"I'm a marketing genius," 50 Cent boasted Tuesday in New York, discussing his latest mixtape endeavor, Cutmaster C's Live From Central Bookings. On the CD, 50, who was arrested on New Years Eve on a firearm possession charge, acts as "host," conducting a conversation with the DJ during a collect phone call from jail.
"I'm capitalizing off of the situation," he continued about his short stint behind bars (see "50 Cent Arrested For Gun Possession"). "There's been a few other rappers arrested before, sitting in situations that they eventually got out of. I believe I'll eventually be out of this situation because I'm not guilty of possessing a gun, so I used the telephone" (see "Mixtape Mondays: Cutmaster C").
However, 50 admitted his run-in with the law, as well as other mischief he's caused of late, has required that he share more than just a chat on his celly with Jimmy Iovine, the head of Interscope.
"Absolutely, I get phone calls," he explained, "but now I have meetings. I have to have a meeting. I sit down and Jimmy explains things to me like, 'You have to be like this.' Dre and them know what I'm used to. We sat down and had conversations before they signed me. They know who I am … I have to internalize things in a negative way to understand them."
Rap's current street king doesn't understand, however, the negative thoughts some artists have about getting their records leaked before they hit stores. 50's fully expecting his official debut LP, Get Rich or Die Trying, to hit the streets before it goes to the store — and he isn't worried.
"The bootleggers are gonna go crazy with this record," he prophesized nonchalantly. "They understand how much of a presence I have in the streets. They'll probably get the record two weeks before the album actually drops and it'll be all over the place. When [I'm] putting together the best record I can, I believe word of mouth is just gonna generate more sales. Consistency is the key to all success. If I consistently put out good music, if they buy the bootleg this go around, it'll guarantee that they purchase the real CD when my next album comes out. I'm in a good space financially so I'm not worked up about the few dollars the bootleggers are gonna get."
The album's first single is already blowing up so big that it's become what hip-hoppers affectionately refer to as a "problem," many times having to be played twice in a row in various New York clubs. "It's like Shady/Aftermath artist development," 50 said referring to the song's video, where he goes through training in preparation to be a star. "We wanna try to raise the bar, make the bionic artists. Give them all the qualities to sell records on their own."
" 'In Da Club' was the very first song I recorded with Dr. Dre in preparation for this album," he said, recalling how the track came about. "I just wanted to have fun with the record. A lot of my records deal with personal issues or life-threatening issues. That's what the "die trying" part in Get Rich or Die Trying is about."
Also featured on the album is a collaboration with Nate Dogg, on which 50 switches up his steelo in regards to the ladies.
"I did a song called '21 Questions' with Nate Dogg," he revealed. "I think it's gonna be one of my biggest records. It's one of the first records I wrote where I'm not dogging women. I express myself in a different way on that record so it's entertaining to me. I don't think being one way is entertaining."
The Queens MC teamed up with Eminem for "Patiently Waiting," a song 50 indicated may remind us of one of Slim Shady's big hits.
" 'Patiently Waiting' is talking about how I had to wait patiently to get my shot," he explained. "It's kind of like 'Lose Yourself.' I actually heard that song while [Eminem] was on tour. When [he] wrote it and played it for me, I was like, 'Yo, it felt like you was talking about me. The things you was saying like you only get one shot.' "
Like Em, 50's controversial opinions might lead people to believe that he's going to have a few disses in store for some of his peers on Get Rich or Die Trying. But the chiseled rhyme brawler claimed he fell back on this release — for the most part, anyway.
"Small," he said, referring to the amount of barbs he throws on the album. "Because of my entrance with 'How to Rob,' I didn't want to make it my M.O. I got some issues I wanna deal with. I wanna get past this record before I actually get into it and do it the way I wanna do it. I wanna establish myself without that so it isn't, 'Oh, his M.O. is he's a trouble maker.' I think I'm gonna have that M.O. [tag] anyway."
"I worked on a record called 'Many Men,' " he added. "It dealt with some of my issues, but I did it in what I think was a witty, creative way."
While he won't say exactly how in-depth they went, 50 did make it known that on the disc he and DMX joined forces to go at a mutual adversary. That song, "The Untouchables," will appear on X's upcoming album, It's Not a Game.
"It's a good song," he said with a smile. "We sat down and built on the concept of it. Most people think it's gonna destroy Ja Rule, because he has issues with him and I have issues with him, but we didn't go there with the record immediately."
There will be no words peppered with disdain on 50's upcoming collaboration with DMC. The two have been collaborating on a tribute song paying homage to Jam Master Jay. That track, "We Miss Our Friend," will be on DMC's first solo album, Checks, Thugs and Rock and Roll, which drops in March.