my life that I had to write a book based on it and make a film based on it, you know. The things you go through make you who you are. So people become more and more interested in me. Things that I say are definitely a reflection of my character. When you say things in passing your day to day things that come out your mouth: say who you are.
But couldn't you make your life a lot easier if you wouldn't get into those conflicts with other rappers all the time?
You know what you do? Sometimes if a kid does something wrong you go spank his hand and tell him, that he did something wrong. But he thinks that it's the right thing and he continues to do it until you really feel like… it can aggravate you to the point where you really hurt a kid. That's the way I see rap artists. Sometimes they do things and they don't know that it's really the wrong thing to do. And if they continue to go on, it can actually escalade to the point that I really hurt them. So I address it immediately. Like on "Piggy Bank" the line I said to Jadakiss.
Those are all things on the personal level?
Yeah. It's about Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Nas and these little things, these tiny things, you know. But I'm addressing it so they don't think it's okay and I don't really have to damage their careers. Because they're not strong enough writers to stay in competition with me. Ask Ja about me.
What would he say?
Ja would probably be upset about it, but you and I both know: you haven't heard much Ja Rule since I came on the scene. And that's because he's not strong enough to stay out and creative enough to keep coming up with something that's relevant to the general public.
Do you think about destroying him and signing him afterwards? At least Ja once sold a couple million records.
How can he rebuild? I never really respected him. In order for you to call someone your enemy or an opponent, you gotta respect him enough to say that they're legitimate opponents. You know, you can dislike a person and just make an example of 'em. And that's what I'm doing with Ja. But when someone is really good, I'll say: "This is gonna be exciting!" Because I would have to use my thinking to the fullest potential in order to beat this guy.
Who from outside the G-Unit camp would you consider as really good right now?
There's not much going on outside of G-Unit right now. Look at Game. I don't respond much to Game because I created it. If I use my energy to destroy something I created while you got all these other people on the outside that envy my situation, that are waiting for a moment for me not to be paying attention so they can do things and get into position, I'll be destroying myself. Right? Cause when Game can't sell a record again… I benefit more off of his records than he does, so sure I let everybody know that I wrote his records, 'cause those are facts. I wrote six records on that album.
And you wrote some of your most personal lyrics on his album.
Yeah. On "Hate It Or Love It". And that's why people enjoy his record. They enjoy 50 Cent, not Game. When he screwed his face up like he's so tough, you noticed I smile more than I screw my face up. Because where I'm from if he screw his face up, they'd blew his face off. Do you understand that? You beginning to intimidate people with your face like that and let them think that you wanna do something, and we're from an environment where we really have to do those things at some point. So you get yourself in a bad situation, you get yourself into trouble. He's pretending to be something that he's not. With that N.W.A. tattoos on his chest. He used to have blond hair and a tongue ring when he was doing what Dennis Rodman does. You see what I'm saying?
What do you think? Why did he turn his back on you?
I think he wants to be 50 Cent. People don't aspire to be Dr. Dre 'cause it takes too much to become Dr. Dre. They don't know how to play keys, they don't know how to deal with these beat machines and deal with the whole studio thing. Dre walks in a room with nothing and leaves with hit records. Now, a kid who knows the slang in the neighborhood, who knows how to write a verse, will aspire to be 50 Cent. I still look like them, we still dress the same.
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