Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson - The Transformation of "Power" - Extended Interview

Extended - July 18, 2017 - Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson 07/18/2017 Views: 26,331

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson weighs in on how hip hop and the music industry are evolving, and talks about acting in and producing the Starz series "Power." (11:06)

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Please welcomeCurtis "50 Cent" Jackson.

(cheers and applause)

50, A.K.A. Ferrari.

-F50... Yeah.-F50.

I-I feel like I could just dothe whole interview

just spitting your rhymesat you.

Sit here for five minutesjust talking about that.

"Have a baby by me baby."

"Be a millionaire."

Welcome to the show, sir.

I'm excited to be here, man.

Damn, it's-it's really excitingto have you.

Uh, not just because you area legend in hip-hop,

someone who has doneamazing things

within the music business,

but because of everythingyou are doing now.

It's 50 Cent, music producer,music mogul,

50 Cent, owner of music labels,

50 Cent, Vitamin Waterbusiness deals,

50 Cent,now television producer.

Did you ever see yourselftaking this path?

-Was this something you-you sawin your, in your future? -No.

Not-not when I first started.

Like, it's like, I've evolvedas a person over time.

Like, I, um, in 2003, if youasked me to make one wish,

I would have just wished thatmy music would be a success.

Oh, wow.

I learned about myselfover that time period,

that if you ask meto make a wish,

I'm just gonna wishfor more wishes.

I don't, I don't think you'reallowed to do that, man.

Yeah, you can. You can say,"You got one wish."

-Well, I need two wishes.-You... That's the rule of w...

Come on, 50, you can't do that.

Yeah, and then ask... one wish,

and then when you get the secondwish, you ask for more.

You-you feel... you seem likeyou're living the life

of someone who had a genie

and you justkeep getting those wishes.

-You, uh... -Well, it's-it'sreally exciting for me.

I can't...I can't complain at all.

Like, my music career,

-my first album is the largestdebuting hip album. -Right.

The first TV show I executiveproduced becomes...

It's actually the second-largesttelevision shown premium cable.

-Only behind Game of Thrones, and that's... -Are you serious?


-(cheering, applause)-Wow.

You, uh...

I mean, I-I knewthat you have, like,

eight million people watching,but I didn't know

that you're basicallyup against Game of Thrones.

You guys don't have dragons,though, that's not easy.

Yeah. Yeah, but everybody's

not into watchingdragons, right?

Everybody's, like...Like, I don't want to see...

-What about today, man?What's happening today? -Right.

Not like when the dragonswere running around.

You know? Like...

It's a differentkind of entertainment.

No, I'm-a... I'm-a tell you,I'll be honest,

I like Game of Thrones, so...

(cheering, applause)

The, uh... You know whatwould be dope-- if you just

came on to Game of Thrones.

That... They should have you onas, like, a cameo appearance.

Anywhere, I'll go anywhere.I'll go, like, nude.

(cheering, applause)

I'll do the Game of Thrones, I'll pop up...

I'll pop up and thenI'll feel like I've arrived.

You know? 'Cause I'm on bothof the hit shows at one time.

-At the-at the same time?-Yeah.

You know what I'm-I'm picturingright now is you

on Game of Thrones, and everyonegetting uncomfortable

because it's 50 Cent, you know?And they're just like,

"We're gonna get the dragons,we're gonna take over

"the kingdom, we're gonna...Oh, my God, it's 50 Cent.

"Oh, hello, big fan of yours.In the club,

partying, partying,in the club."

You, uh, you-you...When you-when you started off

with, uh, Power, it was an immediate smash hit.

Uh, you went with premium cable,

and that was a decisionnot many people make.

Why did you go for a networkthat maybe not everyone

could watch, and yet everyonehas now started watching?

Right. Well, uh, I picked...Well, Starz network--

we pitched it to 'embecause I felt like...

like, our culture's becomingmore and more graphic.

