Videogames, NASCAR, and my mother's affinity for raunchy rap lyrics have given 50 Cent a "Where's Waldo" type of omnipresence in my life. Though he hasn't released an album in five years, he's still a topic of conversation. Since the last album he announced was postponed for like two years, he's completely restructured his label imprint and released some songs that combine his catchy rapping and lilting sung hooks with the type of beats that you typically associate with good, meat-and-potatoes New York Rap, and announced Jadakiss. Thanks to his upcoming album Animal Ambition (set to release on June 3rd) and what I suspect is a post-SXSW exhaustion in everyone else at Noisey, I got to interview him before the listening party for the record at Sirius XM. My experience with famous rappers has taught me not to expect a sense of humor out of anyone with hundreds of diamonds around their neck, but he ended up being the friendliest and most talkative artist I've met in my short career as a everyone-else-is-too-tired-to-do-this journalist.
I was close to peeing my pants when I signed into a big white room full of big white geometric furniture (which is standard for fancy music-industry offices for some reason) but thanked the stars above that I'd chosen to wear black to the event. All five of the 30-something ladies bustling around with clipboards were dressed head-to-toe in black spandex. The Sirius XM soul station played softly underneath their hurried chatter. There was no open bar in sight and everyone looked too busy to talk to me, so I waited quietly on a tiny couch next to some blonde Urban Outfitters-looking dude until one of the stressed-out spandex girls led me to a smaller white room with a glass wall (also fancy music-industry office standard) where 50 Cent lounged, casually rocking a diamond chain and a grave face that made me even more hesitant to ask him all my dumb questions. I started with the ones that everyone else was probably asking, just to feel him out. I decided if I could make him smile within the first two minutes, he'd probably be down to reply to my mom's "hi."
Noisey: So you haven't released in album in like, five years. Are you stoked to finally release Animal Ambition after all the frustration over Street King Immortal? And was the change in label (from Shady Records/Interscope to Caroline Records/Capitol) due to that frustration?
50 Cent: It was a decision we made because it was taking so long. It was a good thing, though. Em(inem) used a little bit of his influence to help me find a better situation for the album, but it all worked out for the best. I'm releasing Animal Ambition now, and Street King Immortal will come out later this year, but I felt like Animal Ambition was important to me because it shows what I'm doing right now.
That's awesome. So much in one year. Are you gonna be touring?
Yeah, I'm gonna tour after the release.
How was SXSW? I saw that you were playing some stuff there.
It was cool, it was different from what I've been doing onstage since I started and it was a cool experience because I'm usually with all the (G-Unit) guys onstage, and at SXSW it was just me by myself on the stage and I got to utilize all of the space and do what I wanted to do. For a long time, at my shows, it wasn't just MY show—I made sure it was, y'know, 50 Cent and (Tony) Yayo and whoever. I'd do that to kinda help get their names out and get people recognizing them through me. Now I'm doing more on my own and it's just gonna be me.
That's really cool of you to do. I'm supposed to tell you my mom says hey.
[Laughs] Aw, tell her I said what's up.
She's gonna cry. OK, so my most important question is—Blood on the Sand. How often do you play it?
I haven't played in a while. I played it a lot when I was on tour after it came out, we had nothing to do in the buses and planes and everything. All you got on tour is videogames.
I just got it this winter and played so much. Who do you choose as your sidekick when you play?
Oh, man. Usually Yayo.
So you know all the secrets then, he makes the best sidekick. Don't pick Lloyd Banks, man.
Did you do the motion-capture acting for the game, or did they just give you that cool gun stance?
Yeah, we did all that. Young Buck was supposed to be in the game too, but he didn't come to the motion capture stuff because when we were doing it, he had to fly out to do the video with Jeezy. So that's why he's not in it.
Damn. I'd probably pick him as my sidekick. Y’all made it so hard to jump, though!
How do you feel about white girls rapping?
I think it's cool, y'know? Skin color doesn't matter in rap. People get all caught up in skin color and it's not what it's about—Em is really underrated because people have always been talking about him like, "The WHITE rapper Eminem" instead of just "the rapper."
You still think he's underrated, even now?
Yeah, because the skin color thing is still there. He has so many skills and he's more hood than so many people out there, people still put the skin color before anything and don't give him enough credit. It's like people saying Elvis Presley was only famous because he was white. He had, y'know, the rhythm of James Brown but he had his own thing. He was Elvis, he wasn't just a white man. Things like that are going to be picked up between black people and white people and anybody, it doesn't mean a person isn't great because they're influenced by something associated with another race. It doesn't matter.
So, you're a NASCAR fan…I'm from Daytona, and people get so excited about that. Who are your favorite drivers?
Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman.
I haven't heard of them.
Those are my drivers!
Oh shit, I didn't even know that.
Yeah, I had two cars in the Daytona 500. It's fun, we had a great time down there.
Did you stay in Daytona? I'm excited that you don't think it's a shithole. I’m from there and I think it's a shithole.
No, Daytona is nice! I love it down there! We tried to stay in town, but every single hotel was booked all the way to Winter Park, so we stayed up there.
They're telling me I'm out of time, so thanks so much for talking to me. I can't wait to hear the album.
50's manager: Wait, I need to ask you…did you dye your hair green for St. Patrick's Day?
No, it's always green. I feel like everyone's judging me today, though. Like, "that bitch is waaaay too into this holiday."
50 Cent: [laughs] She funny.