Playboy: You use the word faggot in your songs, too. Can you refer to gay men as faggots and also say that you're not prejudiced?
50 Cent: It's okay to write that I'm prejudiced. This is as honest as I could possibly be with you. When people become celebrities, they change the way they speak. But my conversation with you is exactly the way I would have a conversation on the street. We refer to gay people as faggots, as homos. It could be disrespectful, but that's the facts.
Playboy: What was the enduring impact of losing your mother so young?
50 Cent: I never knew my father, so I used losing her as an excuse. Every time something was wrong I'd think, If my mother was here, it wouldn't be like that. When I got shot, my son was in the house--so he heard me get shot. I'm sure it altered him. The average kid doesn't go through that.
Playboy: You once said, "Emotionally I'm like 13."
50 Cent: My most comfortable feeling is anger. If my feelings are hurt or if things don't go my way, I get angry. People get killed around us, and instead of crying we get mad. I had four or five friends get killed in 2003, and I didn't cry. If I'd stayed in the hood, I'd have been one of those five.
Playboy: Did you ever meet your dad?
50 Cent: No. I don't even want to meet him. I already missed the part where your father would be helpful. I'm a grown-assed man.
Playboy: What did your mom tell you about him?
50 Cent: She told me I was born through immaculate conception: "You don't have a father. You were born through immaculate conception, like Jesus." It made me feel good not to have a father.
Playboy: Describe the area of Queens where you grew up.
50 Cent: You could be in that neighborhood and not get in trouble, but trouble's there for you to get into. When you put people on top of people, it's that crabs-in-a-barrel theory. Rats in a box. Eventually they starve and start eating each other. Somebody's gonna take what you've got--unless you become the biggest problem. If you're not the biggest problem, you're in danger. When you're the biggest problem, there's nothing to fear, because everybody else is occupied with staying out of that zone. So the object is to be the biggest fucking problem in the neighborhood.
Playboy: When you started dealing, at 12, where did you get the drugs?
50 Cent: I was uncomfortable asking my grandparents for certain things. They raised their kids at a time when Pro-Keds cost $10. When I was a kid the new Jordans were more than $100. The people I met while I was with my mother, they had jewelry and nice cars. They gave me three and a half grams--an eight ball. That's the truth. The same money I would've paid for those Jordans. Sometimes when you ask for fish, people give you a pole.
Playboy: Why would they give cocaine to a 12-year-old?
50 Cent: Because I was Sabrina's little boy. No mother, no father--they didn't see grandparents in my life.
Playboy: Did you sell it? Cut it? Cook it?
50 Cent: I didn't know what to do with it. Kids from my neighborhood helped me the first couple of times. Then I did it myself because I was eager. I could hustle only after school. I told my grandparents I was in an after-school program.
Playboy: And in a way, you were.
50 Cent: I was in a special program. [laughs] Once you get one person comfortable dealing with you, that turns into two, three, four people. As I got into junior high school I started hustling often.
Playboy: Selling what?
50 Cent: Crack. A little heroin. My aunts and uncles would have a party, and like weed today, so many people used cocaine, it wasn't looked at like a drug. They would say, "Go get some cocaine." They didn't know I already had it.
Playboy: You did buy-one-get-one-free promotions.
50 Cent: And I only called it "buy one, get one free" because they were calling it "two for $5" on the next block. I was trying to make it different. I was marketing! Fiends want something free, so use the word free. It's better than "two for $5."
Playboy: Did it work?
50 Cent: Hell yes, it worked. And I made the pieces bigger. Some guys made small pieces and figured they would make a huge profit. But it takes them longer to sell the pieces. I made the pieces huge, and they started coming from down the block. All the pieces would sell the same day, and I'd accumulate more money.
Playboy: You were arrested for bringing drugs to school.
50 Cent: After I got caught I had to tell my grandma. She asked me if the charges were true, and I don't lie to my grandma. As crazy as it sounds, I felt like I got caught because I was hiding it from her. I told her I did it, and I told her I was going to keep doing it. She was upset. She was hurt. She said, "Don't call here when you get in trouble."
Playboy: That seems pretty heavy for a teenager.
50 Cent: Older dudes in our neighborhood were way worse. They were robbing banks; they would kidnap each other. They tried to rob me one night in front of my grandmother's house. I was 19 and had bought a 400 SE Mercedes Benz. I got to the front door, and the sliding door of a cargo van opened. They had a shotgun. I jumped over the porch and ran for a gun in the backyard. Pow! I got away from them, though. There's a strong possibility they would've killed me.
Playboy: Did you ever use the gun you hid in your grandmother's yard?
50 Cent: The first time I ever shot somebody, I was in junior high school. I was coming out of a project building--I ain't gonna tell you where. I was going to see this girl. I had my uncle's jewelry on, and two kids decided to rob me. This kid was like, "Yo, c'mere, let me holler at you." As I turned around they all started pouring out of the lobby. It had to be 15 people stepping to me to rob me. I had a little .380 six-shot pistol, and I didn't even look. I just spun around bangin'. Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop! Shot and just kept runnin'.
Playboy: Did you hit anybody?
50 Cent: Yeah, I hit one of 'em. And that encouraged the next situation. After that, you get comfortable shooting. The first time, you're scared to death, as scared as the guy you're shooting at. Then it grows easier for you. Everybody has a conscience. You say to yourself, Man, he was gonna do something to me. Then it's like, I don't give a fuck, whatever. After a while the idea of shooting someone doesn't bother you.
Playboy: How many other times have you shot someone?
50 Cent: I don't even wanna talk about shooting people. But I'll tell you, there were a couple of other situations where there were exchanges back and forth.
Playboy: Did you get caught?
50 Cent: Ninety percent of the time the police ain't that good. The only way they know is if they catch you on the scene. They've got people who are supposed to understand criminal thinking, but how do you understand a criminal's thinking when the person who did it didn't think?
Playboy: A few years ago, in the song "50 Shot Ya," you hinted that you had killed two people. Have you ever killed anyone?
50 Cent: Nah. No.
Playboy: Are you telling the truth?
50 Cent: Honestly, I wouldn't say if I had. Because the case doesn't go away, no matter what year it was. If they get wind, you're going away forever.
Playboy: You say everybody has a conscience. Does your conscience ever bother you?
50 Cent: Gangsta is something that happened to me. That's not the way my grandmother raised me to be. That's the way the hood made me. You see a kid who isn't doing well in school and you tell him, "Yo, if you do good for eight more years, you could have a car." Then he finds out he can get a car in six months by running in the streets, and it feels like the way to go.
Playboy: Did hustling make you more popular with girls?
50 Cent: Hell yeah. In the hood, your success is on wheels. It's about your appearance. When you first start, everybody is hustling for clothes, a different pair of sneakers every day so you're fresh all the time.
Playboy: How old were you when you lost your virginity?
50 Cent: Like 15. I ain't shy. No means "try again." No, means she's in a relationship right now, but you try again when she's upset with him. A lot of pimps think like that too.
Playboy: You boxed when you were a kid. What did you learn from that?
50 Cent: After you box a little bit, you're conscious of your opponent's actions. And you're less emotional because you fight every day. So the fight doesn't mean as much. You're not fighting angry. You're fighting to win the fight, even in the street. I don't have to seem upset to react. If you say something and I feel like you should be punched in the face for it, my actions might not show you that I'm going to hit you. I'll punch you, and then we'll start fighting.
Playboy: When you were dealing, did you also do drugs?
50 Cent: No. I stayed away. My homeys used to buy weed, bag it up and smoke the profits. These niggas were stupid. They smoked the whole shit.