In a new piece in the New York Times detailing Pop Smoke's last days, 50 Cent talked about what it was like first meeting the young rapper, and watching how he approached making his upcoming album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon.
"The experience was a little weird. Because when I first started talking to him in the office, I was watching and he would look down at his telephone," 50 said, recounting a story he's told before about first meeting Pop. "He was typing at the same time. And there was a point where I’m like, is he listening? I got up so I can kind of see what he was doing, and when I got to the other side of the table, he wasn’t not paying attention to me, he was just writing what I said down. Dead serious."
The piece also features an interview with Steven Victor, the CEO and founder of Victor Victor Worldwide, who also gave some insight into Pop's first meeting with 50. "50’s talking to him about, you know, 'Do you want to be in Power? Do you want to do movies?’ Later on, 50 would tell me, he was like studying him. Because he’s like, 'Yo, I want to know, is he mocking me? Or does he really like me? Is that his real voice, is this really how he acts? Or is he playing a character?'" Victor said.
He also talked about how 50 influenced Pop's decision to focus on his career. "So through that 50 realizes, oh, this kid is really like me. He’s really about that action," he said. "He was asking Pop leading questions. Pop is answering them. And he’s like, 'Bro, you do not want to be doing that. All the guns, you got to stop that right now. I get it. It’s something that’s necessary because of the life you lead and the people that’s around you, but you, you, you can’t be doing that. Because they’re waiting for you to [expletive] up. And your friends are not really your friends. They’re waiting for you to [expletive] up, too.'
According to Victor, 50 told Pop that he could have the same success he did if he chooses the right path. "You could either continue down that path and there’s a high chance that you’ll end up in jail or dead, or you can do this." 50 reportedly told Pop, who replied “What’s this?” That;s when 50 said, “What I got going on! I sold 30 million records. I’m rich. I’m doing movies. I can get anybody on the phone. I could do anything. And this could be you.” I think after that, he realized that he could be himself and be a megastar." Victor says that's when Pop did a "360."
When discussing Pop's upcoming project, 50 reflected on how he wishes Pop were still around to grow into the mega-star that the knew he'd become.
"The first two tapes versus this album? You’re going to see that we really just lost something big," he said. "He said to me he wanted to take his mother to an award show. I would like to be able to do that."
50 and Pop Smoke had maintained a close relationship after they initially met, and since his passing, the G-Unit rapper has spent a lot of time uplifting his name and propping up his work. Not only does 50 have a track on Pop's posthumous album, but he also revealed on Tuesday that Roddy Ricch is set to be on the song as well.
Back in March, 50 also said that he planned to executive produce Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon as well, promising to finish the album for the late rapper.
Meanwhile, Pop Smoke's mother has decided to run the non-profit organization that he had founded, the Shoot for the Stars Foundation. Its goal is to help and inspire inner-city youth.
"The foundation is meant to inspire inner city youth to do just what the name states, 'shoot for the stars,' and help urban youth everywhere turn their pain into champagne by making their dreams a reality," she said in a statement.