A mainstay in the entertainment world, the name 50 Cent is now more associated with business ventures than just music. That’s saying something considering he burst into the hip-hop world with the backing of rap juggernauts Eminem and Dr. Dre and their label, Interscope records, headed by music mogul Jimmy Iovine. That’s why it was surprising when 50 left the label in 2014 for what was believed to be creative differences. As it turned out, it was over 50’s foray into the headphone business.
50, now a host of a late night BET variety show called 50 Central, stopped by Ebro’s Hot97 radio show to promote the program and delved deeper into his falling out with Interscope and Iovine.
According to the G-Unit head honcho, after making money selling G-Unit branded sneakers he decided to take inspiration from Dre and Iovine who were at the time breaking into the electronics market with Beats speakers and headphones. To him, there was no harm done as many hip-hop luminaries (such as Jay-Z, Puff Daddy and 50 himself) did something similar when they saw hip-hop executive Russell Simmons (founder of Def Jam) launch his clothing line Phat Farm.
“When Russell does Phat Farm we do G-Unit and [Puff does] Sean John, and [Jay-Z] do Rocawear; a lot of things happen following [Simmons leading] us into that space so I’m like ‘that’s a cool space’ I’ll do SMS following that,” said 50.
The label head didn’t take too kindly to 50’s venture into creating his own line of headphones and it bothered the veteran MC because it made it difficult for him to fulfill his duties as an artist.
“I experienced something that was really interesting during that time span. They treated it like I was a direct competitor,” he said. It’s like how can you do what you need to do for the music when you feel like I’m your competing company?”
This lead to the Jamaica, Queens alumni going back to his roots to defend himself. He made a name for himself by not taking shit from anyone and fighting back whenever need be. He approached this situation in a similar fashion, voicing his concerns with Steve Berman (an Interscope exec known for his appearances on various skits on Eminem albums). This ultimately allowed 50 to get off the label without any major backlash
“I was talking to Steve Berman I told Berman like ‘yo listen, I don’t know how to not respond to someone that I feel like is tryna hurt me so Imma start tryna hurt people around here’ and then they jumped out,” said the New York MC. “I didn’t even deliver my last album to Interscope. They let it go before it got bad.”
And it didn’t get bad. Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s Aftermath/Interscope records is finding a resurgence of sorts with the signing of Kendrick Lamar and continued success of Eminem and his Shady Records imprint (which recently signed the Griselda Records team headed by brothers Conway & Westside Gunn) and 50 Cent himself is seeing major success with his Starz TV series Power and, unlike most artists who lose their bodies of work when they leave a label, 50 says he owns “everything; all my masters everything.” Happy ending for all.
The full interview can be viewed below and throughout, he discusses whether a G-Unit tour is in the works, the respect he has for Cash Money’s Birdman, the infamous shooting incident that occurred outside the Hot97 building that was incorrectly connected to the G-Unit/Game beef, the passing of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and more.