After I read the book The 50th Law (co-written by 50 cent and the brilliant somewhat controversial Robert Greene), there were some who suggested that I take a look at a few interviews he's done recently, most notably with that Tavis Smiley (who couldn't ever hope to hold a candle to the interviewing skills of Bryant Gumbel).
After viewing this and other interviews, my initial assessment stands.
Hip-hop/rap artists cultivate menacing dangerous thug images to grow and validate their brand. (Don't believe me? Just ask Tupac.) Whether that's who they really are is irrelevant. What matters is that everyone believes that they're a gangster. (Former corrections officer Rick Ross knows all about this. Yeah, he tried to deny it -- but the truth will out, eventually.) If you really sold crack in the ghetto, it authenticates you. (Jay-Z, anyone?) Ultimately, hip-hop/rap has created a climate in our (African) American culture and in the world that has denigrated us and undermined who we are as a people. In the long run, it's done way more harm than good. The world is sure that we are the ghetto dwelling scum of the earth because of this supposed art.
Maybe I'm not the one to talk about this. I'm still sitting around listening to Public Enemy and the Pharcyde. What do I know?
Not surprisingly, most hip-hop/rap artists who are successful don't make the lionshare of their money in music. They are haberdashers -- but more importantly, they are hustlers. They sell cologne, vodka, clothing, movie tickets to whatever film they're starring in. Anything but music. Because music really isn't selling these days.
Think about it: 50 cent made $100 million by selling vitamin water. Vitamin water! Is he some sort of financial genius? He agreed to invest his capital in someone else's idea. I think that those are the kinds of opportunities that come your way when you're rich and famous. All you have to do is say yes and write a check. I don't think that's genius. I don't even think it's particularly smart. It's just common sense.
One thing is for sure. If 50 cent starts making movies, he'll probably do a far cry better than Tyler Perry.
In this video, BBC Radio 4's Today presenter Evan Davis speaks to 50 Cent about how overcoming your fears can help you get ahead in business.
In this video, 50 Cent talks to Tavis Smiley about his dark music resonating with audiences and the reaction to his success. Yes, it's the entire video. Yes, it's a little long. Yes, it's well worth watching.