You mean G-Unit?
50 Cent:Just artists in general, period. I think when they come, I want to help them in compensation by giving them what I think is the right approach to it. But really, if the artist doesn’t already have it, his management company will be the knowledgeable component that has a little bit more experience than the actual artist themselves. They can help him navigate where to go, with the things that he’s actually doing.
You can figure out how to move or you can sit there until nobody cares you’re there. It’s not going to make me any bigger or less than I am now. And that’s not towards Banks—that’s towards any artist at this point. —50 Cent
Like, you’ll get a guy that’ll go out and get a new record deal. The record company is going to take nice pictures of you and a nice music video. After they put out the first song and provide a marketing budget for that video, if it doesn’t work, they’re like, “Because we believed in you, we’ll try it one more time.”
If the shit flops again it’s like, “OK. That was the ball we threw against the wall. It didn’t stick. Fuck it. Give us another ball to throw.” That’s how the music business works. So if you don’t figure out how to build a consistency or how to develop a core, from the material that you’re creating, chances are, you’re going to be one of those balls that bounce off the wall while they’re looking for the ones that stick.
Is that what happened to Lloyd Banks?
50 Cent: Nah, I think Banks is... All of them. Every single artist that I’ve been around, I’ve overcompensated. They’ve been on records that say, “New 50 Cent!” and then you hear their voice.
Right. I remember on all of the singles for G-Unit solo albums, it was always your voice for the first five seconds. [Laughs.]
50 Cent: You want to offer them the opportunity to take your base and make it theirs, that their attributes will make them shine at different points because everyone is built differently. We’re all made of something different. Even though we all function the same, as humans, we’ve got different qualities and talents.
I’d like for them all to establish themselves in their own right and the way to do it is to give them space. You can shit or get off the toilet. As far as I’m concerned, you can figure out how to move or you can sit there until nobody cares you’re there. It’s not going to make me any bigger or less than I am now. And that’s not towards Banks—that’s towards any artist at this point.
I’ll be able to provide, in conversation, things that they could actually go through to execute, that I feel like would be appropriate for marketing purposes, but I’m not going to actually go do it for them. I’ve got other things to do to further my career. If I’m busy telling you what can make you pop and that was a new version of the old marketing campaign, I’m not figuring out what the new steps are to move forward.
If artists have a long enough career, they have peaks and valleys in it. It’s never a one-way street. Michael Jackson had moments when he didn’t feel like he was as hot as he was during Thriller, where every song is a number one record.
You can only have one Thriller.
50 Cent: Right. So if you do that, what happens after Thriller? Because what we’re saying right now is what happens after Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. As far as hip-hop culture’s concerned, it’s the largest debuting hip-hop album. So when that first record is that big, then you go, “What do you come with next?”
DJ Drama: I had that moment with Gangsta Grillz, too. I remember there was a period where they felt as though the brand wasn’t as strong. When I did Fab’s first tape VIBE put it in 20 Questions; “The fact that Fab’s underrated Gangsta Grillz is so underrated, does this mean that the brand is not as potent as it was?”
Yeah and you admitted too, on the 2 Chainz tape you were like, “I’ve been incredibly hot in this game...”
DJ Drama: ...and I’ve had cold moments.
50 Cent: Yeah. There’s cool moments and you come up and down. And his Gangsta Grillz, at that point, it reflects artist moments. It reflects who’s making the tape. It reflects their timing. The brand itself is necessary.
Now when you say you’ve got a mixtape, you know what they ask you? “Who’s on it?” They don’t even care about the actual artist that’s making the tape. On all my mixtapes, you know who I featured? Someone you don’t know. I’m introducing you to someone new.
I think [Dre] could be bitten by that bug and remember what he originally fell in love with. No matter how much you love making music, there’s nothing like seeing people respond to it. —50 Cent
When you’re saying, “Who’s on it?” that means now the mixtape is an album. I seen one that looked like the NOW That’s What I Call Music compilation, it had so many artists on it. I said, “Goddamn. How did you put that together? How did you have enough time to call all these people and get everybody to do their piece and their part?” Like, how do you benefit from that?
It’s the same thing with shows. At Coachella, it was Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performing but it was like, “Yeah, Em came out, and 50 came out, and 2Pac.” Like, that’s what made it good. But why aren’t you excited to see Snoop and Dre?”
50 Cent: When you look at Coachella, for me, it was great to see Dre back outside. That was more exciting than the show itself, for me, to see him active and actually out.
DJ Drama: Breathing air.
50 Cent: It’s a huge leap. And I think he could be bitten by that bug and remember what he originally fell in love with. No matter how much you love making music, there’s nothing like seeing people respond to it. Even the 2Pac moment, he gave that moment away. He gave it to Snoop. He could have done “California Love” with 2Pac but he offered that to Snoop.
I said to Snoop, “Listen. Ain’t nothing going to top ‘2Pac is here.’ I don’t give a fuck what you do. We can blow the stage up, we can do backflips, we can fly off the... I don’t care what you was going to do.” I was going to get one of them jetpacks and fly in.