It’s been a while since we’ve heard from 50 Cent. But the brand-building actor slash business magnate is back in the studio, sounding out new beats and mulling the future of music.
Behind the façade of beaches and boutiques, the celebrity hotspots and million-dollar lofts, Santa Monica, California, has a secret history of warfare. During World War II, this city by the Pacific was home to the American aeronautics industry and played an integral role in keeping the US war machine running. Here, engineers and designers drew up the plans for fighter planes, while welders and construction crews made them into reality.
Sixty years later, the airplane hangers and warehouse buildings no longer bustle with the activity of warplane builders. The creative industry has now taken over these expansive complexes, turning them into movie and music studios, perhaps in the hope that they can channel the innovation and work ethic that once teemed under these thick wood rafters and curved roofs.
Somewhere inside a huge warehouse dating back to 1959, the inimitable rapper, actor, and entrepreneur Curtis James Jackson III, aka 50 Cent, is in the studio debuting beats that will be the skeletal structure of his next album.
Two dark black Cadillac Escalades wait like club bouncers outside the door of the Red Bull Recording Studio, and inside, the bass is quaking. Jackson and his team sit in the control room, behind a state-of-the-art mixing desk, compressors, speakers and all manner of cables. A stony-faced man in jeans and suit jacket sits on the couch, while Jackson is pleading the case for his beats.
It has been a year of relative radio silence for Jackson and nearly a year since his much delayed last album, Before I Self Destruct, hit the streets last November. Other than a handful of remixes and cameos, the rapper has largely stayed off the media radar. While other rappers have been dropping pretentious art films (Kanye), scripting prison communiques (Lil’ Wayne), or waxing literary on book tours (Jay-Z), Jackson has been developing his film career and perfecting his sound to come.
50 Cent consigned his 'Black Magic' to "the vault" as he says he only made it "recreationally", and is now working on something brand new.
"I moved 'Black Magic', because it's a total artist's album. It was something that I just wanted to do, so I went in and recreationally made a full-bodied piece of work. I gave myself a new concept, so now it's in the vault." he says.
Some aspects of the album may, however, appear on the 'Baby By Me' hitmaker's next disc, as he added: "But you can build another album out of that material that you put to the side."
50 also said the way he approaches making music has changed dramatically since he first rose to fame in 2002, because he is now aiming for his worldwide audience, rather than his old neighbourhood of Queens in New York.
He added: "It's not a long drawn-out process for me to create it, but it's a long drawn-out process deciding what to offer the world. When I was making music initially, it was just for a 10 block radius, now it's for the world."
For the full story pick up the January Red Bulletin Magazine
Sources: Red Bulletin and Contact Music