50 Cent talks about Lloyd Banks situation and more

Complex recently caught up with 50 Cent and DJ Drama to discuss their highly anticipated mixtape The Lost Tapes. During the interview, the Queens rapper discussed his working relationship with G-Unit rapper Lloyd Banks and the struggles of developing an artist.

50 Cent: [Pauses.] You know what’s really interesting? No matter how much you do for an artist, I don’t think you can prevent there from being a point that the artist wants it to be about them, regardless of who it is. I think when you’re not an artist, and you’re an executive, you never have that conflict.

Right, because you want as much success as you can…

50 Cent: Right. And you don’t understand, I want as much success as I can have for artists who I come in contact with. It gives you life, when you don’t have any. Meaning, it gives you the ability to make Watch The Throne. Technically, Kanye’s sales history is bigger than Jay-Z’s on single albums. So if you develop an artist that you can actually bring into the fold and he becomes a legitimate partner, at some point, that’s great.

I’m not running around, jumping through hoops, making it super convenient for [my artists]. I’m going to let them work now. I’ve done enough for all of them.
—50 Cent

I want them to be bigger. You want them to have their own record companies and everything else. But when people lose sight of how people actually get to the point that you’re at, it gets really uncomfortable. The more successful you are, the more important it becomes that you are a good judge of character.

I think people that I’ve invested my time and energy in, I would have done better if I would have taken a page out of maybe the traditional book of the music business and not been so personable with them.

I should have just left them over there and said, “Do what you’ve got to do to win. I’ll even provide what you need to do to win.” When you see them become complacent, or they feel like they don’t have to do it because you’re going to figure it out for them, it becomes interesting.

The question is, have you ever had people who work for you, that you work for? Because it gets interesting when you get to a point where this person’s under you—they work for you—and you’re working for them. They don’t respond to what you’re saying, they just wait around. You’re just sitting there like, “Yo, you’re going to miss the fu-king boat. You’ve got to do this like this, now.”

You’re moving things in place, pretty much making it more convenient for them to execute it, and then they come when they feel like coming. Then you go, “Man, fu-k out of here. If you don’t catch this ferry, you can swim your ass across. I’ll see you when you get there.” But I’m not running around, jumping through hoops, making it super convenient for them. I’m going to let them work now. I’ve done enough for all of them.

You mean G-Unit?

50 Cent: Just artists in general, period. I think when they come, I want to help them in compensation by giving them what I think is the right approach to it. But really, if the artist doesn’t already have it, his management company will be the knowledgeable component that has a little bit more experience than the actual artist themselves. They can help him navigate where to go, with the things that he’s actually doing.

Like, you’ll get a guy that’ll go out and get a new record deal. The record company is going to take nice pictures of you and a nice music video. After they put out the first song and provide a marketing budget for that video, if it doesn’t work, they’re like, “Because we believed in you, we’ll try it one more time.”

If the sh-t flops again it’s like, “OK. That was the ball we threw against the wall. It didn’t stick. fu-k it. Give us another ball to throw.” That’s how the music business works. So if you don’t figure out how to build a consistency or how to develop a core, from the material that you’re creating, chances are, you’re going to be one of those balls that bounce off the wall while they’re looking for the ones that stick.

Is that what happened to Lloyd Banks?

50 Cent: Nah, I think Banks is… All of them. Every single artist that I’ve been around, I’ve overcompensated. They’ve been on records that say, “New 50 Cent!” and then you hear their voice.

Right. I remember on all of the singles for G-Unit solo albums, it was always your voice for the first five seconds. [Laughs.]

50 Cent: You want to offer them the opportunity to take your base and make it theirs, that their attributes will make them shine at different points because everyone is built differently. We’re all made of something different. Even though we all function the same, as humans, we’ve got different qualities and talents.

I’d like for them all to establish themselves in their own right and the way to do it is to give them space. You can sh-t or get off the toilet. As far as I’m concerned, you can figure out how to move or you can sit there until nobody cares you’re there. It’s not going to make me any bigger or less than I am now. And that’s not towards Banks—that’s towards any artist at this point.

I’ll be able to provide, in conversation, things that they could actually go through to execute, that I feel like would be appropriate for marketing purposes, but I’m not going to actually go do it for them. I’ve got other things to do to further my career. If I’m busy telling you what can make you pop and that was a new version of the old marketing campaign, I’m not figuring out what the new steps are to move forward.

If artists have a long enough career, they have peaks and valleys in it. It’s never a one-way street. Michael Jackson had moments when he didn’t feel like he was as hot as he was during Thriller, where every song is a number one record…….

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