In college I was a huge fan of 50 Cent. My then homie – the epitome of a suburban white girl with a love for all things “hood” – and I went hard for 50. From the Guess Whose Back mixtape to his first album Get Rich or Die Trying we hung onto his every word.
When we went to see him in concert for the first time we were elated! We even got VIP tickets hoping that we’d get to say hi. And just hi! We were honestly geeked at the possibility of saying hi to him. But seeing him in person was nothing like what we’d imagined it to be. For starters, he was about 3 hours late and when he arrived he refused to take the stage. Given the size of the brawl his tardiness started; I guess I don’t blame him.
What I remember of that day is not his eventual appearance on stage. It is the sense of genuine fear for my life – running away from the scene of a man being beaten repeatedly with chairs (as in more than one), crouching down behind a turned over table, and praying for it all to end.
Needless to say, I haven’t been much of a 50 Cent fan since. I may dance to a song or two in the right setting. I may even be a bit nostalgic when I hear In the Club. But fandom has seized, as evidenced by my lengthy iTunes library in which is music is nowhere to be found. And I can promise you I have made it a point to opt out of any opportunity to be be in the same room as him and/or his fans.
What I realized this morning is that when we fast forward to today, it is not only me who has matured. 50 Cent and I are both pretty different people. Ten years makes a world of difference because being in the club seems to be the last thing on either of our minds.
Lately, 50 has made headlines for stepping away from his rapper image, removing his tattoos, and most recently pledging to feed a billion people. In a recent ABC television interview, he said “I want to be more, not just as an artist as a person -for my legacy, for what’s left behind. I don’t want to be a guy whose just remembered for writing a few cool songs”. (you may view the full segment on Clutch Magazine)
Seems like 50 and I have come full circle. The first time I heard Many Men, it was these bars “sunny days wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for rain/joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain/death gotta be easy cuz life is hard/it’ll leave you physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred” that I couldn’t forget. I said to myself, I said “Self? He REALLY gets it”.
Today when I watched that segment and heard him talk about his new-found passion for philanthropy, I said the same thing. He really gets it.