Nineteen years ago, 50 Cent joined Eminem as a top artist who made high-profile contributions to the soundtrack belonging to Tupac: Resurrection. The companion to Lauren Lazin’s documentary presented Em and 50, two artists who found mainstream success after Tupac Shakur’s 1996 death, spiritually aligning with an artist both admired. It arrived through the Shakur family’s Amaru Entertainment.
While speaking recently for more than an hour Brian J. Roberts’ podcast, 50 Cent took a moment to illustrate a difference between Eminem and Tupac, and suggest that contrast speaks to their differing perspectives surrounding race. “I’ll pick two Hip-Hop artists that have been profound and have been really prolific artists within our culture that were very similar but tapped into different responses,” 50 Cent said around the 57:00 mark of the video interview. “So Eminem’s mom, the drug usage was part of it and he would do: ‘Sorry, mama / I never meant to hurt you / I never meant to make you cry / But tonight, I’m cleaning out my closet.‘”After referencing the potently personal “Cleaning Out My Closet” single from 2002’s The Eminem Show, 50 continued, “And then Tupac’s mom also has some drug usage involved in her experience, and he said: ‘Even though you was a crack fiend, mama / You always was a Black Queen, mama.’” That lyric is from 1995’s Me Against The World single “Dear Mama.”
50 then expounded on these two lyric illustrations: “I think the tones of anger, and the difference in the two of them—the artists—are that Em’s anger is coming from things were supposed to be right, and Tupac’s statement is almost like terms of endearment in there because he’s like, ‘Well, we still all had.’” He adds, “The expectations of things going right from a white American perspective versus accepting the idea of things not going right from an African-American perspective are what make the difference in the tones of those records. [They are] both the same scenario, but different ways of expressing the experience because of the different in the two artists.”
Fif continued, “I love Em and I don’t think people [properly] credit him for everything. The growth of our culture should be also a trophy for Eminem. When people don’t see where they fit into it, they don’t indulge in it. They don’t invest themselves in it, and they damn sure don’t spend their money,” he explained, distancing Eminem from Vanilla Ice and other artists. “When you see a guy who comes along whose experience is authentic, it gives everybody a way in. Me, personally, my career is a reflection of my association to Em. Prior to my [Get Rich Or Die Tryin’] record coming out, the most I’ve seen a Black male solo Hip-Hop artist sell was five million copies on Tupac’s All Eyez On Me. It was a double CD—it was the first time I seen something go diamond. And to have my first album sell 13 million records, if you discredit or disassociate that fact that I’m in association to Eminem who’s selling 23 million records on The Marshall Mathers LP, you [would be] just a f*cking idiot tp think that.” 50 Cent highlights his Eminem association while at Shady Records. “I don’t think that they actually credit more people being involved in the culture and willing to consume it and make purchases [because of Eminem].”
No longer releasing music on Shady Records, 50 Cent underpinned his appreciation and fondness for Marshall Mathers. “I love him to death … He’s in a tight second spot in my life for people who’ve done things for me that they didn’t have to behind my grandmother taking care of me and looking out for me.”
Elsewhere in the interview, 50 Cent spoke about spending more than $20 million on legal fees, touring, and his recent relocation to living in Texas. Earlier this year, he self-released “Power, Powder, Respect,” featuring Lil Durk and Jeremih.
BonusBeat: A 2021 episode of Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast that interviews T. Eric Monroe about photographing Shakur and others: