50 Cent Using ‘Black Magic’ to Make Something Special
It's been less than 10 years since 50 Cent took the music industry by storm by way of his debut 'Get Rich or Die Trying,' which went on to sell more than 12 million records worldwide. The record garnered him instant stardom, tons of chart topping singles and the respect of a music industry that he once rapped about robbing in his mixtape days. Amid the hype, the never ending beefs and lucrative Vitamin Water deal-netting him a cool $150 million, 50 is still very much connected to the music game. Despite the lukewarm response of his last album 'Before I Self Destruct,' whose sales pale in comparison to his previous efforts, the Queens, New York native is ready to give the world something new. For album number six -- dubbed 'Black Magic' -- 50 was inspired to take his craft in a new direction after spending some time overseas.
"It's a whole different vibe on that project," 50 told The BoomBox. "I like to write the concept [of] my albums or I don't know what I'm making. Once I have an idea of what I want it to feel like I'll find one song and it'll set the tone, and I'll start looking for things that work around it. It usually takes maybe 20 to 30 songs before I feel like I have a record. I'll search through them and I'll really like 10 of them.
"I'm already almost done. I started writing something different once I got back from overseas that's what was on my mind before I got there and what I was actually doing while I was out there. Then when I got back I got all of this new production. It's almost like the producers were waiting for me when I got back 'cause they heard me talking about 'Black Magic.' They sent me all this material, they sent me in a whole other direction because it inspired me to write something different."
Even though he has started -- if not continued -- many of his beefs, some of which were admitted marketing ploys (such as the infamous 50 vs. Kanye West album race to the finish line), 50 believes that a few of his musical peers want to see him fall strictly because they are envious of his success. "They don't have to have the same portfolio of hit music. 'Back Down' [off the 'Get Rich Or Die Trying' album] was me addressing the Ja [Rule] issue, 'Piggy Bank' [off 'The Massacre' album] was me addressing everyone's discomfort with the success I was having at that point. They were showing me they were a little uncomfortable, I mean it was my second album selling 10 million records. You got artists that sell a million records 10 times like LL Cool J. He just did 'Exit 13,' that's a long time and a huge significance in being able to be around that long because hip-hop says 'out with the old, in with the new.' [You] gotta' find a way to take a break at different points and reinvent yourself, recreate that sound that people already enjoy and return back to that slot. There was a huge time period where you [saw] Jay-Z take a break, telling you he was gonna be the president of a record company. [But he is] still relevant within hip-hop culture because he's the guy that artists feel like they should get next to, to get a deal, and then he returned back to music because he took the break."
50's time from atop a throne of what seemed to be an ever expanding musical empire also allowed the rapper to grab hold of the explosion of blogs. He launched Thisis50.com in 2007 as a promotional medium that has grown to be a respected source for daily music news. "I think it's not being afraid to put all the content there," he said of the site's popularity. "Not being biased, even if I'm in a competition at some point, because that's really what it is, battling has always been a part of hip-hop culture, and 'til it actually turns into something negative and something actually happens on the street, it's just a competition"
Seemingly undaunted by the commercial failure of 'Before I Self Destruct,' 50 continued on his push to build an acting career. 2009 saw the release of the album's accompanying movie written, directed and starring 50. Although the film allowed 50 to showcase his acting, he believes that releasing the joint project was the main reason why 'Before I Self Destruct,' the album was a commercial failure because the music had to be released four weeks earlier than scheduled. These days delving deeper into his growing acting resume and appearing in films with the likes of Val Kilmer, Lynn Whitfield and Mario Van Peebles, is part of the norm. His most buzzed about role is the up-coming straight to DVD film 'Things Fall Apart," in which he plays a cancer stricken high school football star. To show his dedication to the part, he took of a whopping 54 pounds, and released photos of his emaciated to the public. "'Things Fall Apart' was the most prepared I've ever been for a film, and it was because I shot the first half at 214 then I went away for nine weeks [for] the physical transformation. I spent the whole nine weeks actually working on the character. Every time I [was] traveling from one country to the next country, I was back reading the screenplay, going over the actual scenes in the actual film and when it came time to come shoot it, I didn't have to worry about memorizing any dialogue or anything. I knew the scenes so well to give a performance in the actual film project. I'm excited."
For 50 the future may very well include more acting gigs, directing opportunities and more projects from his production company Cheetah Vision. Yet while acting is definitely of great interest, 50 is clear about his loyalty remaining to the music. "This go around I'mma make sure that my album is something special and exactly what I want to say."