50 Cent lost his mother at 8; never knew his father. By 12, he was dealing drugs
The rapper was shot nine times at point-blank range in 2000
He credits that "life-changing" event with propelling him to focus on his music
50 Cent's new charity feeds a meal to a child in need for every Street King energy drink sold
Watch the full interview with 50 Cent on Monday night. “Piers Morgan Tonight” airs weeknights on CNN at 9 ET.
50 Cent’s 2003 breakout hit is one of Piers Morgan’s gym playlist staples. That’s right: In the health club, CNN’s Morgan listens to “In Da Club.”
“No one is going to believe me when I say this,” said Morgan. “But I work out to that song. Literally, it’s on my iPod. It’s the top of my gym collection. And it never fails to get me going. It’s one of the great workout songs ever.”
Rapper 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, is a guest on Monday’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.”
“The problem with that kind of song, Piers,” he said, “is you’ve got to create something that’s equivalent to it.”
50 Cent, 36, remarked that it’s lucky that the iconic dance hit – which appeared on his debut album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” – contains the lyric “It’s your birthday,” because “every day is someone’s birthday, so it’s relevant all over again.” He also referred to the tune as “the old reliable. If I can’t move the crowd, put it on.”
Morgan asked 50 Cent to take him back to what motivates him as an artist, namely the circumstances surrounding his upbringing in South Jamaica, Queens, in New York. 50 Cent lost his mother at the age of 8, never knew his father, and was raised by his grandmother. By the time he was 12, he was dealing drugs on the street.
“Even when I was standing on the corner, I was standing there with an entrepreneurial spirit. I was just standing there because there were no opportunities or options for me in that early stage,” said 50 Cent.
He admitted that there were a lot of “negative influences” on him during that period.
Back in 2000, before his career skyrocketed, 50 Cent was shot nine times at point-blank range in his hometown. He credited that “life-changing experience” with inspiring him to focus on his music full-time. He said he also wanted to make sure his 6-year-old son, who is now 15, didn’t take the same path.
The shooting left 50 Cent with multiple injuries including a broken leg, cracked hip, and several shattered bones. He still has shrapnel in his tongue.
“I slur a little bit from time to time,” 50 Cent told Morgan. “But this is the new voice, the voice that works.”
He said he actually sings better with the shrapnel, and that his voice prior to being gunned down “was only strong enough to make people aware of me in the 10-block radius that I grew up in musically. And this voice is the one the world has embraced.”
50 Cent said he has since resolved to avoid violent situations, and aims to serve as a positive influence to his peers, fans, and young entrepreneurs. He recently took on the Street King energy project, which provides a meal to a child in need every time a bottle of the energy drink is sold.
The rapper helped put together the project in conjunction with the United Nations and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. 50 Cent explained that the business model is similar to TOMS Shoes, which provides shoes to children in need.
“It’s one for one,” explained 50 Cent. “Every bottle of this energy drink that’s sold, a meal is being provided through the World Food Programme.”