Just a few hours after 50 Cent’s first Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama hit the Internet, VIBE caught up with G-Unit boss at his New York City office. With DJ Drama on speakerphone, we talked freely about the new release, 50’s mixtape evolution, and his upcoming projects. Check out the no-holds-barred interview below.
VIBE: Drama now that the tape is out and everyone is digesting it and tweeting about it, is the pressure off you?
Drama: This my kick my feet up time. Just kind of marinating and seeing what the feedback and the response is.
I know that this has been a long time in the making.
[50 Cent walks into his own office where Drama is being interviewed on speakerphone]
50 Cent: What the fuck is up? Drama, what’s good?
50, I was just talking to Drama about the tape.
50 Cent: He killed it for me. The 2 Chainz remix, he’s responsible for that. Some artists ain’t really open to you helping them in different ways but they usually aren’t very successful artists. The successful artists, they take on the challenge. Because I feel like I can rap to anything. Regardless of—a lot of times I stay away from styles because when I fell in love with the culture it was important that you had your own identity and your own style and they would be like ‘oh this reminds me of the old Fif’ and I’m intentionally using my style.
I hear you. In the ‘90s, if you were from New York, you’d rap like you’re from New York.
50: A lot of things changed. Things cycle. Like in fashion, it’s the same. Instead of the hippies, they’re hipsters, instead of the pants being bell bottoms, they’re tighter because of skateboard culture emerging at the same time. For me when I look at—The things that I fell in love with within the culture, there’s no longer a lot of that representation out here. So, I feel like it’s important that I represent that. Even if it’s not exactly with what is the trend for the moment because we cycle [in hip-hop]. Before 50 Cent, there was DMX and “Get At Me Dog.” “What Up Gangsta” was for Get Rich Or Die Trying.
And that “Riot” record you mentioned is poppin’. Were there anymore records that Drama brought to you like ‘Yo, you need to spit over this?’
50: He inspired the OJ joint. But I actually met 2 Chainz and I like him—not necessarily everything that he says in rap or everything that he may do in life but I like him on a personable level like when we actually got a chance to talk man to man. So, I want to see him win. So, I take it and I make it—I’m actually writing both of us on to the record. Instead of—I wrote everybody else out of their own when I came up.
It’s got to be hard to see the things you’ve done 10 years ago working for new rappers. Like the joint you did with Bun B, “As The World Turns,” if some new rapper put that out today, fans would be like ‘oh sh*t, he’s killin’ it.’
50: Bun and Pimp C , when we—that actual song was done before “Big Pimpin’” —that just shows how people pay attention. That’s why Jay-Z is as successful as he is. He saw the move but I didn’t . Then I got shot, I was gone and he did the other one.
You really think so?
50: They don’t miss no beats. Look who we talkin’ bout. It’s all good. I look at—each one of those opportunities to do different things. Like I see artist’s momentum, true momentum versus what record companies think. They go out prematurely. Like in Future’s case.
You think “Tony Montana” came out a little too early?
50: Not the song. I think they actually launched his album too early.
Build it up more and get 50 Cent on a record [Laughs]?
50: He’s talented, that would’ve helped.
That “Same Damn Time (Remix)” with Diddy and Luda is retarded. The way Diddy rapped on that is almost how he rapped on your “I Get Money (Remix)” years back
50: [Laughs] Puffy’s wack. As an artist, tell the truth.
I mean when he has dope people writing his sh*t he’s not wack. When he’s got somebody writing his sh*t that’s ill, we still love it.
50: People who say they sing songs just because they enjoy the music, they’re usually more believable. He’s the best producer and business man. His contribution to hip-hop culture is the remix. I acknowledge that.
Now Drama, was there any records that you wish 50 would’ve rapped on. Like ‘Come on man, I need you to rap on Drake’s latest’ or anyone’s latest?
Drama: Yea, I’ve got a lot of records I wish he rapped on but we’re saving that for the next tape.
50: We’re setting it up.
Drama: We not done.
Gangsta Grillz Lost Tape part 2?
Drama: Nah, we can’t give you that yet but we’re definitely not done.
50: I’m back to work. It’s not just the tape itself, the Lost Tape. I’m just backing working so I can put my finger on the pulse and see what’s going on.
I’ve got to get some more details on you working with Cam.
50: Cam, if you listen to the original confrontation that we had.
The one on the phone where you guys are yelling at each other?
50: I said I’m cool with Dipset before that even started. All I said was ‘Come on, put him on the phone.’
And he kind of started wildin’ out.
50: The camera’s rolling on the other side. All of those situations, when I look back at things that had me frustrated at one point or angry because I don’t take well to disrespect at all even if it’s just something that you said. Because the environment that I come from, we meet aggression with aggression. So if you indicate you want a problem, we give you a bigger problem than you want and then we’re fine. There’s no need to shake hands or apologize.
Did he call you though or did you call him? How did yall like even–?
50: We actually got a chance to—Well, we had mutual parties around each other.
Honestly, what was your favorite Cam’ron song
Oh! One of his first ones.
50: “357,” that’s it. “Horse and Carriage” didn’t even mean that to me. That was like – Whenever an artist makes a joint that you listen to and go ‘ooh’ like that joint had me. The beat, the whole thing. It struck a chord in me, that’s how– Even for Busta, his portfolio of music, for me is “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.” Even fat boy. Fat Joe, his was “Lean Back.”
Word, you actually rock with that record?
50: I like that joint ‘cause of Remy. She just felt like she belonged there in the pack. It’s partially why I have such a liking to Paris.
You see the same energy in her?
50: It’s not the same, it’s very different but it’s the having a hard time. It does something to you. They offer that passion in their voice when they’re actually doing something. Like Tupac, there weren’t a lot of punchlines, matter fact there wasn’t no punch lines. He just said to you like he meant it and you felt it and you wanted to roll with it. BIG had the punch lines. For me, these kind of tapes to come out and impact in a good way, it’s not a difficult process for me because I’m conditioned for it.
Drama, I’ve just got one request. Next time you get in the studio with 50, can you just put in his head Cam’ron, 50 Cent, mixtape boss of all bosses of the f*cking universe.
Drama: That’d be hot. You know what’d be even funnier? A Cam and 50 comedy mixtape with just skits of them talking.
50: The name would probably be something film. He did good in Paid and Full [Laughs]. Aight, I got to head to Cannes.