50 Cent is ready to prove the doubters wrong. The rapper and budding media mogul is set to release his first post Shady/Aftermath album Animal Ambition after announcing he is leaving his longtime label home to go independent. But when it comes to the artistic spirit behind the June 3 release, the controversial MC born Curtis Jackson is tapping into two legendary rap figures that have defined groundbreaking lyricism among other intriguing influences.
50 tells VIBE that the sheer lyrical originality that both Rakim and former rival Nas brought to the table proved to be invaluable inspiration during the recording of Animal Ambition.
“When I fell in love with hip-hop it was more important that you had your own style than you being able to master a version of Rakim or a version of another artist’s style,” he says alluding to artist he has publicly called his idol. “Nobody does that better than [Rakim]. Even with new content that flow is still his flow. Nas is [also] one of those guys…he has his own. Even if some people make comparisons that was just Queensbridge, man. That period for me…Mobb Deep, Prodigy is in his own class in my mind.”
In 50’s view of the current hip-hop landscape, today’s MC are too consumed with fitting in. [Rakim and Nas] had their separate individual thing,” he explains. “And now I see so many things trend. They follow each other so often that it’s different.”
50 Cent says that while he’s still on the fence on the latest New York rap renaissance with the likes of Joey Badass, Troy Ave, and Vinny Cha$e making serious noise (“We will see what happens,” he says when asked about NYC’s new generation of spitters), he believes his upcoming album will inject some much needed authenticity into the scene.
“Animal Ambition is about prosperity and the effects of it,” Fiddy describes the street-fueled work. “All the sides of the coin. A lot of people think about how successful you are doing when it comes to prosperity, but the envy connected to it like, ‘Damn, niggas wanna want to stick me for my paper.’ That was BIG rapping after Ready To Die when he actually made some money and felt new energy from people that he didn’t feel before with the success he had at that point.”
50 even admits that his hardboiled view of the world won’t be for everyone. “It’s going to be really interesting because some of [Animal Ambition] is written from a slightly warped perspective,” he muses. “But it’s all about prosperity.”
In addition to Animal Ambition, 50 Cent is serving as executive producer for the upcoming Starz Network drama Power set to debut later this year.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)