One of the many hats Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson wears these days is owner and CEO of SMS Audio, makers of lifestyle headphones. Jackson made nerds happy last year by introducing a line of four Star Wars headphones licensed by Lucasfilm, each of which takes their design cues from the Galactic Empire, the Rebel Alliance, Boba Fett and a Stormtrooper. (A second edition line of four new headphones — Chewbacca, R2-D2, Darth Vader and TIE Fighter — launches May 4, 2015).
This year, SMS Audio revealed a new line of BioSports earbuds that utilize new Intel technology to monitor your body (taking home a pair of CES Innovations Awards earlier this month) and has added New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as a brand ambassador, joining New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
Jackson talks about his love of technology and dives into Playboy’s Lucky 7 questions in this exclusive interview from the floor of the world’s largest electronics trade show.
As someone who goes to CES every year, what excites you about where technology is heading?
With televisions there was excitement because they were flat in the front and then they got smaller and smaller and thinner until it was flat against the wall. Now they’re curving off of the wall. It’s always something new. I don’t understand why people don’t really come to CES just to walk through. Most people that come through here have some sort business interest, I don’t see as many people that are just the general public who wants to see what’s next. CES definitely changes what I’ll buy next. I know what I want now because I saw it at the show.
What was your first exposure to Playboy?
The first time I saw Playboy magazine was in my grandmother’s house. It was under her bed. It was my uncle’s, but it didn’t have the cover on it so you had to flip three or four pages in before you could tell it was Playboy. I knew exactly what it was. That’s the first time I saw it.
What movie scared you the most as a kid?
Candy Man. It’s crazy. Every time I looked in the mirror in the bathroom after I watched it, I’d hurry up and get out of that bathroom and go back in the room where everybody else was at. It was late when I watched it, and you shouldn’t really watch scary movies late when you’re a kid. Actually, growing up, the bathroom was the one place where you’d be by yourself because there were nine kids in my grandmother’s house.
Heaven forbid you end up on death row, what would your last meal be?
What was your first car?
My first car was a Toyota Land Cruiser. I got it when I was 18. I thought I was a different person in that car. There’s something about a vehicle for men. The role that they expect us to play as traditional males would be the financial supporter or protector of your family, so when you get that car your confidence level will shoot through the roof. It’s not necessarily that the car gets you better or more attractive women, but the confidence connected to you having it allows you to meet much better women. They put the attractive woman in front of the actual cars on the newsstand and you walk past and you see her in a bikini — because immediately our eyes go to the attractive woman — and then the car part kicks in.
What’s the first song you knew the words to?
“ABC.” It’s easy as 123.
What was your favorite mistake?
My favorite mistake was my first sexual experience. It happened way too early. I didn’t think about the shit. I told [my grandmother] what happened and she was like, “What!” because the girl was older. And I was like, “No, she was drinking.” And my grandmother said that girl should be in trouble. I said, “No, I wanted her to do it.” The only problem was it didn’t happen again after for awhile, so I was stuck with Playboy.
What’s your pop culture blind spot?
Pop culture blind spot? Well, I think everyone has one. Like whatever appeals to you, there’s an audience that isn’t into that. Whether you choose hip-hop as a genre of music for your personal pleasure or not, you’ve seen it, it’s been there. I’ve been consistent on a lot of platforms and you would call a person like that A-list. The blind spot may be in the condition of the music. When I fell in love with hip-hop it was important that your music was original, that you had your own style. That’s how I had my moment and why it was impressionable enough for it to sell 10 million records, the largest debut hip-hop album. Now music kind of follows a trend. So if you’re not in the trend, you miss some of them. If a hip-hop artist has been rapping to the same beat for the last two years — it’s the same fucking song. I can hear that it’s the same actual cadence. Every now and then they switch one or two things in it, but that is because the youth in some ways want you to actually be doing what you’re saying. But you don’t know a person if they’re brand new, so you accept them as the song. He is what he said to you, but later you find out who he is and that he was only being creative. You get a song like “Jackpot” from an artist like Lloyd Banks and he writes all kinds of crazy lines and stuff. Bobby Shmurda makes a song to the same track. It’s the harder part of what’s going on in Brooklyn. He writes the experience. For him it’s a true experience. At that point, no one knows whether it’s true or false. As the music comes out, you hear it and you see this guy that looks rough around the edges because he’s in the neighborhood and there is no makeup trailer, there is no stylist, it’s just the way he just rolled out the bed, and it feels like it’s authentic. And people embrace it because they look at it and say he probably did [that stuff]. And later the police come in an undercover sting and find all these guns and drugs. Jesus, you can’t make this shit up. This is real shit. It’s nuts, but it’s true.