My favorite thing about rappers and pop stars is when they seem to surprise themselves by having the desire to act like actual artists by creating something with the purpose of communicating real emotions. It doesn’t happen very often, of course, and for 50 Cent, it’s only actually happened once.
In an interview with MTV News, he spoke candidly about each of his four full-lengths. Get Rich or Die Tryin, he reminds us, was the highest-selling debut hip-hop album of all time. His follow-up album, The Massacre, was the record he made when he was fat. And his third album, Curtis… well, that one was capital-A Art.
“This right here is my artist album — Curtis, album three. I had to name this album Curtis. My grandfather’s Curtis Sr., his first born is Curtis Jr., I’m his first grandchild, I’m Curtis James Jackson III. And that’s why my third album is titled Curtis. I attempted to make this album human. That was my outline for what the record should be. I wrote ‘Straight to the Bank,’ I put laughter in the record — that was one of three records. I wrote what I felt what was representation of joy. I wrote ‘I Still Kill’ featuring Akon. ‘I Still Kill’ had the aggression, anger. ‘Ayo Technology’ was love, sex. I put a lot of different things into this album, and I found a new place musically collaborating with all the talented artists on this project. What’s interesting is I came up with the concept before Before I Self Destruct and wrote four demo tracks before I decided to go with Curtis because I knew Before I Self Destruct would impact harder behind this.”
Then he talked about the new one, Before I Self Destruct, and he definitely likes it, but it’s not clear if he thinks it’s art. Click through to see what he had to say! But also feel free not to!
“Finally, album four, Before I Self Destruct — I’m deeming this classic here. I didn’t overwrite it. It’s got 15 cuts, 16 is the bonus with R. Kelly, ‘Could Have Been You.’ I pick and choose my moments on this actual record. I finally found a balance of what I feel like a great album is — and this is representation of it right here. I knew what my singles were before we even got started. I came into it and said, ‘This is going to work, I’m going to do “Baby by Me” and then I’m going to explain what happens when that doesn’t work, when a relationship doesn’t work. And then I’m going to go here, get it hot.’ And people don’t understand the transition and difference between Curtis and Before I Self Destruct.
” … ‘I Get It In’ leaked out and I had to have Dre mix it. You know, the record was out and I wanted it to sound as best as possible. But we still weren’t prepared to launch the actual album, so we never actually shot the music video for that. I said, ‘I’ll make something better,’ and I went back in the studio and I created ‘Baby by Me’ and ‘Do You Think About Me,’ which was written before all of that. And ‘Hold Me Down’ was one of my favorite joints on an actual album. So this one, I’m proud of this record. I hope everyone gets it and enjoys it, however they get it.”