Exclusive: What Motivates 50 Cent to Get Rich or Die Tryin’?

And why he refuses to accept any excuses from YOU

For our January 2011 issue, rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson provides BLACK ENTERPRISE an all-access look at how he’s evolved into an entrepreneur extraordinaire. In a revealing interview, the 35-year-old speaks candidly about recent deals, notable milestones and future plans that make up his burgeoning business empire. But just what goes into being Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson? You’ll have to pick up the January issue when it hits newsstands on December 28 to get the full story, but in the meantime BLACKENTERPRISE.com will whet your appetite with a series of Web exclusive content that further unmasks the controversial businessman…

Jackson sheds light on his business acumen

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s upbringing in the streets of Southside Queens, NY, wasn’t easy. But it’s actually where he first picked up his keen business sense. In this exclusive online story, Jackson, one of our 40 Next, shares what (or better yet, who) motives him to succeed.

The rapper-turned-entrepreneur attributes his business acumen to his late mother, Sabrina Jackson, who hustled selling drugs to support him before she was killed.

“My initial business model [comes from] the streets, and even though the influence wasn’t positive, I understand what [my mother’s] motivation was [in] doing the hustle,” says Jackson. “A mom pregnant at 15; the option was to go on welfare or to hustle.”

After his mother’s death, an adolescent Jackson went to live with his grandparents. And although they provided a stable and legitimate household for him, he inevitably went astray (as his music catalog would later document).

“The only people I [saw] that had money to spare were people from my mom’s [street] life that had [her] same lifestyle,” he admits. “When you allow a kid to make an adult decision, nine times out of 10, they’re going to make the wrong decision.”

But eventually, Jackson would take those same hard-knock life lessons and moneymaking moves he learned from his mother, and decide to reinvent them rather than emulate them. It was for good reason.

“My son was the motivation,” says Jackson about his now 14-year-old son, Marquise. He also finds the parental parallel ironic, adding, “I motivated my mother to go in the wrong direction, and then my son motivated me to go in the right direction.”

Jackson makes his own laws of business success

Bestselling author Robert Greene co-wrote the book The 50th Law (Harper; $20) with Jackson and believes the hip-hop figure is both a product, as well as an anomaly, of his environment.

“A lot of hustlers who were on the streets as early as [Jackson] was never leave it because they’re afraid,” explains Greene, who also authored The 48 Laws of Power (Penguin; $20) and The Art of Seduction (Penguin; $20). “They look strong and tough and you wouldn’t want to mess with them; but deep down inside they’re afraid of going out of their comfort zone, trying something different, or leaving a world that actually doesn’t go anywhere—and [Jackson] left it. He [was and] is not afraid.”

Today, Jackson’s childhood and where he grew up provides him with a sense of distance—an advantage of sorts, adds Greene. “It allows him to make all kinds of really keen business decisions.” It also gives Jackson the momentum to push others.

“I’m from the bottom, so you got to find another excuse,” asserts Jackson, referring to those who may want to quit or views their situation as a dead end. “And any excuse you can come up with is not a good enough, when you compare it to what my life experience has been, to why they can’t be successful—the right way.”

For more on Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, read “The Many Faces of 50” in the January 2011 issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE, which hits national newsstands on December 28.

Tell us what you think: Is it easy or difficult for someone to become a product of their environment? Got a similar story like Jackson’s where you defied the odds to succeed?  

Read more of our Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Web Exclusives…

ACROSS THE WEB
  • http://SLUMBERPARTIESBYLINDAV.COM LINDA

    GREAT ARTICLE !!! INVESTED MY LAST CASH FOR A CHANGE IN MY BUSINESS!! READ THIS ARTICLE AND NOW I FEEL BETTER!!

    • Tennille M. Robinson

      Thanks so much Linda! I Jackson is making a lot of solid, lucrative and positive moves in business. And one of the key reasons many attribute his success to is his fearlessness. You seem to be taking a similar leap too! Good luck to you as you and your business.

