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50 Cent Refuses to Talk About French Montana

Last week, 50 Cent dropped his latest single, “My Life,” featuring Eminem and Adam Levine. The record quickly shot to the top of the iTunes charts and is positioning the Queens rapper to finally drop his Street King Immortal album on February 26, 2013, after multiple delays. He’s been on a promotional media blitz of late, during which his issues with Floyd Mayweather, Game, Young Buck and French Montana have been spotlighted. Though Fif has also fired a number of tweets in French’s direction of late, he decided to excuse himself from this particular conversation with XXL when the Bad Boy signee’s name was brought up. But prior to that, he dished on the single, his beefs with Game and Young Buck and why he’s “confused.” —Adam Fleischer

XXL: You just dropped “My Life,” and it’s going crazy on iTunes. How do you feel like the reception has been?
50 Cent:
I don’t think you can ask for more than your record being No. 1 on iTunes 12 hours after you release it. A lot of times when you see artists have No. 1 records on iTunes, their record is played for three weeks at radio, and then they decide to finally make it available for people to buy it. So to have it be No. 1 on iTunes in 12 hours would be a good indication to radio programmers that the general public wants that actual record.

It looks like it’s on pace to be your biggest hit in a while—since “Ayo Technology” or “I Get Money.” Did you anticipate that going in?
I did. That song, I actually recorded it almost two years ago. It was intended to be the first single off Street King Immortal. The content would even suggest that I would have released it first, it’s just [that] the “New Day” song, which was the first song off of the actual album, was released by Alicia Keys. Dre actually produced the “New Day” track, they had a chorus on it, it was recorded by Ester Dean. Alicia re-recorded it and added strings to the actual track, and Dre sat on the record for so long that Alicia did her own version of it. The version of “New Day” that’s on Alicia’s album is actually produced by Swizz Beatz. It’s the same track, but it’s been completely re-produced.

Ideally, when would you have dropped “My Life”? When did you see that coming out?
It was the first statement that I wanted to make with the actual record. So because ["New Day"] came out first, it reversed when you heard which material I wanted you to hear. “New Day” could have potentially been the second record, but ended up being the first record because it went out first. Immediately, the company runs and they say, “OK, OK, we gotta put this record out. We gotta catch up to the song,” or you lose the Alicia Keys record.

Do you feel like you lost it? Like it didn’t do what it could have done?
No, I feel like it did do well. I haven’t heard anyone say they didn’t like the song. It didn’t do what this record is doing, if that’s what you asking me. It also didn’t have a set up, because it just came out. You catching up to it. There was no performance on The Voice with me and Alicia Keys, or—you know what I’m sayin’?

On your last verse from “My Life” you say, “I haven’t been this fucking confused since I was a kid.” What did you mean by that?
It’s being in the position where you’re the happiest person in the world, because the general public is deciding to support you as an artist, and it’s almost a dream sequence for you as an artist. Everything’s going your way, right? And you’re successful long enough for the artist community to put a shadow of doubt over you. Meaning the guy that wants next, that wants to be the next artist, he wants his turn. So, if you stay in a position where you’re winning, he goes, “Damn, I won’t get a chance to be No. 1 as long as he’s around, because he’s No. 1.” For some reason, they think they gotta get rid of the guy that’s No. 1. It’s like, you reach a certain point in your career—right now, I believe Wayne is at that point. He’s had so many successful records that I hear people go, “Yeah, it’s cool, but it ain’t as good as it was when Tha Carter came out.” And that’s exactly what they did to me with Get Rich or Die Tryin’. So it feels like a cycle of things that artists experience.

So you think that kind of feeling is more a reflection of other people than the music itself, whether it’s you or Wayne or whoever?
Exactly. When you get talent out there and they making good music—I mean, music marks time, so you never really get a second chance. Wayne came in as an artist—when that Carter record worked, he had been working how long before he got to that point? That wasn’t a new artist. He was established, so he was ready for the attention and for the run that he actually got.

“My Life” features the lines “I tried to help n—as get on, they turned around and spit / Right in my face, so Game and Buck, both can suck a dick.” Why did you include that line on your big single?
So you must’ve not heard me when I told you I recorded this record almost two years ago?

Right. But why did you choose to leave it in?
I would have included it if I was writing in the confusion. The confusion of what are you doing when you’re performing on an unknown artist’s song? Like, he hasn’t had a hit. There’s no hits under his actual belt. I don’t give a fuck how cool he is in the streets or in the neighborhood. He don’t have no hits. So if you get on his record, you’re helping him; you’re actually helping him because of the exposure. If you’re someone that has an established sales history, you’re collaborating with a new guy, it gives confirmation that this is cool. So, that was done for both of them [Game and Young Buck] at that point. And it didn’t mean anything for them. That’s like me telling Dr. Dre “kiss my ass” at this point, when I come to him and he gave me the biggest records of my career. Would that be cool to you personally? That’s not cool to me.

Speaking of new guys: French Montana. I don’t know if you saw earlier that…
Hey, can you do me a favor? Listen, do me a favor.

Don’t mention artists that haven’t sold records while I’m talking to you.

I was just gonna say that he asked if you wanted to drop your album on the same day as his. I was curious if you had a response to that.
[50 hangs up phone]

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