Rapper and entrepreneur 50 Cent sat down Lisa Robinson of Vanity Fair to talk about success, being good friends with Floyd Mayweather, dating Chelsea Handler, marriage, Power TV show, Kanan and much more.
Check out the interview below.
Lisa Robinson: You can look tough—that “I got shot nine times” look—and then you have a really sweet smile. You’ve even described yourself as a “pussycat.”
50 Cent: That’s the two versions. I wasn’t even able to cuss in my grandmother’s house. Since she passed, my grandfather is that for me now. He still lives where I grew up in Queens, but also Long Island. I moved him to a new place.
L.R.: So you obviously had enough money to buy him a house …
50 Cent: Oh, you know I ain’t got any money. [Laughs.]
L.R.: When we photographed you in 2005 for Vanity Fair’s Hip-Hop Portfolio, you had a lot of friends living in the Connecticut house previously owned by Mike Tyson. When you became successful, did you give jobs to your old friends?
50 Cent: I went from a basement apartment in Queens to a 50,000-square-foot house, and when you’re successful, it’s valuable to have people around who represent what was there before all the confusion started. But you know what happens? If you don’t take people with you, they say you left everyone behind. And if you get them involved in your businesses and provide an opportunity for them to better their life, they become someone who works for you. Then that taints the relationship.
L.R.: You portrayed a sleazy boxing promoter in Southpaw, and you’ve had some public disagreements with Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Are the two of you friends, and do you think he’s ever going to fight again?
50 Cent: Floyd and I are really good friends, but we argue like regular people argue. The difference is when we have disputes, it winds up on CNN or Instagram. I can cuss him out, call him names, say whatever I want to him, but he’s my little brother. Every fighter says he’s going to retire—what’s left when you fight the biggest, most highly anticipated fight? But I do think he’ll fight again.
L.R.: You dated Chelsea Handler, didn’t you?
50 Cent: Yes, for eight months. If you’re around her long enough, to know her is to love her. She has a captivating personality; she’s just totally honest—do you know how difficult that can be?
L.R.: You’ve never been married—do you want to be?
50 Cent: I’m not sure. I do want the friendship that I think can be priceless, and if that’s what comes along with it, I’ll take that.
L.R.: Because Power and Empire are both successful TV shows with strong black characters, they got lumped together—with Power being considered darker, more dangerous.
50 Cent: The comparisons between those shows are really small. I don’t even like being classified as a black show. The movie American Gangster had Denzel Washington in it, Russell Crowe as the cop, and the poster had both of them on it. [Eminem’s] 8 Mile was a movie about the hip-hop world and it opened in about 3,000 theaters. But Get Rich or Die Tryin’ [the semi-autobiographical film that marked 50 Cent’s acting debut] cost $36 million; they gave me [director] Jim Sheridan, Quincy Jones did the score, and that movie was classified as a black movie—and it opened in 1,700 theaters. I guess all we needed was a white police officer. With Power, I wanted the poster to feature Joe Sikora—Tommy [the white character]—because this show is as diverse as New York City. When we said that New York was a character, it is literally that. My goal is to make the show bigger and bigger and have everybody watch it.
L.R.: Your character, Kanan, appeared to have been killed last season. Do you come back?
50 Cent: I come back.