Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Is 50 Cent the hardest working man in show business?

The rap star is certainly making his case on the set of "Streets of Blood" (aka "Microwave Park").

I interviewed Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson during the wee hours of a recent late-night shoot at the Louisiana Wave Studio, a wave tank facility in south Shreveport.

I'm telling you, the guy I met totally upended my expectations. (I should know better by now; reputations and celebrity personas rarely stand in for the real deal.)

50 Cent, who goes by Curtis on set, never stops working. He gives an engaging, thoughtful interview. His enthusiasm for his work – be it music or movies – is infectious. According to his producers, he sleeps about three to four hours a night, and I'm inclined to believe them.

I asked the rap star if movie roles offer him a chance to show the public a different side? Is 50 Cent different than Curtis Jackson?

"50 Cent is a small portion of my character," he said. "50 Cent is who I had to be outside. Curtis is who I had to be in my mother's house. I had to be aggressive enough to get by in the environment I grew up in, and then I had to be my momma's baby in the house. A lot of times people misinterpret what the environment was like."

The truth is something he's revisiting and refining all the time in new music.

"You try to capture it perfectly so you continuously go back to certain areas to rewrite it," he said. "Because when it's done perfectly, you don't have to do it anymore."

About midway through the interview, he took me into his mobile recording studio where he's cutting his next album. No kidding, folks. A two-trailer mobile recording studio he brought onto the set of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" is on the set of "Streets of Blood."

He said he has enough time to write and record music while prepping his movie character because making movies is always "hurry up and wait."

Some stars bring workout equipment to bide their time. Others scripts, books, music or DVDs.

"For me, I go cut a record," he said. "I got something to do regardless if there is nothing to do, every moment."

In the studio he played me a track, which offered this self-assessment: "Number one actor, number one dad, number one reason your punk ass mad. I'm sorry if you're angry at me, but I can't be less than I'm destined to be."

By the end of the interview, it was clear to me that Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson continues to be interesting to pop culture because he's totally self-aware of his public image, very open to talking about himself and how he's perceived, and able to communicate his experiences in direct yet mysterious, and provocative yet undeniably catchy ways.

One of the best interviews I've done.

My story on "Streets of Blood" publishes tomorrow.

PHOTO CREDIT: Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson talks about his role as a cop in "Streets of Blood" (aka "Microwave Park"), a New Orleans cop drama filmed in Shreveport and at the Louisiana Wave Studio. (Special to The Times)

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