DETAILS: "New Day," the first single from your upcoming album, Street King Immortal, begins with a line of Robert De Niro's from A Bronx Tale: "It don't take much strength to pull a trigger, but try and get up every morning, day after day, and work for a living. . . . Then we'll see who's the real tough guy." Isn't that the complete opposite of everything you've ever rapped about?
50 Cent: It puts you right where I want you to be, as the working-class person, because that's how I want you to identify with this song. In the environment that I grew up in, you have people who are extremely religious and people who are extremely intoxicated and trying to forget the pains. It's about figuring out how it feels under circumstances where you're not a winner. When I see somebody with a sign, I don't give 'em anything. I don't give a fuck. You stand out there waiting for someone to put something in your cup? Shit, I'd be on a chain gang before I'd be standing there like that.
DETAILS: But don't you think some people might feel your success isn't a triumph of blue-collar values?
50 Cent: A shithead could. Can someone misinterpret Batman? Yeah. But they got mental institutions for those people. You're supposed to be a starving artist forever? People try to consistently put artists in a box. Let's say I only wrote what I wrote on Get Rich or Die Tryin', about all the dysfunctional behaviors in my environment, everything I'd seen. When I become the darkest cloud in the sky because all I reflect is the negative, then there's no room for growth. Then people would be pointing to me saying I'm poison, I'm not showing anyone there's a different way.
DETAILS: Now that you're 37 and have sold nearly 30 million albums—not to mention cashing in your stake in Vitaminwater for more than $60 million—is it harder to motivate yourself than it was when you were in the street getting shot?
50 Cent: When you get to a successful space, you're supposed to be over. Our society builds entertainers to destroy entertainers for the sake of entertainment. There's significance in someone who can develop a new approach that allows them to stay successful. If anything, that sense of being able to do what you want becomes stronger when you have that financial freedom. I'm going to New York tonight. If the commercial planes stop flying, I'm getting on a private jet. But I'll be in New York tonight. That speaks to you doing whatever the fuck you want to do.
DETAILS: You once said you'd be devastated if one of your albums sold only a million copies. Are you now resigned to the fact that no record is going to do the numbers that Get Rich or Die Tryin' did?
50 Cent: It's all about the level of interest you generate. The music is still striking a chord in people. The general public, we're not filled with a billion leaders—people follow other people. You can see the difference between what's hot or not. But if you take the record sales away completely, then there's no real gauge. You're watching the blind lead the blind.
DETAILS: What's the biggest difference that artists coming up now face, as opposed to a decade ago when you were starting?
50 Cent: Technology. Technology allows you the ability to meet the audience before you meet the record company. You can go make good music and record yourself on your laptop and use your telephone and film a video.
DETAILS: Are there any particular new rappers you're interested in?
50 Cent: [Long pause] I don't know . . . Unfortunately, we don't have people who are coming into the culture who have those colorful lives and stories. But we do have a new wave of creativity, new energy. You don't have to come from the situation that I came from to get that excitement. Kanye had a hit record saying, "Wait till I get my money right," and I had a hit record saying, "I get money." So while he's saying wait till I get there, I'm saying I've already got there. And they're both hit records.