50 Cent on Being Sexy and Sweat-Proof Stage Style
With his long-awaited new album Before I Self Destruct released online this week, it was no surprise to find hundreds of fans pouring onto the Macy’s Union Square cosmetics floor yesterday evening for a chance to meet Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, in town for the launch of his new men’s fragrance, Power by fifty cent, sold exclusively through the department store.
We had a chance to sit down before his public appearance and talk scents, among other things, with the surprisingly laid-back hip-hop star, who arrived for the event dressed in a slate blue corduroy blazer by Tom Ford. Read on for 50’s take on the sexiest trait a person can have, the fragrance biz, his work with Ne-Yo and upcoming changes at G Unit Apparel.
Why a fragrance and why right now?
People have a general interest in looking good. You look good, you feel good. You smell good, you feel good. It does something for your confidence to make you more attractive. It allows you to be yourself.
What is it about having confidence that’s so important?
It’s the most sexiest trait you could have.
Where does your sense of confidence come from?
Well, just my scenario, the way I grew up. And at this point, good luck trying to convince me I can’t do something I want to do. I’ve come so far.
You named your fragrance Power. What’s an ongoing source of power for you? Where do you find your inner strength?
I have to run on my own energy. A lot of times, from an artist’s perspective, you have to bear the doubt of the general public, even when you’ve had successful projects. In between projects, they say, do you think you can do it again? And they don’t mean, do you think you can make great material? They mean, do you think you can match what things felt like.
In terms of public response?
How it impacts to each individual. And that’s like saying, do you think he knows magic, you know, to be able to do that. Creatively you just got to go where your heart leads you.
You were closely involved with the process of creating this fragrance. What was the experience like for you?
It was exciting for me. In the traditional fragrance deal with the major companies, kind of like what Sean “Puffy” did with Estee Lauder or…I sat with Cody, and we had conversations about creating a fragrance, and I wasn’t really comfortable with the deal structure that was being presented, so I partnered with Lighthouse to create a company to actually manufacture and distribute the fragrance.
And how does your personality come through in the fragrance?
It’s masculine. It has a sexy smell to it. Just in general, it’s going to help people be able to be themselves. Like I was saying earlier, when you look good, you smell good, you feel good. And you can be yourself.
Is being able to be yourself one of the be-all, end-all things in life?
That’s the sexiest thing about a person. That’s when you can really connect with them. You know like, a lot of times, we meet representations of each other the first time we meet, and, later, when we identify with each other’s defects, we really get a chance to know each other. But the initial contact when you meet a person, that right there, speaks to everything.
In addition to being a music icon, you’re also a style icon. Where does your style inspiration come from?
Prior to me having so many different opportunities to go to engagements that said the suit was appropriate, I didn’t wear them very much. I wore a lot of athletic-inspired clothing. If I was an R&B artist that didn’t have to move much and perform vocals, I’d probably wear suits more often. And my music, the hip-hop music, the energy involved, conveying the lyrics performance-wise, you’ll be sweating, song two. So going with a suit on wouldn’t be a great idea, I wouldn’t think.
Yeah, that could get ugly. Are there people out there who you think are really inspiring style-wise these days?
I think they’re a few people out there. I actually worked with Ne-Yo on the first single, “Baby By Me,” and he’s absolutely growing into a new space. The process of creating the song was interesting. I recorded the entire song, and I sent him the chorus completed, and he sung something different and sent it back. And I was like, okay. He’s such a strong writer that he wants to write everything that he sings, but it’s not mandatory for him, especially from a male R&B soloist perspective. Other great artists, like Usher doesn’t write material, it’s just knowing a hit when he hears one keeps him in a space that is completely relevant. But [Ne-Yo’s version] is still a hit record. It’s just different, so that’s why I kept it.
As a follow-up to Power, you’ve got a women’s fragrance project in the works with Kim Kardashian. Can you tell us about that?
As soon as I completed this project, I knew the first thing they were going to ask me was is it male or female or who’s it for? And I said, this is for men. And I thought do I create a female fragrance?
Cause you gotta do something for the girls….
Yeah. And I didn’t want to be marketing products to a female, being a male, you know. I’d rather have a female representation, and Kim is in a great space to do that.
When can we expect to see it?
Shortly. We’re actually working on it now.
Any sites or places you’re going to see while you’re in San Francisco?
I’ve seen some really great radio stations.
Is that what you’ve been doing? They’re keeping you in interviews?
Yeah, they move me around.
Do you have any favorite spots in San Francisco that you plan to visit while you’re here?
Right now, Macy’s. And I don’t get to go into stores on a regular basis. And the movie theater. I’ve been out to the movies four times this week.
What did you see?
Before I Self Destruct, my new film. It’s being distributed with my new album package. So my album’s available online right now and physically in stores on the 16th.
Tell us what’s happening with your clothing line, G Unit Apparel, a collaboration with Mark Ecko.
My clothing line, I’m getting ready to re-launch. I’m going through a process of changing the head designers and bringing new people in to help me to get it to standards, to what I’m comfortable with, because right now, I’m not. It’s going to move and speak more to where I’m at now than where I was when I initially created it, all, like I said, athletic-inspired. It will be more upscale, but not more expensive. I’m working out my license agreement now so I can change partners.