-Right. -You can see itin-in the music.

Like when the femaleR & B solo artists

are singing lyrics

like "You gotta eat the bootylike groceries."


-That is a sign.-Yes.

That is a sign. That's a signwe're going into, like,

a new space. Like, when...when the R & B singers

have more tattoosthan the rap artists...

-Then you know... -You know it'sgetting into a different area.

Like, it's, like, changing.Like, the last thing...

the-the R & B artists...

Look, R & B required buttons.You needed a button

on your shirt or on your jacketor on something.

-There was love...-That was back in the...

like, in the Jodeci daysand the... the music.

-Like that. -Yeah, there waslove in the music.

Now it's, like, yo...

I ain't gonna say it'cause we're on TV.

I... You could-you couldhave said it.

We'll bleep it out,but you can say it.

Wh-When you... when you look atthe stories that you're telling,

it's always difficult,you know, to have a...

to have a show like Power that's so popular

and place it in a position where people

aren't just seeing itas a black show but as a show.

-Right. -Do you ever struggle with that,

where people go, like,"Oh, it's a good black show"?

I experienced that even-evenwith Get Rich or Die Tryin'.

Like, I just... I said somethings about the Tupac movie

-that came out, All Eyez on Me, 'cause I thought -Right.

it was terrible.Like, the movie was just bad.

-(lone clapping) -Right. I likethat someone clapped for that.

"Yeah! Yeah!"

See? That's...You felt like I felt.

They-they owe us our money back.

The whole sixt...$20 these days.

They want $20 to see a movie.

I-I feel like I should'vewatched it on a Fire Stick.

You know what I'm talking about?Just...

What is this? What is this?

I'm like... But-but...

Because, like, my film,when we put it together,

they gave me the thingsthat would aid it

-for being successful. Theygave me Terry Winters. -Right.

He went on to write The Sopranos and Wolf on Wall Street.

-He's, like, a usual suspectfor a hit in Hollywood. -Right.

To write,to structure it for me,

they gave me Jim Sheridanfrom Dublin.

And I got Quincy Jonesto do the score.

And then I-I did the soundtrackmyself.

We sold three million records.They didn't give me no trophy,

but we soldthree million records, you know?

And... it's just... they gave meeverything to make it good.

-Right. -What happened was,when it came time, the key art,

I had myself in the key art.

So it just went... The waythe systems look at things

is they say,"Black male, black."

And they sent itto urban theaters,

the urban theaters and markets,to 1,700 theaters,

instead of the 3,200-theaterplan that we had originally.

-Right, right.-Because I had the same crew

that developed Eminem's 8 Mile, we had the same plan.

And there was,like, 3,200 theaters.

And Em's story's a black storywith a white lead.

Like, D12.It's only, like, one white guy.

Like-like, you know? Like,he's... he's culturally, like...

I always look at, like, Emand-and be like,

"Yo, you got to be careful withhim because he grew up in it."

-Right.-Like-like, he'll-he'll...

If you get on the trackand you're not

in your best possible state,

chances are he's gonna whup youso bad that you're, like...

It's like, "Damn."Like, you... if you come home

and they be like, "So you letthe white boy whup you?"

And you're like,"When did this become racial?"

But do you... do you think, whenyou... when you look at that,

do you think that Power

has successfully transcendedthat?

Or is Power successfully inthe process of doing that now?

Well, I was...we was conscious of it

as we starteddeveloping the characters.

-Right. -My show's a diverse,you know, show,

and we wanted it to be bigger.

Of course it would...

Because the key art had Omariin it by himself for season one,

it was labeled "a black show"at that point.

And then it-it kind of went upin success.

The signs of you having a hitshow is to just keep increasing

-in audience. It keeps going upand up. -Right.

And it's still going up.And now, look,

Tommy's become such a bigcharacter in the show, you know?

And he's-he'sdefinitely not black.

