To paraphrase the immortal words of Jay-Z: 50 Cent is a business, man. The MC-turned-media mogul, celebrating 20 years since his classic debut, has grown his G-Unit empire into a sprawling array of TV and movie productions that, according to Fif’s new Billboard digital cover story written by Carl Lamarre, have made him a serious (and seriously rich) power player in Hollywood.
But even that cash flow can’t compare to the money truck the rapper says he’s backing up for touring these days. The MC — who is working on a new album with longtime friend and producer Dr. Dre while gearing up for his first extensive domestic tour in 13 years — shared how much things have changed since the pre-fame days when fellow rapper Master P was booking him.
“I think he [Master P] gave me like $80,000, and now I’m getting like $900,000, $1 million,” 50 claimed of his current per-show quote. “The coolest thing we create in America is celebrities. If you see LeBron [James’] fan base internationally, you’ll argue, ‘Why is he staying here?’ He’s that big internationally. For the most part, I can’t speak for everybody, but the international side of the game is different.”
And while he has tapped the brakes on new music lately, 50 said he hasn’t missed writing and recording as he’s built up his non-rapping resumé over the past decade. “I get the attention that I want from music when I want it. I just went out and toured 45 countries, and everywhere was sold out,” he said. “That made me want to offer new music that I could integrate into everything now. I’ve done what I wanted to do in the [sales] capacity. I’ve sold over 35 million records. Not singles — albums. With Em, it’s different because he’s never going to stop [recording]. It bugs him out that I can do TV production.”
The interview includes a rundown of the many lucrative business deals 50 has cut over the past two decades, including an investment in vitaminwater that earned him $100 million and his successful foray into TV crime dramas with the Starz Power empire, which earned him and TV writer Courtney Kemp Agbor a $150 million deal with the network for a three-series commitment.
That initial deal has allowed series executive producer 50 to oversee a sprawling Power kingdom that has spawned six seasons of the original, as well as hit spinoffs Power Book II: Ghost, Power Book III: Raising Kanan and Power Book IV: Force, as well as his show BMF, which followed the rise of infamous Detroit drug dealers the Black Mafia Family; the latter is now in its second season on Starz.