Interviews

Hip-Hop Mogul 50 Cent Gets Shredded for Hollywood

Find out how Curtis Jackson turned his success in music into the Starz hit TV show "Power."

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is standing shirtless in a fighting stance, wearing a pair of rare gold boxing gloves signed by the late boxing icon Muhammad Ali. The image does more than demonstrate 50’s love of the sweet science— it symbolizes the fight he put forth to escape poverty and crime to become a power player in both music and media.

50’s against-all-odds success story has inspired countless youths who previously thought of themselves as boxed in by disadvantage to strive for more: Jackson grew up in Queens, NY. His mother was a drug dealer who was murdered when he was 8. In his teens, he began rapping and, like his mom, selling drugs. In 2000 Jackson was shot nine times—in the face, chest, hand, arm, hip, and both legs. Investigators believe a New York drug lord orchestrated the attack after taking offense to lyrics in 50’s song “Ghetto Qu’ran.” The physical recovery took months but would give 50 a renewed focus on fitness and health as he continued to create music. In 2003, his first studio album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’—produced by Eminem and Dr. Dre—sold 872,000 copies in the first week.

Now 41, Jackson still raps—he’s also an entrepreneur, investor, and actor and producer in both TV and film. Work on the fourth season of the Starz original series Power, on which 50 has a reoccurring role and is an executive producer, has kept him busy lately, but so have other greenlit projects: a variety show titled 50 Cent Presents and a scripted superhero-themed series, Tomorrow Today.

“My schedule is crazy,” 50 says. “When I film something, I have to sit still. I feel like I’m on vacation when I’m filming.”

While we had 50 sitting still we talked about training, Power’s “invisibility,” and why he turned down a role in The Expendables.

How do your gunshot wounds impede your training?

My right hip is real tight. I had to really focus on stretching it. And doctors had to put a pin in my [right] leg from hip to knee, so my left leg is almost an inch longer than my right leg. When I run on the treadmill, my right leg kind of kicks out because my balance is off. Other than that, I don’t have any restraints.

What’s your training schedule?

Usually [trainer Jay Cardiello and I] train for about an hour and a half, five days a week. I don’t feel good if I don’t train. I think when a guy stops training, things start hurting. When I’m training I don’t feel the tightness or lower-back pain from sitting in a chair or from flying long [distances]. I think those things would show up and be an issue if I didn’t work out as often.

Do you ever skip the gym for other physical activities?

I might go play basketball or run. When you get to the point when [fitness] becomes part of your lifestyle and it’s about your health, you try different platforms. You get comfortable, and then you switch it up. I’ve been to hot-yoga class and I really fell into it. The experience was new, and I was pouring water in there. You’d see [the amount of sweat] and ask, “What the fuck’s going on?”

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