A few years ago, 50 Cent quarterbacked an unofficial remix of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River," adding some raps to the song and releasing it to mixtapes. Now, the two have made a real record together. Timberlake is one of the many special guests who joined forces with 50 for his June 26 release, Curtis.
"I actually wrote a lot of the portions that other artists are working with me on, [but] in Justin's case, I flew to Florida," 50 said of their collaboration, which is called "AYO Technology." "He was on tour with Timbaland. Timbaland produced the beat in a studio/trailer, on the tour bus. We got the music, the first time. I wrote a first verse; I didn't want to finish without the content and chorus. We got together the second time and finished the song in Houston."
Besides Timbo and Timberlake, 50 rallied an impressive group of A-list performers and producers for the album.
On previous LPs, "outside of Eminem and Dr. Dre, it has just been G-Unit around 50 Cent as an artist," he said of how he's changed up his MO for the new LP. "This time I worked with Akon, with Mary J., Robin Thicke, Will.I.Am, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, Kanye West. Me and Young Buck featuring Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls. The album, for me, was finding a space where I am content and comfortable with my career, where I can go off and create with other artists and experiment a little bit."
While "Straight to the Bank," the first record from Curtis, looks at 50's current financial status, the rest of the album was inspired by his life prior to Get Rich or Die Tryin', hence the title Curtis: the name he went by before the world knew him as 50 Cent.
Early Friday morning (April 27), a new 50 Cent track — labeled as being produced by Mobb Deep's Havoc and titled "Fully Loaded Clip" — surfaced. The lyrics of the song transplant 50 back to his drug-dealer days, and he wastes no times calling out names, mentioning some of hip-hop's famous couples such as Jermaine Dupri and Janet Jackson as well as Diddy and Kim Porter.
"While Jay and Beyoncé was 'mmwa, mmwa' kissin'/ I was cookin' 1,000 grams in my kitchen," he raps. "While Nas was telling Kelis, 'I love you, boo'/ I was shining my nine/ You know how I do/ ... "While Trina was telling Weezy, 'I love you, boo'/ She was just running game/ She told Buck that too."
50 had considered calling the album Curtis SSK — for "SoundScan Killer" — but the album title has been shortened to just Curtis. The "SSK" was intended to address the pressure he feels to succeed.
"The pressure stays the same, [but] the climate is different," he said. "You see some hip-hop music sales being down, and [people] are looking at it like, '50, you gotta fix it! Let's
"I think CD sales have been down because of a lack of quality [in the albums] that have been released," he continued. "It wasn't [as] good as the standards that they hold at Shady/Aftermath. Dr. Dre, Eminem and myself — [we collect material until we've got] what we feel is the best possible music by the time I come out. That's my formula to selling to the hip-hop community."
50 told MTV News late last year that his next LP would be called Before I Self Destruct (see "50 Cent, Almost Ready To Self Destruct, Unloads On Critics First"). That album has been set aside and is now slated for release in February 2008. While some reports said that he'd merely changed the title of that album to Curtis, they are actually two different albums.
In fact, back in January, 50's DJ, Whoo Kid, even predicted that 50 would release a double album (see "Mixtape Monday: 50 Cent Might Drop A Double LP; Game Plays Nice").
[This story was originally published at 6:00 a.m. on 04.27.2007]