Playboy: One final detail. Murder Inc. says an order of protection was filed against them on your behalf. True?
50 Cent: To my knowledge it's not true. They could've done that shit, to make themselves look hard. Me? I ain't going to a fucking police precinct to file an order of protection on these niggas. Look at this guy--he's a fucking idiot. Names himself Gotti. You know where the name Murder Inc. originates? This guy watches too many movies. When you write this, I hope you'll minimize the portion that has anything to do with these guys.
Playboy: Do you think Murder Inc. is on its way out?
50 Cent: They're hurting Ashanti by sticking their heads into her video. She's got to be fucking Irv Gotti. You can write that! Her music is not the hottest shit in the world. She says "baby" on four different records. First it was "Baby, baby, baby, baby." Then it was "Ooh, baby."
Playboy: This feud's been great for business, hasn't it? It's helped you sell records.
50 Cent: Yes, it's effective. When I do radio, I'm doing radio. When they do radio, I'm doing radio. All they do is talk about me, and all I do is talk about me.
Playboy: Do you know who shot you in May 2000?
50 Cent: Yeah. I didn't know him when he shot me, but I found out who he was on the street.
Playboy: What was his name?
50 Cent: His street name was Hommo-- that's short for "homicide." I don't know his real name.
Playboy: Do you know why he came after you?
50 Cent: It could've been a favor, or he could've been paid. The kid who shot me was a rider--he came to kill me. You understand? He wasn't bullshitting. It just wasn't my time to go.
Playboy: Do you believe that death is predestined?
50 Cent: I accept that death is going to come. So I don't fear none of these niggas. Death is a part of the largest form of entertainment. Action films are all based on scenarios that, if we were doing them, we could possibly die. It's hard to wake up ambitious tomorrow if you spend today thinking about dying.
Playboy: In the song "Fuck You," you refer to the shooting and say that people on the street ask you if McGriff was behind it. Do you think he sent someone to kill you that day?
50 Cent: I don't believe it. I don't know for sure. But I hate to talk about this nigga now. If people ask me those questions, the police are going to feel, Well, we should bring him in and ask him some questions. And I don't have anything to say to the police. For me, when the cops come, it's to take me away. So what does that do to me? That puts me in contempt of court, and they got me in jail. McGriff is a fucking loser. He had a strong fucking crew that would do anything, kill anything. But everybody affiliated with him is in the penitentiary or dead. That's the kind of leader he is.
Playboy: The police believe there's still a contract out on your life.
50 Cent: See, what trips me up is that when the police come and say, "We know for a fact, from reliable sources, there's a hit on your life," the next thing is supposed to be, "We're looking for the guy." Unfortunately that is never what they say. They want me to tell them something.
Playboy: They want you to snitch.
50 Cent: But I've always had people who wanted to kill me, whether it's because I was doing better than them in the hood or because we didn't get along.
Playboy: Was the guy who shot you a professional killer?
50 Cent: Anyone you call professional would've gotten the job done.
Playboy: What happened to him?
50 Cent: He got killed two weeks later. I'm uncomfortable answering these questions because people will think I might've done it. That's the kind of shit that could fuck me up. Everything is going so good for me right now. I just want to move forward.
Playboy: Do you feel as if you're trying to change, to go straight, and people keep trying to pull you back into the hood?
50 Cent: People I grew up with, it bothers them to see me do this well. People say things openly now that they wouldn't have dared to say about me, because they figure, "He's doing too well to come down here and shoot me for saying this."
Playboy: Let me ask this plainly: Did you have anything to do with the death of the guy who tried to kill you?
50 Cent: Nah. Not a thing.
Playboy: Is it possible that someone did it as a favor to you?
50 Cent: It's not. It's the karma--that's what I believe. The shit you do comes right back to you. It may not be right away or two weeks later. You don't know who else he did something to.
Playboy: Last year you bought a Lamborghini, an H2, a Mercedes SL500 and a BMW 745I.
50 Cent: I also got a Suburban. Bulletproof and bombproof. You could throw a stick of dynamite at that truck and it'd probably be all right.
Playboy: Did women throw themselves at you this year?