-(laughter) -You know,and then I went and got...

I went and got my manfrom Fast & Furious.

-He's playing the, uh...the district attorney. -Right.

You know, so, you know,we got an Asian guy in there,

and you see...They're, like...

-Look, all they haveManny Pacquiao. -(laughter)

Right? Then when see...they see him pop up again,

they go, "Hold up, now.

-This (bleep) is gettin' good."-(laughter)

-Can I tell you, I...-(applause and cheering)

I've never heard someone havea diversity conversation

with as much swagas you did right there.

-(laughter) -This is likehaving everybody in.

Uh, before I let you go,one of the things

that's been really impressiveabout Power

-is the authenticityof the story, right? -Right.

It's not a story

that particularly glorifiesdrug dealing

or the drug business,but it talks about the hustle.

In many ways, it could bea story on Wall Street.

It's just dealingwith a different underworld.

Right, right.

When you look at the story, andwhen you're trying to create it,

are you ever consciousof what you're glorifying?

You know, if you lookat how black people

are perceived in America,

if you look athow black culture is perceived,

are you ever worriedand going like,

-"All right, let's make surethere's balance in this."? -No.

-How do you tell the story?-I'm just as honest as possible.

And then, I tell the story,and the imperfections

that people identifywithin the character--

I think that developsthe passion for the story

when the audienceis watching it.

And it's really,Courtney's responsible.

Courtney Kemp isthe writer-show runner.

And she's amazing.

Like, she has all of thatwriting background, structure.

-Right. -And she's...she's a trained writer,

so she can pace it,the information,

and that's whypeople really enjoy it.

It's not all me.

-I was told to take creditfor everything. -(laughter)

-You know? -I like that, though.I like that.

But, you know,it is Courtney Kemp.

-She's... the one.Yeah, she's, like... -(laughter)

Let me... let me ask you thisreal quick.

Just random thoughtthat came in my head now.

Why was Conor McGregorcussing you out

on stage in New York?

Why he was like, (with Irishaccent): "(bleep) 50 cent."?

-(laughter) -50...Yeah, he said "50's a bitch."

I'm like, "You're gonna fightFloyd, fool, not me."


It's, uh... it's just oneof them moments

that I just got pulledinto something, and I'm like...

Were you...were you watching that?

Yeah, I was... I was watching.

I was enjoying itlike everybody else.

I'm trying to watch it.I'm excited.

"Let me see. This is gonna bea good fight, man.

It's the UFC versus boxing."

And then I get put in the fight.

-(laughter) -I said,"Damn, I got to say something."

I started to get...What? Get my phone.


I started off immediately,put something on Instagram,

say something back to himor something.

But I don't know.Like, I think he had a lot

of pressure on himgoing into that fight,

like, 'cause Floyd is...

He's pretty tough, man.He don't do...

He's not socially conscious.

He doesn't say things

that people would actuallylike him for.

-Right. We've noticed.We've noticed. -(laughter)

Right? Because a long time ago,I said to him...

I said, "Whoa, champ, I thinkwe doing this the wrong way,

because we doingthe money team."

And it was like, "Look, we gotall the money in the world,

"and we're gonna burn itlike the joker in the bank.

"We don't care about nothing.

We're just gonna dowhat we want to do."

And now it's like, "Wait. We gotto switch this around, champ."

And he was like...

"Nah, you do that."


I said, "What?!

I thought we was in thistogether, my brother."

"Nah." He was like,"You do that."

He said, "What a prize fighterfighting for, bro?

The prize."

-That's Floyd's gamestraight down. -That's his game.

Straight down the line.

You know what my favorite thingabout you was?

In that moment,someone hit at you,

and you went straightfor your Twitter,

and that means, my friend,you are presidential.

-I like that.-Okay.

-Thank you very much.-(cheers and applause)

Power airs Sundaysat 9:00 p.m. on Starz.

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson,everybody!

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