Love him or hate him, 50 Cent is the type of artist who always speaks his mind. Whether it’s on record or social media, you can count on the Queens native to speak his truth. It’s part of Fif’s charm and what helped elevate him from one of the top-selling rappers of all time to a Hollywood titan—both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
50’s latest film, Den of Thieves, which is in theaters now, finds him playing an LA bank robber alongside Gerard Butler, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. and Pablo Schreiber. Earning a respectable $15.3 million at the box office in its opening weekend, it’s another bragging right on his growing acting resume. While on a promo run for the film, we caught up with 50 to talk about the project, as well as his thoughts on Eminem and Jay Z’s new records, his feelings on the current state of hip-hop, and rappers like Lil Pump. As expected, the outspoken mogul held nothing back. Here’s 50 unfiltered.
You’re a beast physically in Den of Thieves. Is getting big something that comes naturally to you?
I have a thyroid condition that lets me put weight on, no problem. I don’t train up. I train down. Some people have a hard time gaining weight, but I can put the mass on until I’m about 225. After that it gets really difficult and I have to do everything under the kitchen sink to try and get over that. Pablo [Schrieber] was training really hard and to be honest, none of us knew what version of Gerard Butler we were going to get. If we got the 300 version of Gerard we were going to look like chopped meat. But when he came in we were feeling a lot better because he came in a little softer than he was in 300.
You’ve gotten to the point in your career where we see you more on the screen than in the studio. Do you see yourself as an actor first and a rapper second?
I really don’t. I just like to challenge myself daily. The storytelling process is what really excites me. When I read this script—this was six years ago—I was able to visualize things in this that reminded me of Heat. The plot wasn’t predictable and that’s what made me really excited about this movie.
You also get pretty excited when when your Starz series Power gets snubbed by major awards shows. Why do you have such a visceral reaction to that?
I don’t know, but I want to keep everyone aware that it’s not being acknowledged. My music career has been very similar. I had the highest selling debut hip-hop album but I have no Best New Artist trophy. Even if you give me an opportunity to lose—I never said “give me a trophy,” I said “just acknowledge it.”
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The first record.
You’ve said that your next album, Street King Immortal, might be your last. When can we expect to hear it?
I put out “Still Think I’m Nothing” with Jeremih at the end of last year and it’s on the charts now, but with this new album I have to take my time because the music has changed. The sound, the production, it’s all changed. Hip-hop is different from all other genres because there are so many different aspects to it.
How do you feel about the current state of hip-hop?
People like to say things like, ‘This is my most personal album.’ Well, then keep it in your cell phone for yourself. Make music that everyone’s going to appreciate.
There are some things you look at and go, “Wow, I can’t believe that’s so popular,” but there’s more positives than negatives. A lot of the music was created to match street culture and the energy in the inner cities initially. Then there was a point where it went into a Southern-based sound. The trap sound and production, that brought a little more fun to it. People could jump around to it, swing their head, all kind of shit. The strip club became a huge way of breaking music. A song can play there and become something that’s cool before it actually makes the charts. By the time it hits radio it’s already a hit in the strip club. It’s almost going backwards. It used to become a hit on the radio and then hit the club. Now you can take a song, play it in the club and see the reaction.
Are you encouraged by the fact that the older guard like Jay Z and Eminem can still sell records?
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.”
What are your thoughts on Lil Pump?
All that shit is fun. If it’s not complex or difficult to make, why not make music that people will enjoy? People like to say things like, “This is my most personal album,” well, then keep it in your iPod! Keep it in your cell phone for yourself. Make music that everyone’s going to appreciate. I listened to Em’s project. I really like some of the choices but that Beyoncé song—I just wished they’d put some drums on it.
Can you text him and tell him to do put drums on it?
I should just do that and be like, “Yo, Em! You forgot the drums!” But I like the idea of that song. I like what it’s about.
Publicist: I’m so sorry but I need to grab 50.
Hey, Dan, you know who my favorite artist is right? Eminem. He’s a little older but he’s still the GOAT.