In recent weeks, 50 Cent has released a new album, Animal Ambition, shocked Hot 97’s Summer Jam audience by reuniting G-Unit on stage, before hitting the Internet with a new Guerrilla Unit song, “Fuck You Talkin’ Bout,” and, funniest of all, throwing what’s arguably MLB’s worst-ever first pitch before a New York Mets game. Memorable public appearances, instant headlines—just another two-week span in the life of Curtis Jackson, the rapper turned business mogul turned fashion maven turned actor turned…you get the picture. He's done it all.
Well, except for one thing—he’s yet to become hip-hop’s answer to J.J. Abrams. That could potentially change soon, though, with the premiere of Power, the new original Starz drama premiering tomorrow night at 9 p.m. EST. Originally conceived by 50 Cent, the eight-episode series is the culmination of 50’s work alongside Courtney Kemp Agboh, a veteran TV producer who’s acting as Power’s full-time showrunner. Together, they’re hoping they’ve got the next The Sopranos.
Power stars Omari Hardwick (most recently seen on BET’s Being Mary Jane) as James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a street-savvy hustler from Jamaica, Queens, whose years spent pushing weight and breaking laws have enabled him to bankroll a legitimate business venture: Truth, a posh new Manhattan nightclub, easily accessible from the lavish penthouse suite Ghost shares with his wife, Tasha (Naturi Naughton), and their three children. Truth’s opening night is a success, but the club's intake is pennies next to what Ghost and his lifelong best friend and co-hustler Tommy (Joseph Sikora, a.k.a. True Detective's "Ginger") net through drugs. Tommy and Tasha dislike Ghost’s sudden need to go straight, for differing reasons—she loves the financial security that comes from Ghost’s illegal activities, while hotwire Tommy is married to the Scarface-minded game. Ghost finds sanctuary, however, in Angela (Lela Loren), the “one who got away” whom he reconnects with inside Truth but doesn’t realize works with the Feds.
A hustler from Queens trying to go straight? Yes, the character of Ghost’s tug-of-war with the streets and legal wealth isn’t unlike 50 Cent’s earlier career trajectory. Power, though, isn’t the Curtis Jackson story fictionalized. Loosely inspired by his own experiences, 50 Cent has, along with Courtney Kemp Agboh, fused his own past with familiar crime fiction tropes to give television its latest anti-hero protagonist. Ghost is more Tony Soprano than Walter White, murdering an enemy in the back of Truth less than 15 minutes into the first episode.
How Ghost’s seedy metropolitan world will differentiate itself from Tony’s suburban New Jersey is one of Power’s core questions, and, if you ask 50 Cent and Courtney Kemp Agboh, the answers won’t disappoint. Here, Power’s two overseers, as well as Omari Hardwick, discuss why their passion project should be your new TV obsession.