  • bob

    50 cents cannot use his personal case to generalize to everybody else. 

    • Tennille M. Robinson

      Hey Bob, thanks for your comment. I don’t believe that was his intention with the comments he made. Jackson stressing if he can make it, anyone can is just him acknowledging how difficult his upbringing was. In interviewing him, I got the impression how almost surreal it feels for him to have gotten to this point in his life. I mean, he always had aspirations and ambition but for it to now be his reality is why he feels that others can also overcome their circumstances. Look at his story as a form of inspiration, not the actual road map to success. Because you’re right, his personal story is just that–his own.

  • Pierre Jones

    Although I am not the biggest 50 cent music fan, I do repect his ambition, his motivational story about his early life, and his business sense. I hope he has continued success, and hopefully in the future he will become more respected in all of his endeavors.

    • Tennille M. Robinson

      Thanks so much for giving us your thoughts. And you’re right, I think no matter if you’re a fan of 50 Cent or not, you have to respect his ability to be able to take his celebrity, brand, and street smarts to the next level. He has really made a impact in the way hip-hop does business. And when you read the January story, you’ll see he addresses the way some people view him and his hardcore persona. And I think we all have been in situations where we’ve been underestimated; however so long as you have confidence and believe in yourself, no one can tell you otherwise. Thanks again!

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  • Bucky Jones

    Its amazing what a kid can do to a man!  It ignites  the  the natural instincts  men are born with which is provide for their families.  Motivation is a fuel that can one to do things beyond their wildest dreams  hints to 50. I pray nobody thinks that having a kid is the key to become wealthy. The kid was just a circumstance that occurred in 50′s life. He play the hand he was dealt pretty well. Hat s off to 50 and the writer of this story! 

    • Tennille M. Robinson

      I appreciate your feedback! I enjoyed working on story and 50 was a great interviewee. I don’t think anyone would infer that having a kid will make you wealthy. And as you see, that’s not what he meant. Hopefully, those who read it will note that emphasis is on 50 Cent realizing what or shall I say who the priority was. It was no longer about him. It was now about his son and realizing that he needed to be there for him. And in order to be there for him financially and physically, he could no longer hustle in the streets. It’s all about realizing what’s most important. Thanks again for reading the story. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of the January issue.

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  • Krankin

    This is interesting. My hubby is a huge fan, but I can’t say I know a lot about 50′s background. I’m always fascinated to see correlations between where folks come from and where they propel themselves. It’s so easy to go left instead of right, and I can’t wait to read the magazine article to find out more about what he’s doing to help others go right.

  • http://www.darrinhenson.com darrin dewitt henson

    I AM IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT WITH CURTIS . THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO FAIL.
    IF PEOPLE NEW MY REAL STORY THERE MOUTHS WOULD DROP. COMING FROM THE BRONX NO MONEY PACKING BAGS IN PATHMARK FOR QUARTERS ,WONDERING SHOU;D I SELL DRUGS OR NOT  HAVING TO MUCH PRIDE TO DANCE FOR CHANGE ON THE STREETS , MOTHER NEVER HOME FATHER NOT IN MY LIFE..HANGING WITH PICK POCKETS.
    YOU HAVE NO IDEA. I DECIDED TO ASK MORE OF MYSELF THEN ANYONE ELSE COULD ASK OF ME AND  WORKED ON MYSELF EVERYDAY.. I HAD TO GET OUT! AND MAKE IT!
    TRUST ME YOU THINK YOU KNOW YOU HAVE NO IDEA..
    BEST
    DARRIN

  • http://aol bmarie

    This was a good article. just wish it had put as much emphasis on his giving as opposed to his gain only. Curtis indeed appears to be business savey and wise. However sometimes when people are already looking to hate on your accomplishments, give them less to comment about. Keep them guessing. Just a thought.