50 Cent: Absolutely. Groupie love. When we're traveling, the young ladies come and you indulge. Everybody will in the beginning. If this shit had happened a few years ago, I'd be nuts right now. You start to feel like fucking everybody is an option. But I don't anymore. I'll go in a room and lock the door, because it'll turn into Vanessa writing a book about it, you know what I'm saying? For them to be there, doing what they're doing, says they're sexually delinquent. I'm going to find somebody special.
Playboy: You dated the actress Vivica A. Fox. Was she special?
50 Cent: I still think Vivica is a special person. We did too much too fast.
Playboy: That sounds like PR talk. What do you mean?
50 Cent: If you meet somebody and are interested in her, you go out with her. That's what I thought I was doing. The next day, as far as the general public felt, I was married to Vivica. No, we just went out on a date.
Playboy: But it's not the general public who broke up with her by telling Howard Stern the relationship was over. So why'd you dump her?
50 Cent: I took photographs with her for King interviews, and some other photos from the same shoot ended up on the cover of Black Woman interviews, which I didn't agree to. I guess her management and publicists were looking to use it for publicity for Vivica, even if it was at my expense. There were times when I wanted to go places and just hang out, and it would turn into a publicity event.
Playboy: Like when you won five trophies at the World Music Awards in Monaco last October?
50 Cent: Yeah. I said, "Come hang out" to her, and then her people made a call and it turned into a job for her as a host. That shit happened at the same time as the interviews covers. I said, "That's it." Her management and publicists were doing what was in their best interest.
Playboy: Vivica described you as sweet. That might surprise some people.
50 Cent: To a woman, that's what you should be. I adjust to the situation. I had to be someone else when I was with my grandparents--I couldn't be who I was in the street when I went indoors, because I didn't want to disappoint them. I wouldn't curse in front of them. That's not acceptable. Even now that I'm grown I don't cuss in front of my grandma.
Playboy: Do you think Vivica might be mad at you for not calling and breaking up with her?
50 Cent: Sometimes calling causes more confusion. So she can't be upset.
Playboy: Do you listen only to hip-hop?
50 Cent: I listen to music people probably don't believe I listen to. Nirvana's "Teen Spirit"--I love that record. The melodies are ridiculous. I like Maroon5's "Harder to Breathe." That's dope. I like the White Stripes' single. [sings the opening riff to "Seven Nation Army"] There could be a hip-hop version of that. But the album is too rock for me.
Playboy: Are you religious?
50 Cent: I don't go to church every Sunday, but I believe in God, and I pray. When I catch myself thinking negative things for no reason, I say a prayer so I'm forgiven for it.
Playboy: You don't fear men, but do you fear God?
50 Cent: Absolutely. I fear that some of my actions won't be understood.
Playboy: On Get Rich or Die Tryin' you say, "I got to make it to heaven for going through hell." If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?
50 Cent: Yeah. When I was doing wrong, I was in a different mind frame. I didn't understand better. I believe I'll be forgiven for those things.
Playboy: You sold drugs. You shot people. And you're going to heaven?
50 Cent: Don't expect me to evolve into a new person in eight months. People shot me. Where I grew up, you were selling drugs or you were starving. Even the people who had jobs came home and sold drugs. My goals are to become something good. It's something positive that I'm supposed to do. I want to move into that space without losing the interest of the people who identify with me. The negative things I say about what I went through, people love that music because it's the theme song to their lives right now. You don't want to lose them. But when I die I want to be remembered as a good person.
Playboy: Do you think you'll live to 40?
50 Cent: I ain't going anywhere. I feel like I have the same chance of living to 40 as anybody else in New York City.
Playboy: You have a song that says, "Many men wish death upon me." That might make it difficult to live to 40.
50 Cent: Like I said, they wish.
Playboy: So you sleep well at night?
50 Cent: Like a baby.
Playboy: Does it hurt to get shot?
50 Cent: It hurts. But it hurts more after the doc says you're going to be okay and the medications wear off. The healing process hurts more than the actual shooting. I got shot in the right hand, too. The knuckle on my pinkie is gone.
Playboy: Even people who don't know anything about rap know you're the guy who got shot nine times, because it's been written about so often.
50 Cent: Every time they wrote about me, they made me more exciting. They call me "the hunted man"--that's an action film.
Playboy: So you're like the bad guy in an action film.
50 Cent: Well, they got me down as the bad guy. I'll accept that right now. When I watch movies, I root for the bad guys. I just turn the film off before the end, because they always die.