50 Cent speaks on the inescapable longevity of his early single, "In Da Club," Eminem's unique approach, and Miley Cyrus' creativity.
50 Cent made quite a splash when he released his breakthrough single, "In Da Club" in 2003. In fact, the track was such a phenomenon that casual listeners still define Fif by it to this day. The NY rapper talked to Complex about his attempts to escape the iconic hit, his respect for Miley Cyrus, and how Eminem's lack of interest in areas outside of music has benefited him.
Read some excerpts from the interview below:
I was watching an interview with [Arctic Monkeys] and they were talking about how their new album is a little bit is R&B-leaning. And they said they wanted it to sound as good in your car as when you hear "In Da Club." That you never turn that song off when it comes on. It was interesting to hear knowing we'd be talking about speakers.
You know what? That record—I don’t know. [It's] chasing me. [I keep] running from it. I made a lot of music in 2003—it’s been 10 years and that record just stands out. I guess you never get a second chance at a first impression having it be the first single off the album.
More people have heard it than "How to Rob."
And it doesn’t get old because it’s always someone’s birthday.
What’s your favorite thing to listen to on [your headphones] right now?
My favorite stuff? It’s changing. If I watch something and it’s on my mind, I’ll have a stronger interest and I’ll be listen more. I was listening to Miley Cyrus after the [VMAs]. Because to me, [she’s making] a creative choice. That’s all. And the things she was doing, I could see Madonna doing it and being accepted immediately. But it’s how they perceive her. And it’s not [by] that creative choice. The perception is "[You're] Hannah Montana, so stay there."
I think that’s part of what she wanted. And it’s working for her.
It works because she’s being an artist that no one expected. A real artist is going to want the ability to be free with whatever they create. When you find yourself in times of stress, but you’ve developed and you got a great idea but I got to give this to someone else because it’s just not good for me… It’s interesting... [But] I was listening to that for a little bit [to] try to see what she was thinking.
With hip-hop, I’ve had a chance to step back from it and be a fan of the culture. It’s good when you can do that—when you have the luxury. A lot of artists are lost in their ideas. This is why we have people who have huge success within the culture. [Listeners think], "It’s cool, but it’s not like when you did this. When that fist record came." [Those comments are] coming from the artist community. That’s another artist waiting for his shot or someone who feels like their friend has what it takes. He’s creating that negative energy for you. It’s very rare that artists create a record that you consider, for that period of time, the record.
With the Internet, you get more access to how much people are reacting to you. With all that mounting pressure, what do you do? I can see why you would take a step back and see what other things you like to do.
[By] not having interest in a lot of other areas, [Eminem] was able to take a step back from these records. He just goes away and then he’d just watch [other artists] and then figures out what to do next. But [he's] just not as active as all these other folks. Everything else that [he's asked to] be involved in, he says no. He says, "No" more than he says, “Hi.” The circle’s so tight... It speaks to the culture when people see themselves in [your] light, [your] greatness.
When they look at Em and they see themselves it’s because they feel him. You see these other guys come out of nowhere almost, have huge hits. I like Eminem. I think hip-hop grew faster in different areas because of the success of his projects and there’s no other rappers doing other than whatever’s comfortable to them [despite Em's influence]. They’ll name top five MC and not have his name on it. When none of them have music that performed that well.
Is that why when you see artists you're unfamiliar with at award shows you do your research?
I’ve seen award shows and people got awards that I didn’t know. I didn’t know who they were. And I was like who is that? Why did they get the award? And then I go, I gotta listen to their record to see what is drawing people to it. Some of it is, I think, those committees. Award show committees are invested somehow because I’ve seen things that I didn’t understand. Even in my own career, the largest debuting hip-hop album wasn’t the Best New Album. It was Evanescence and they’ve been long gone.