50 Cent – What Rock’n’Roll Has Taught Me

The hip-hop star explains why he’ll sell you condoms, but not booze – and why he wants to be remembered “like Michael Jackson”.

I don’t mind people thinking I’ll fuck them up.
If you push a lion into a corner then you shouldn’t expect him to give you a kiss and rub noses, you should expect him to attack. If you don’t say things aggressively and do things aggressively then people take you for a pushover. There are artists that have made themselves more approachable. People do things to them, maybe walk on their stage while they are performing, because they’re safe. Meanwhile, the guy who sets himself in a place where people know there is a possibility that things will go wrong, they don’t play games with him.

Books are really great.
Reading has become a larger form of entertainment for me since I’ve been touring. I’ve started reading books for different things, for my personal pleasure, while I’m commuting. Magazines are great but I haven’t found one yet that can last me from LAX to JFK on a five-hour flight.

One song can change your life.
I haven’t been to a place in the world at any period, from 2003 to this point, where ‘In Da Club’ hasn’t demanded a response. And I think that is because of what I wanted to write about at that point. I had made a lot of dark material, and when the time came I wanted to release ‘In Da Club’ because it is a celebration of life.

I don’t always understand who I am. I’m complicated.
I’ve met people and they’ve said, ‘He’s such a nice guy.’ I mean, what did they expect me to do? Shoot them? When I meet people for the first time… OK, they know the songs and they have heard of me, but what happens with musicians is that they become their hits, they become their records. That is why the fans behind them are so intense. From my perspective I look at me and say, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?’

Death becomes a part of life.
We aren’t really conscious of death until we are facing that threat and what we are dealing with at that moment. It’s the fear factor. When we watch things for entertainment, most action films place people in life-threatening situations traditionally, and what makes action films good is when we believe it.

America isn’t struggling. There is hope.
I think Obama is amazing. He is a representation of everything that America wanted, that anything is possible, he provides hope. I wasn’t sure America was ready for an African-American president – the confederate flag was waving in front of households across Middle America. But it is great that Obama is President, although it will take time for him to do anything at this point. People are looking for a quick fix to the economic problems. I think eventually things will turn around.

I believe in my business choices
The condoms situation [he has launched his own brand] came from the motivation to spearhead a safe sex campaign. If you look at condoms in general then you will find out that the companies who make them make more out of party balloons than they do condoms. Condoms are only profitable for selling to other countries. Selling them to Africa is where you make a whole lot of money. You would have to be a hell of a dealmaker to sell them to outside companies opposed to the existence of condoms. That was why I wanted to lend my face to a safe sex campaign. Alcohol is the leading beverage worldwide, I am aware of this but I didn’t create a vodka because it’s not a big part of my life.

I will be remembered.
I want to be remembered based on how people enjoyed my work. I make more work than I actually put out. People are gonna appreciate me after I’m gone more than they do now. Like Michael Jackson, but without the child molestation stuff, I don’t want that. I haven’t achieved the same success alive as Michael Jackson did, so I can’t expect exactly the same when I pass. Like most artists, I want respect.