March 26, 2004
@ 04:47 PM

The following are excerpts from the interview with 50 Cent (multi-platinum hiphop artist, highest album and single sales for the year 2003) in the April 2004 issue of Playboy.  

Playboy: When you started dealing, at 12, where did you get the drugs?

50 Cent: I was uncomfortable asking my grandparents for certain things. They raised their kids at a time when ProKeds cost $10. When I was a kid the new Jordans were more than $100. The people I met while I was with my mother, they had jewelry and nice cars. They gave me three and a half grams -- an eight ball. That's the truth. The same money I would've paid for those Jordans. Sometimes when you ask for fish people give you a pole.

Playboy: You did buy-one-get-one-free promotions.

50 Cent: And I only called it “buy one get one free” because they were calling it “two for $5” on the next block. I was trying to make it different. I was marketing! Fiends want something free , so use the word free. It's better than “two for $5”

Platboy: Did it work?

50 Cent: Hell, yes, it worked. And I made the pieces bigger. Some guys made small pieces and figured they'd make a huge profit. But it takes longer to sell the pieces. I made the pieces huge, and they started coming from down the block. All the pieces would sell the same dat and I'd accumulate more money.

Playboy: This seems pretty heavy for a teenager.

50 Cent: Older dudes in our neighborhood were way worse. They were robbing banks; they would kidnap each other. They tried to rob me one night in front of my grandmother's house. I was 19 and had bought a 400 SE Mercedes-Benz. I got to the front door, and the sliding door of a cargo van opened. They had a shotgun. I jumped over the porch and ran for a gun in the backyard. Pow! I got away from them, though. There's a strong possibility they would've killed me.

Playboy: Did you ever use the gun you hid in your grandmother's yard?

50 Cent: The first time I ever shot somebody, I was in junior high school. I was coming out of a project building -- I ain't gonna tell you where. I was going to see this girl. I had my uncle's jewlery on, and two kids decided to rob me. This kid was like “Yo c'mere, let me holler at you”. As I turned they all started pouring out of the lobby. It had to be 15 people stepping to me to rob me. I had a little .380 six-shot pistol, and I didn't even look. I just spun around bangin'. Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop! Shot and just kept running.

Playboy: Did you hit anybody?

50 Cent: Yeah, I hit one of 'em. And that encouraged the next situation. After that, you just get comfortable shooting. The first time, you're scared to death, as scared as the guy you're shooting at. Then it grows easier for you. Everybody has a conscience. You say to yourself, Man, he was gonna do something to me. Then it's like, I don't give a fuck, whatever. After a while the idea of shooting somebody doesn't bother you.

Playboy: When you were signed with Columbia, you decided to quit dealing. Then what happened?

50 Cent: I got a $65,000 advance; $50,000 went to Jam Master Jay, and $10,000 went to the lawyer to negotiate my contractual release from Jay and do my contract with Columbia. I had only $5,000 left. I had to be able to provide for myself so I took the $5,000 and turned it into 250 grams.

Playboy: You went back to dealing.

50 Cent: I had no choice.

Playboy: Do you think Jam Master Jay ripped you off?

50 Cent: He didn't he took what he felt was his. I was never bitter at Jay, because what I learned from him is what allows me now to sell 10 million records. He groomed me. That's worth $50,000

There were a bunch of other questions but most of them focused either on his violent past or his publicized beef with Ja Rule and Murder Inc. Two things struck me as I read the interview. The first was how people could live in the same country and in some times the same city yet exist in totally different worlds. The second is that America is truly the land of opportunity.