You’ll find him in da club: 50 Cent heads to Birmingham
It’s 15 years since 50 Cent broke the mould with Get Rich of Die Tryin’. But he’ll return to that former glory on Tuesday when he headlines Arena Birmingham on an anniversary tour for the record, with support from G-Unit and Lethal Bizzle.
It was a record that propelled him into the stratosphere as the star, born Curtis James Jackson III, turned his back on a life on the wrong side of the tracks to become an international success.
50 Cent had been selling drugs since the age of 12, profiting from the crack epidemic, before developing his musical career after being discovered by Eminem.
Eminem and Dr Dre were at the controls for his first major-label album, which helped 50 Cent become one of the biggest-selling rappers in the world.
The record was famously released a week ahead of schedule to prevent bootlegging and internet leakage and it scorched to the top of the USA chart, selling an astounding 872,000 copies in its first week of sales.
It yielded the hit singles In Da Club and 21 Questions, which both went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. P.I.M.P. also subsequently became a number one hit in several countries.
The album continued to sell around the world, notching up eight million copies and earning 50 Cent six platinum discs and a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 46th Grammy Awards. It was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the best albums of the 2000s.
That success changed 50 Cent’s life, taking him forever out of the ghetto.
He’s become part of rap’s old guard, along with Eminem and Jay Z. And he’s pleased that people have respect for the generations of rappers who emerged at that time.
“I liked Jay’s record. It was smart, it had maturity, and it matches what’s going on his life but it’s not necessarily where the art form is. This is why you don’t hear people driving and listening to it in their cars. All you hear is Lil Pump and ‘Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang’. But you know who my favorite artist is right? Eminem. He’s a little older but he’s still the GOAT.”
50 Cent is a classic rags-to-riches artist and freely admits he has no idea how his life would have panned out were it not for success in music. Happily, that’s not something he has to consider. These days, rather than worrying about where his next meal is coming from he has to make sure his reputation remains intact so that he can stay creative. In fact, his life is sometimes so crazy that movie directors might one day make a film about it.
“Oh yeah. There are different facets of it. Not all of it is true. Some of it comes from descriptions from journalists, as opposed to what actually happened. Sometimes it’s down to the perception of a journalist, who may not even like me or my culture. They may not even like music. I’ve had conversations with people who are extremely passionate about what they do, and I understand why they’re in the position they’re in, because they do it well. But I’ve also come in contact with people who had 20 minutes to Google the facts, and have no idea what they’re actually talking about.
“There’s always, in my crazy little life, a way for unexpected things to be bigger than you actually intended them to be. I may go to the Mets game, throw a terrible pitch and it would be all over the world’s biggest media platforms. So, yeah, I believe I can recreate what I did the very first time.
“You know what, I don’t think they’ll replace me now. Already my face is in the hearts of people who really love hip-hop music, and the culture’s growing to the point where you have people from all walks of life choosing it for their personal pleasure. So it’s already there. I don’t think it’s going to take me being killed to compare me to Biggie or 2Pac. I am immortal.”
Like most rappers, 50 Cents has written a number of controversial lyrics and some seem more alarming as more time passes. He doesn’t worry, however, that there may be repercussions for things he’s written in the past.
“No, but there’s a lot of jealousy. People around you develop a sense of entitlement and feel like you’re supposed to make their career work. They’re like, ‘I’ve got this really good idea about how you can make me rich’. And I’ll be looking at them like, ‘Are you serious?’ And they are serious.” 50 Cent’s present tour is a celebration of the record that made his name and propelled him into the superleague.