Despite calling himself “old school,” 50 Cent has a lot to say about music’s current climate, including competitively dropping albums, the fact that albums are now only seven songs long and how rappers’ beef contributes to their music being better.
50 Cent sat down with DJ Whoo Kid in his G-Unit offices in New York City to celebrate the launch of season 5 of Power, the rapper-turned-television producer’s Starz project, which he also stars in.
Here are six things 50 Cent touched on about the new era of music:
He thinks JAY-Z is shady for dropping Everything Is Love with Beyoncé the same weekend as Nas’ Nasir.
“Yeah that was fucked up what they did to Nas,” he said in all seriousness. The surprise joint project between Bey and JAY, Everything Is Love, was released June 16 — a day after Nas’ album Nasir dropped. 50 Cent said that the “surprise” aspect of The Carters’ album was a clear move on JAY-Z’s part to shade Nas. The “Candy Shop” rapper admitted viewers would call him grimy for calling out the “Holy Grail” artist, but he slapped down a liquor bottle on the table to demonstrate how JAY-Z would have been eyeing Nas’ latest album drop. “He’d be super quiet, doing some real grimy shit, looking and seeing if anybody noticed the grimy shit I just did.”
50 Cent doesn’t consider seven songs to be a complete album: “That’s an EP.”
Speaking of Kanye West-produced albums, he doesn’t qualify seven-song projects as full-length albums. He referenced his own 2015 mixtape, The Kanan Tape, which had only six songs to its name, as something that wouldn’t count as an entire project. “If it’s not like hit music, it feels like just, ‘Damn, this shit is crazy.’ Then why you do that?” he told DJ Whoo Kid. 50 Cent noted how technology and music consumption patterns have changed — and listeners’ attention spans have shortened drastically — which led him to the “old school” self-realization he laughed about.
He crowns Pusha T the winner of his beef with Drake because he mentioned Drake’s son.
Pusha T and Drake went after each other diss track after diss track until Pusha’s “The Story of Adidon” dropped a truth listeners didn't know: Drake has a son. “Pusha T was dead pocket on that because he offered information to the public before that they didn’t know that was real,” 50 Cent said. “People’s interest in Drake is what made the line so good.”
Chief Keef and 6ix9ine look up to 50 because they came up “under rough circumstances.”
He doesn’t credit his gangsta image for attracting the likes of Chicago-bred rapper Chief Keef or SoundCloud rapper 6ix9ine. “These kids are coming out of an environment where they have strong influences ahead of that,” 50 Cent explained. “I’m just the closest thing that they see in entertainment culture that relates to where they’re coming from.” He loves Chief Keef because of how he represents his local roots and the truth that he spits, especially in regards to “fake True Religion jeans.” Rap culture allows for those “under rough circumstances to make it,” which blends in various narratives explicit to an artist’s experience.
XXXTentacion would have been a superstar “if you loved him as much as you do when he passed.”
Despite never meeting XXXTentacion, 50 Cent believed in his potential as a superstar artist. Dubbed this generation’s Tupac by his former manager Adam Grandmaison, X received posthumous praise through social media posts, memorials and streaming and chart records. But 50 Cent doesn’t want any of that: “Let me tell you this in advance: Don’t post shit after I’m dead.” He also condemned Spotify for making money off of X’s tracks after the platform tried to remove his music from their curated playlists under its since-abandoned “Hateful Conduct” policy.
Eminem and 50 Cent might be cooking up an album together after not releasing Relapse 2.
When asked if there was going to be a joint Eminem-50 Cent album, he replied, “Who knows now that there’s only seven songs on an album?” But he only shows support to the “Rap God” artist, whom he’s collaborated with as his Slim Shady alter ego in the past. Now, 50 Cent is ready to partner up with the Eminem side of him. “We did Relapse 1 and 2,” he recalls. “My favorite music was on 2… but when he didn’t like the response he got from Relapse, he went to Recovery.” Eminem has since kept the second Relapse to himself because according to his famed partner, “he’s his toughest critic.”
Watch the full interview below.