Getting his 50 Cent worth - what makes 'Fiddy' tick?
Few rags-to-riches stories can match that of 50 Cent’s rise to fame, stardom and power.
The American hip-hop superstar overcame the tragic early loss of his mother, turned his back on a life of drug dealing and also survived a multiple shooting before hitting the big time.
The ‘P.I.M.P’ star headlines Atelier/ Festival at Meydan in Dubai on Friday, and the concert coincides with the imminent release of fifth studio album ‘Street King Immortal’ next month.
Although notoriously confrontational with his rivals - his feuds with names such as Ja Rule and Rick Ross are the stuff of legend - he has enjoyed great working relationships with some top names for the new album.
Helped on his way by rap legends Eminem and Dr Dre back in the early 2000s, he’s linked up with the pair again, and he tells 7DAYS: “Each one of the experiences is completely different With Eminem it’s interesting.
“Creatively he’s in such a good space that the lyrics keep coming out - you have to stop him but it’s great when you’re both on top of your game.
“With someone like Ne-Yo, for example, he writes a lot of his own material. A lot of the time I will have already written a song, so you have to persuade someone like that to stay in the same direction - let’s not make a new song!”
Born Curtis Jackson III, the rapper famously used the name 50 Cent as a metaphor for change. And there’s been plenty of that in his life recently.
He not only co-starred alongside Robert DeNiro in ‘Freelancers’, but he was also behind Cheetah Vision, the production company which backed the cop movie.
Although he loved the film-making process, Fiddy has no intention of changing careers. He explains: “I’ve still got such a strong sense of music and to me, nothing else would be possible without it so I’m conscious of that. It’s magic. The beauty of it (with Freelancers) was that I could balance both. You have to spend a lot of time working with the screenplay and acting coaches but I was able to do that and the music.”
With millions to his name and a 50-bedroom mansion that once belonged to infamous boxer Mike Tyson, Fiddy is leading a very different life to the one he came from.
Born to a 15-year-old single mother who died when he was just eight in poverty stricken Queens, New York, he was raised by his grandmother.
And despite gran’s best intentions, he still ended up dealing hard drugs on the streets of New York during the crack epidemic of the 1980s, before ultimately turning things around. That’s why the 37-year-old will never forget his roots. He says: “I move around a lot but I still try and see my grandparents as often as possible. My grandmother took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself and that is something I’ll never forget.”
It was outside his family home in Queens that 50 Cent survived a multiple shooting, aged just 20 in 2000. But he’s philosophical about his old patch, adding: “I was there yesterday, out there and mixing. They’re different faces but they’re doing the same thing - it is a cycle. Some people can stand there and hustle, they are there with that entrepreneurial spirit.
“But look at the limitations of the environment and how far you can actually go there with that. That didn’t work for me because my idea was bigger. My idea was bigger than that street corner and I needed more for that ambition.
“I don’t want to have limitations. I want to grow at the rate I am supposed to grow, simple as that.”
The facts on fiddy - what makes him tick?
Businessman - Aside from a number of different ventures, Fiddy will also launch his SMS Audio headphones at GITEX in Dubai.
Culture vulture On top of his forays into film, he’s written a semi-autobiographical novel for teens about bullying called ‘Playground’. ‘The 50th Law’, meanwhile, is a New York Times best seller on strategy and fearlessness.
Last year he launched a charitable energy drink called Street King in a bid to combat world hunger. For every purchase, a portion of the sales will go to providing a daily meal to an underprivileged child around the world.