Interviews

Never Gonna Stop: 50 Cent Is In for the Long Haul

The 40-year-old mogul has a slew of projects and a gym addiction that keeps him in great shape.

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50-Cent-Dumbbell-Bench-Press

Fit for Film

It’s a good thing 50’s working out like a beast in the gym, because he needs the energy it provides for all his projects. First there’s his long-awaited new album, Street King Immortal, which will be released in September and features guest spots by Eminem, 2 Chainz, Jeremih, and T.I. (The first single from the album, “Get Low,” dropped in May.) Then there’s all his acting work. 50 plays himself in the big-budget comedy Spy with Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law. He portrays Jake Gyllenhaal’s manager and friend in Southpaw, a gritty, Rocky-type film from the director of Training Day that used actual HBO boxing cameramen to shoot the in-ring fight scenes. And he’s back as bad-guy Kanan on the second season of the Starz show Power, a crime drama that centers on a nightclub owner/drug kingpin. 50 also provides original music for the show and serves as its executive producer—and don’t think for a second he’s a producer in name only. “He’s all over the show,” says Courtney Kemp Agboh, Power’s creator and showrunner. “He and I will get on the phone and we’ll talk for an hour or two hours and we’ll come up with scenes or character moments or good beats. Honestly, he’s got a better grasp on story than some of the TV writers I’ve worked with over the years, because rappers tell complete stories—with beginnings, middles, and ends—in four minutes.” Agboh also notes that the show leans heavily on 50’s athleticism and physical presence as an actor. “He kicks somebody’s ass in the first episode of Season 2, and it’s a brutal fucking fight,” she says. “If you want to see 50 do awful, awful things, please watch Power, Season 2.”

Jake and 50 Cent

Stripping Down

Finally, there’s the underwear line for men. It’s called Frigo, (which comes from the Latin word for roast). Derek Jeter, Carmelo Anthony, and Timbaland are also involved. 50 designed his own line for Frigo called Frigo Crown, and to promote it he will appear on a billboard in Times Square later this summer or early fall in nothing but his skivvies. To prepare for the shoot, 50 worked out twice a day for a month. But just like with Power, he’s not merely a face (or body) for the project. He’s got his fingerprints all over the business. “He probably saved us millions of dollars on stupid decisions we were going to make,” says Mathias Ingvarsson, the founder and CEO of Frigo’s parent company, RevolutionWear. “One thing he said is don’t advertise too much because social media has the most power. Get a couple of big billboards in major markets and some TV ads and you’re all set. Because of him we made a campaign that cost a lot less.” His worldwide reach doesn’t hurt the brand either. “I was after 50 long before I got to the U.S., back when we were testing Frigo in Europe,” says Ingvarsson. “He’s the best promoter I think there is. In Europe everyone knows 50. China knows 50. Everyone loves 50.” Back in the gym, I ask 50 about his workload, if it ever becomes too much. All the projects, all the appearances, all the demands. “It’s nonstop,” he admits. “You keep going. It’s the whistle-while-you-work concept. When you love what you’re doing, it’s not difficult. You know, this is a lifestyle for me.” He says the key to his success—in all of these different areas—is he doesn’t see limitations. “I’ve learned enough about myself to know that I’m always going to be into something new,” he says. “It’s never going to end. I’ve been like this all my life. I always put something in front of me. I come up with something to be excited about and work on. And then I go get it.”

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