Soundtrack Of My Life: 50 Cent

Legendary rapper and hip-hop mogul

This interview was first published in a July 2015 print issue of NME

The first song I remember hearing

The Jackson 5 – ‘ABC’

“I was one of nine kids, raised by my grandmother, so most of what I was hearing first in the home was stuff that the other kids were listening to, which at the time was mostly Motown music.”

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The first song I fell in love with

Bobby Womack – ‘Across 110th Street’

“Because of how the situation was for Black people in America at that time, there were a lot of struggle songs around, tracks that represented how hard it was for ordinary people. It wasn’t so much that I fell in love with it at that age, it was more that it seemed to be something that really moved the people around me – I felt the power of music to raise people up, to make them angry or proud.”

The first album I bought

Erik B & Rakim – ‘Paid In Full’

“In those days, hip-hop wasn’t the dominant global pop culture it is now. You had to go out and find it. It’d only be on public radio for maybe an hour a day. I used to get my grandmother’s tape recorder, the one she used to tape church services with, and use that to tape hip-hop off the radio. And with Erik B & Rakim I think was the first moment where I felt like: ‘I’ve got to own this. This is crucial.'”

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The song that made me want to be a rapper

Eric B. & Rakim – ‘Juice (Know The Ledge)’

“It was a song that made me feel like it represented my neighbourhood. Listening to it, I felt like they were painting a picture of where I lived and all the moves you needed to make in order to live on the streets there. The law of the jungle out there. It’s like: “Where’s the ledge?” Where’s the edge of what you can get away with in the hood?”

The song that makes me want to dance

Future – ‘Karate Chop’

“When I listen to a guy like Future, I think about how much new stuff Southern culture has brought to rap in these past few years. He’s a guy who’s got a rock ‘n’ roll kind of edge to him – he’s a drinking, drugging kind of guy, and he’s crazy. Hip-hop now is more diverse than it’s ever been, and Future to me best represents what a crazy different world it’s become lately.”

The song I do at karaoke

Miley Cyrus – ‘Wrecking Ball’

“I can honestly say I’ve never done karaoke in my life. Most of my life has been lived getting rich, managing my business, and I work really hard at that, so there hasn’t been enough time to be honest with you. But if I did, I’d probably do something like Miley. Just a big pop song that no one would suspect, just to fuck with them. Make them go: ‘What?’”

The song that reminds me of Eminem

50 Cent – ‘In Da Club’

“I remember before my album came out, there was a big debate about what the first single should be. Jimmy Iovine thought it should be the one that Dr Dre produced, ‘If I Can’t’. But Em wanted it to be ‘In Da Cub’. I was staying out of it, I didn’t want to stir the pot. In the end though, they were deadlocked, and so they asked me and I told them, real quiet: “In Da Club”. And that was it. The rest was history.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Notorious BIG – ‘Hypnotize’

“I’d just want everyone to have as much of a party as possible. We’re only here for a moment, life is fast, man. And the only thing that really counts is how many happy moments you can get out of it. Obviously, on one level, what I’m doing with my music and my company matters, but in another way, it doesn’t matter at all. When I’m gone, I’m gone. Whatever.”

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