By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
More than in any other genre, rappers rarely seem content just being rappers. Jay-Z is a business mogul, Diddy has a clothing line, Ice-T has played a cop on TV for a decade, and Snoop Dogg makes a lot of money simply by being a lovable goofball.
Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is no different. After breaking out in 2003 with hits like "In Da Club" and "Magic Stick," he's maintained a successful music career — his most recent album, last fall's Before I Self Destruct, has been certified gold — but also dabbled in an astounding number of outside ventures, with the apparent goal of attempting to work in every industry he's ever been remotely interested in pursuing. Admirable, sure, even if the efforts have met mixed results. Let's take a look.
Acting: 50 Cent was discovered by Eminem, so it only makes sense that he'd take some career tips from the guy. Much as Eminem starred in 8 Mile, a quasi-fictional film loosely based on his own life, 50 Cent starred in Get Rich or Die Tryin', a quasi-fictional film loosely based on Fiddy's life. 8 Mile, though, was critically acclaimed, made nearly $250 million in worldwide box office and won an Oscar. Fiddy's movie? Well, it had the guy who played Mr. Eko on Lost in it, so that's pretty cool.
The mediocre performance of Get Rich or Die Tryin' didn't discourage 50 — this is a guy who got shot nine times, y'know — and he went on to star in Home of the Brave and Righteous Kill. His next film is the upcoming Things Fall Apart, where he lost a sickening, Christian Bale-in-The Machinist-esque amount of weight to play a cancer-ridden football player; proving that he's truly on his way toward becoming a Serious Actor.
Video games: Unlike rock music (just look at the rampant success of Guitar Hero and Rock Band) and video games, rap and video games don't have a positive shared history. When the most popular video game rapper of all time is a cartoony Japanese dog named PaRappa, you know there's a long way to go. And 50 Cent hasn't really helped matters. He starred in one truly terrible video game, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, a Grand Theft Auto-esque crime drama. Things got a lot weirder with the sequel, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, in which 50 and the G-Unit team-up in the Middle East to retrieve a diamond-encrusted human skull. That one got pretty good reviews, though; no doubt the appealingly bizarre premise had something to do with it.
Writing: It's not surprising for a famous rapper to release an autobiography, and 50 Cent did, in 2005: the verbosely titled From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens. What's a little more unusual is a rapper co-authoring a novel, as 50 did with The Ski Mask Way. Odder still: collaborating on a sequel to self-help book The 48 Laws of Power with original writer Robert Greene, as 50 Cent did with The 50th Law.
Reality TV: With few lands left to conquer, 50 Cent starred in an Apprentice-like reality show in 2008 called 50 Cent: The Money and the Power, where he challenged aspiring rap moguls to prove their mettle. Perhaps due to some difficulty finding people who identify themselves as "aspiring rap moguls," the show lasted only one season.
Miscellaneous crap: 50 Cent has also done everything else. He developed his own variety of Vitamin Water and ended up with a 10 percent share in the company. He's done G-Unit Clothing with Mark Ecko and released shoes with Reebok. He released a body spray with Right Guard. In his most giggle-inducing diversification, he announced plans for "Magic Stick Condoms," ensuring that fans never have to stop thinking about 50 Cent, even in their most personal moments.