VIBE April/May Cover Story: 50 Cent

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Vibe / April 20, 2011

THE VIBE Q: 50 Cent

50 CENT WOULD BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT THAT—AS THE LATE CHRISTOPHER WALLACE ONCE OBSERVED—THINGS DONE CHANGED. THE CONSUMMATE ANTAGONIST HAS DONE A LOT OF EVOLVING SINCE HE CAME OUT 12 YEARS AGO, RAPPING ABOUT THE ART OF LARCENY (“HOW TO ROB”). NOW HE’S GOT TO BRING HIS FANS ALONG WITH HIM. IN A COMFORTABLE SPACE, THE BUSINESSMAN TALKS GOD, GROWTH, GIRLS AND KEEPING IT GLOBAL

Story: Erik Parker II Photography: Erin Patrice

“THIS IS A TRAGEDY,” SAYS 50 CENT, furiously thumbing his BlackBerry. Just a moment ago, the 36-year-old rap mogul was happily sharing a story about his new lap dog, the scruffy darkish-grey Schnauzer he named Oprah. “Sometimes she looks like a Yorkie because she needs a haircut,” 50 says, all suave and cleaned up in a dark blue YSL suit and handmade David Chu bespoke Italian wing tips.

Then came the news that ruined his day: ÜberTwitter, his favorite mobile tweeting application, has just been kicked off the social media platform. “Find out the guy’s name, we’ll make a deal or something,” he barks into a phone and shakes his head. “I hate regular Twitter.”

The street hustler turned mixtape rapper who survived nine gunshots in a botched 2000 murder attempt is now a serial tweeter with more than 4 million followers. And while he chuckles at his use of the word “tragedy” to describe his Twitter troubles, 50’s social networking game brings real world ramifications. He’s ruffled the feathers of arch enemies and alleged former exes in 140 characters or less. (To Ciara: “Yeah I tweet things that reflect my character b*tch. I have a sense of humor get one. lol that’s why your 3 mill followers behind me.”) He recently fired off a tweet that some credited with sending a penny stock surging nearly 270% in one day.

Most pressing these days is his tweets about his new wireless headphone brand, Sleek By 50 Cent, and how they might affect his relationship with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. The same men who set him on the road to mega-stardom at Interscope Records also have a very successful competing headphone brand.

It’s clear to anyone who’s seen @50cent on their Twitter timeline, Curtis James Jackson III has not only expanded his brands and biggered his businesses, he’s broadened his own horizons. As a complement to his gun-slinging G-Unit label, he’s added G-Note records, which is designed to house artists with “less aggressive” content. He jumped it off with Hot Rod, a former G-Unit signee who’s hit upon a new Euro-club sound (“Dance With Me”) and R&B Soul artist Governor. For his next film, Things Fall Apart—produced by his production company, Cheetah Vision—he starved himself to portray a cancer-stricken high school football star. To Mr. Jackson, it’s all about growth. “What I get is, ‘I love the old 50,’” he says. “But you can’t expect the same person.” Besides, the new guy has some important tweets to send.

CLICK ↓ TO READ 50 CENT’S Q&A