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 For hip-hop fans, 50 Cent is the chief that all hail ...

Page 2

 50 fears Eminem and Dre; Em didn't know 50 would be such "a problem" ...

Page 3

 Dre blends gunshots with pianos, and why Eminem annoys 50 ...

Page 4

 "Oh sh--, somebody shot me in the face!"...

Page 5

 Jam Master Jay warns 50 to stay out of the 'hood ...

50 Cent: Sway Tells The Story Behind The Interview

Sway sits down with the "bad guy" and gets both sides of 50 Cent

Photo Gallery

 Photos from the set of "In Da Club"

Watch the MTV News Now special "All Eyes On: 50 Cent." Click for schedule.

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Add the realism (often delivered in a southern twang) to those beguiling melodies and catch phrases that stay in your head, throw in the humorous punch lines — such as when he compares his longtime nemesis, Ja Rule, to the Cookie Monster on the dis record "Back Down" — and you have that rare artist who gets love from both the 'hood and the 'burbs. Nowadays you can't buy a mixtape that doesn't include a cut from 50 Cent or his group the G-Unit. And 50 hit #1 on MTV's "TRL" faster than any debut artist, ever. Yet the chiseled wordsmith sees room for improvement.

"I'm almost the hottest rapper," he insisted as his Jeep pulled up to the club. "I signed a deal with the hottest rapper."

That would be Eminem, of course. While 50 rides around with more armor on his vehicle than the pope, wears a bulletproof vest for added protection, has already been shot nine times and talks about constantly being watched by the police, the only people the world's most-talked-about MC fears are those who believe in him the most — his bosses, Marshall and Andre.

  "I fear not fitting in with Eminem and Dr. Dre."
"I fear not fitting in with Eminem and Dr. Dre," 50 explained earlier in the day while sitting in a Miami studio. "That's what counts to me. That other stuff [the threat of violence] has already been a part of my life, none of that is new. They signed me, so I'll never be equivalent to Eminem or Dr. Dre. If Em says I'm the future of music, then what he's saying is he's the future of music because he signed me."

"I didn't know it was going to be this big of a problem," Em, hiding a smile, joked about 50's notoriety while on the set of the "In Da Club" video.

Maybe if Em and Dre hadn't caused their own media maelstroms throughout the years, the controversial duo would've been alarmed by now. Since Shady/Aftermath inked their newest signee in September, 50's been in the headlines repeatedly, though not for his music. Reports erroneously linked him to the murder of his former mentor Jam Master Jay. 50 and the G-Unit were arrested on New Year's Eve in New York for gun possession (although 50 and the G-Unit's Lloyd Banks made bail, the third member, Tony Yayo, is still in jail for prior charges). A few weeks later, the offices of Violator, the company that manages the beefed-up Queens MC, were riddled by bullets, by gunmen who are still on the loose. Most recently, a 50 club date in San Francisco was canceled because thousands of ticketless fans were congregating outside and stopping traffic.

The rapper shrugs it all off. "I don't get worked up or excited about situations I can't control because it's not in my power, so I might appear crazy to some people," he said.

Those working with rap's Next Big Thing aren't labeling him certifiable yet, but they do want the 26-year-old to keep his priorities straight.

"[Interscope CEO] Jimmy Iovine will tell me, 'I hope you're smart like Dre,' " said 50, who admits he now has to have meetings with executives at Interscope because of his run-ins with the law. "Dre will pull me to the side and tell me to stay focused. I told him in the beginning that my intentions weren't to be trouble. Nobody wants to buy a problem. And with my background, there's a possibility that they'd be purchasing the biggest problem that they've ever found. But because they believed me when I told them I wanted to make music, we were able to progress."

  "Wanksta" live
Club Cristal
Miami, FL
As committed as 50 is to Shady/Aftermath, he has a greater allegiance to the streets and the mixtape circuit. Working from the ground up is what made him. Last year, he created huge buzz for himself by incessantly releasing new songs, freestyles and his own versions of other artists' cuts via his own G-Unit CDs and DJs' mixtapes.

"Right now, maybe not all over the world but in New York, [50 Cent] has the streets on fire," Jay-Z said last year when asked whose music he was feeling.

NEXT: Dre blends gunshots with pianos, and why Eminem annoys 50 ...
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Photo: Shady/Aftermath

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 "In Da Club"
Get Rich or Die Tryin'

Get Rich or Die Tryin'

 "Many Men [Wish Death]"
Get Rich or Die Tryin'

 "Patiently Waiting"
featuring Eminem
Get Rich or Die Tryin'