50 CENT with G-UNIT , RIHANNA and KARDINAL OFFISHALL at the Ricoh Coliseum (100 Princes'), Tuesday (December 20). $59.50-$69.50. 416-870-8000.
50 Cent knows some people don't want him coming round these parts. But, he says, the real problem isn't with him or his gangsta gospel. No. The kids are the problem. Always were.
"In Canada they love the music, but the news: "How do you feel about controversial rapper 50 Cent entering your town? How do you feel about the kids going out to see him?' They just got some badass kids to begin with," he tells me during our interview in his San Francisco hotel suite.
"I ain't fucking 'em up. I'm just coinciding with what those badass kids was doing anyway," he laughs. Even with a mouthful of fries, that trademark cackle is as distinctive ever.
So there you have it raise the kids right and entertainment won't turn them into killers, he explains glibly.
It's no wonder Curtis Jackson doesn't seem too upset about the push to keep him away. He knows all the controversy just further publicizes his street cred, which only serves to enhance the menacing power of his burgeoning G-Unit label, which now includes M.O.P., MA$E and Mobb Deep in addition to Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and his R&B protege Olivia, who's learning about the publicity process from across the room.
At this point in the GQ Man of the Year's over-documented career, discussing his controversy, his beefs (Ja Rule, Fat Joe, Nas, Jadakiss, Cassidy, The Game) and his continued mass-market dominance (the Reebok G-Unit sneaker licensing deal, the movie see the sidebar on his latest book) reveals little about the affable rapper that we didn't already know. Yes, he's out for world domination. No, he's not concerned about oversaturation. And no, he'd never acted for a minute before Get Rich Or Die Tryin'.
But when you subtract all these aspects of 50 Cent from the equation, only one question really remains: how'd he get so pumped?
After, famously, getting shot nine times, his weight plummeted from 230 pounds to 157. Two years later, he's LL Cool J. Scratch that he's way stronger, a fact that'd come out if the two were ever to fight, a prospect that excites 50 Cent.
"I'll beat the shit out of LL. Are you kidding me? He can't beat me. Tell him I said that shit, too."
It took lots of treadmill exercise, protein shakes and push-ups on tour to get him back to his current state. But 50 understands the value of his physical image, so he continues determinedly to work out, sometimes to his detriment as seen on the cover of his second album, The Massacre.
"I got bad workout habits. I focus on my chest and biceps a lot. I don't have a problem with motivation I just get more comfortable doing certain exercises, and I do them a lot, as opposed to switching it up."
But that doesn't mean he can't offer some sound advice on keeping healthy. For those who resolve to keep the pounds down in 2006, be sure to "build the right eating habits before you start the actual training process it's difficult.
"It's like, me, right now, I'm overweight. But I'm here eating french fries," he admits, sending Olivia into shrieks of laughter.
Like his cackle, 50's fitness vigour has been infectious in the Aftermath camp. Apparently, there are now worse consequences for dissing Marshall Mathers than having your name dropped in one of his songs.
"Em be boxing a little bit."
"Hell, yeah people'll fuck around and he'll punch somebody right in the face!"