Here are four things I am going to tell you before this interview with 50 Cent. One: Get Rich Or Die Trying is basically the closest our generation will ever get to our very own The Chronic, so regardless of whether or not he has not had a true “smash hit” in years, he will always be important. Two: 50 Cent is a human brand, one whose holdings extend into film, energy drinks, headphones, a record label, books, and amusement parks (okay, not really), and if I bottled his breath I could sell it on ebay and pay my rent for a couple months. Three: 50 Cent is basically a weird dude at heart, and he does not look at things the way you or I look at them. This is okay. Four: 50 Cent will, at the end of this interview, start saying moderately misogynistic things. This is not okay, but this is also probably something that 50 Cent has done for a lot of his life. If I had called him on it, he just would have laughed at me not cared, or worse, hit me across the room because I have heard he does things like that. Anyways, we took some pictures of him, and then he and DJ Drama sat down with me for an interview. We were supposed to talk about The Lost Tape, their upcoming mixtape together, but we ended up talking about a bunch of other stuff, mainly because 50 Cent had to postpone this interview for two days because he got really bad food poisoning.
VICE: You were in the hospital earlier today. What happened? Are you okay?
50 Cent: I had something to eat that didn’t agree with me in London. So I threw up, got on the plane, and flew comfortably back to the states, but when I got here, I threw up again. So then I decided I was gonna stay in Manhattan, because I didn’t feel good. Then I threw up later that night for about three or four hours, and then I woke up in the morning and before I could even get to the doctor, I threw up again. So I went into the doctor’s office, and they took all my vital signs and I seemed fine. They gave me some Vitamin C to flush my system out, and then I came back to my office. As soon as I got in, I felt like I had to lay down, but people were already setting up for interviews. Everybody was there, so I was like, “Okay, just lemme do the first one, and then I’ll go lay down.” Afterwards, I was drinking Gatorade because I was worried about my electrolytes, and then right before I left the office I threw up again. I get in the car, and we’re going from here to my old neighborhood, and shit got crazy. I got hot, started sweating, and it felt like every way I was moving shit was contracting. I’m going, “What the fuck? I can’t breathe!” I made it to Jamaica Hospital in Queens, and somehow nobody realized I was there.
But then you tweeted a picture of you in your hospital bed holding stuffed animals.
DJ Drama: I got those.
50 Cent: I was like, “Don’t fucking do it, DJ Drama, but then he did it.”
DJ Drama: What do you send 50 Cent? Some stuffed animals. Duh.
50 Cent: He gave me a stuffed giraffe.
Is that what the cover is going to be? You guys with those animals?
50 Cent and DJ Drama, simultaneously: No.
What does the cover look like.
DJ Drama: It’s out. It’s dope.
How do you pick the shit to say on a tape?
DJ Drama: A lot of it, I prepare. I go into it as a way of making myself a part of the project. I always want to be a part of the record. A lot of times I go in there and go off with what the artist says or does. Just however I feel about what the artist says or does. Shit like that. It’s tough, but I’ve been able to come up with some creative shit after a lot of shit-talking. I don’t know how to make it rhyme. But if I could make it rhyme, I’d be comin’ for you niggas.
Can you talk some custom shit for VICE?
DJ Drama: Nah, you gotta pay for that.
Well, I’ve got a dollar in my pocket.
DJ Drama: That’s gonna get you…DIT!!!
(I reach into my pocket and pull out a dollar.)
DJ Drama: Nah, keep it. For next time.
50 Cent: I’ll take that dollar.
Do you really want my dollar?
50 Cent: Sure do.
DJ Drama: Yeah, that’s how he stays rich.
When you go to bed, how much do you think of yourself as “50 Cent,” vs. how much do you think of yourself as “Curtis Jackson?”
50 Cent: I think people forget that we’re artists. We draw from true life experiences. When I came, they put me in a category that confused me. Like, because I was so aggressive, I was a “gangster rapper.” But then, I sold thirteen million records. So does that mean I’m pop? Or, like, conscious rappers. Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Common. These guys are trying to say something that has social meaning. That’s faded. Now it’s converted to hipsters and just writing about getting high or selling you some drugs.
Drama: Drinking some lean.
What do you mean?
50 Cent: When they say “hipster,” they mean “hippie.” It’s cycling back to that period with drugs, sex and rock and roll. It’s like, “Do you like bell bottoms, or do you like skinny jeans?” It’s the same fad, just the opposite way. Hipsters’ jeans are tighter, because (affects a voice suspiciously like mine) skateboarding’s cool. They’ve all got pot in they mouth. They smokin’ some pot.
Earlier, you were making fun of someone’s shoes. What was wrong with them?
50 Cent: I was just fucking with him. That green is traditionally on women’s shoes.
And Easter eggs.
50 Cent: That’s why they call it “Easter green.” Now I get it.
What’s your favorite animal?
50 Cent: Cheetahs. I like cats. The big ones. They’re the fastest land animals.
It was always interesting how DMX would be like, “You’re either a dog, or you’re a cat.” And dogs were good, and cats were bad.
50 Cent: Dogs have a different energy. That’s why they’re man’s best friend. If you offer someone a house, shelter, clothing, food, and even by accident you kick a bitch, she’s supposed to stay. Even if by accident, she’s supposed to stay and chill out! Like, you my dog! You my dog, baby! (Laughs)
Photos by Marco Scozzaro