Blood Is One co-blogger Keith Ancker recommended this great piece on Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson that I think really reveals the business genius behind the man. 50 is an articulate, smart man and the interview kind of says alot of things people already know. On musicians using "branding" to earn revenue, he said:
50: The finances that the major record companies would make off a new artist have shifted. They can’t put together the same marketing campaigns that they’ve put together in the past because they’re not earning the same amount. So more and more you’re going to see artists open to brand extension opportunities.
What's really incredible and will probably blow the minds of people who never take hip-hop serious is this bit:
Wired: You do something similar with Street King, your energy drink outfit. You call it conscious capitalism.
50: Yeah, conscious capitalism. I’m looking forward to other people in music culture and hip-hop culture being more involved with philanthropy, or making those who are more visible.
Wired: That’s a somewhat radical idea for hip-hop.
50: Probably more radical for hip-hop than any other genre of music because a lot of the talent comes from low-income situations and the messaging, the consistent theme is, ‘If it ain’t about money, it ain’t about shit.’
Wired: There is a rampant materialism.
50: Right. And it comes from not having.
50 actually announced Street King while he was in Melbourne, Australia back in 2011. At the time, I was in Guam, not too far away, in poverty like I didn't know how to deal with at all. 50 is an opportunist and alot of this is keeping his name and brand in the world when hip-hop, and gangsta rap especially, is almost over and done with. Never the less, I can believe that seeing poverty - real poverty, not the funny kind we have in America - may have affected him - it certainly did me - and pushed the Street King project in to existence.