Thursday, December 01, 2005

50 Cent: Man of the Year?


I was in the store yesterday when I came across a magazine that startled me. It was "GQ," and on the front cover was rapper 50 Cent. The headline read "Man of the Year." Interesting.

Let me just keep it real and say that I am no fan of 50 Cent. Maybe I am clueless as to why the public is so fascinated with the man. His music does nothing for me. It's the same type of sing-songy stuff that Ja Rule was doing before his career went under. Still, I have a certain level of respect for Curtis Jackson, the man behind the persona. I guess if I sold a story of a violent upbringing and spoke of my immortality by taking nine bullets, I could be successful as well. With his first CD achieving diamond status and his second project pushing in excess of quadruple platinum, a clothing line, a video game, and a movie based on his life, 50 Cent can lay claim to having a successful and fruitful year. "Man of the Year?" I don't think so.

Comedian Paul Mooney once performed a skit called "Ask a Black Dude" on the popular "Chappelle's Show." In it, he mentioned that "White folks take everything! They took Lionel Richie, they took Michael Jackon, they took Tina Turner, they took James Brown... they gave him back!" It was funny and sad at the same time because it's true. Once you go "mainstream," the masses have you hook, line, and sinker. The same can be applied to 50 Cent. It was only a few years ago that a struggling 50 Cent was an underground sensation with his controversial song, "How To Rob." He had skills, and many said that the future looked good for this unsigned hype that had everyone tuning in. It appeared that every track 50 laced with his rhymes could move the crowd. Then came Dr. Dre and Eminem. Nothing against these two great men, but once the ink was dry on the contract, 50 Cent was no longer the underground kingpin. He was now a part of the big leagues. Judging from the content of his major label debut, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," it was apparent that they took him too.
Like Tupac, 50 Cent has had his share of controversy. It's a marketing scheme that is used to sell his CD's. Start a beef - sell a million records. Fat Joe vs. 50 Cent. The Game vs. 50 Cent. Is this for real? It gets old after awhile. Eventually people will realize that it's all bullshit and move on the next great hype. It happens in the entertainment industry all the time. Still, the thought of 50 Cent as "Man of the Year" is almost insulting to those who really made a contribution in their repsective field that was worthwhile.
I guess next year Dick Cheney will be "Man of the Year."