As a rapper, South Jamaica native 50 Cent’s candor about his days hustling was eye-opening for mainstream hip-hop, a crossover genre that in the early millennium often relied on bravado and the illusion of “thug life” for spins. Since then Fifty has turned himself into a serious brand. Simultaneously he transitioned from his hardened image to Curtis Jackson — the actor.
That same swagger and grit exists in 50 Cent’s executive-produced Starz series “Power.” As a cable show, “Power” goes where networks can’t by exploring the biggest internationaldrug trade through the eyes of drug dealer Jamie “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick).
50 Cent plays Ghost’s mentor Kanan, who just got out of prison. Fifty sat down with amNY to discuss the evolution of his life and the driving force behind “Power.”
It must be a hard transition from music to acting because people have their own perceptions of you.
Right. If you have a strong enough personality, it’s hard to break in. When I was on a hiatus from music, people started to see more facets of my personality. I use Mike Tyson as an example, You see Mike and you think, “Black trunks, black shoes, no socks, I’m gonna kill this person in front of me.” But you forget that he has all of the emotions that a human being would have. You can scare people when they meet you and you’re not what your presentation was before. For me it’s like, “Wow, I talked to Fifty and I didn’t get shot.”
So is Kanan a huge departure for you?
It is different. Portions of me transitioning from hustling and street life into making a decision to do something legitimate is part of the transition that Ghost struggles with. The reasoning behind why Ghost decided to marry Tasha, when he was pulled over with the gun in his car, that actually happened to me in my own life. Following being shot in 2000, I was uncomfortable going anywhere without having a pistol. When I was pulled over, my son’s mom said, “Give me the gun.” And I gave it to her. Kanan is more basic.
Do you think people are going to walk away with a different perception about the drug game in terms of it being a business?
You know, this is a level that I hadn’t reached. I don’t think it will change the perception of it. It shows when a person has the ability to do something different. It shows life choices.
On TV: Season 2 of “Power” premieres at 9 p.m. Saturday on Starz.