SXSW: 50 Cent Says Goodbye to Interscope, Former G Unit Pals in New Start

Hip-hop giant goes indie route, leaving some former associates grumbling, as ScHoolboy Q tweets his disappointment at being denied entrance to showcase.

Something is different about 50 Cent. Four hours before the rapper takes the stage at this year’s first Hang W/ SXSW live streamed performance, the hip-hop businessman sits backstage in a calm state, smiling widely. “It’s liberating,” he tells Billboard of his decision to part ways with his label of 12 years, Interscope, and go independent.

On February 20, 50 Cent announced his departure from Shady/Aftermath/Interscope and his imprint G-Unit Records’ new worldwide distribution deal with Capitol Music Group’s independent services division Caroline for his new album, Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire to Win.

“It’s great. I choose everything: what to release [and] when to release it,” he continues. “The fun part is that there doesn’t have to be a schedule. There’s no timeline. If I write a record and I want to put it out, I’ll put it out.”

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It’s a process 50 Cent wasn’t familiar with during his time at Interscope, where he didn’t have much say on the release of album assets as he does now.

“I’ll give you an example of how the process was at Interscope,” he says. “[With] my very first album [Get Rich or Die Tryin’)] we had to choose between two records for the single: ‘If I Can’t' and ‘In Da Club.’ It wasn’t that big of a deal which one was the single because they’re both produced by Dr. Dre. I was sitting on the couch, having already talked about it privately [with Eminem] that ‘In Da Club’ was the record. Em goes, ‘’In Da Club,' definitely.’ And then the entire room agreed. The other record never turned into a single. ‘If I Can’t’ performed like a single at radio, but there was never a video for it..”

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50 Cent kicks off the promotion behind his upcoming fifth solo album by partnering up with the Hang With Inc. for a live stream SXSW performance. He’s also come on board as an investor in the mobile app. Unfortunately, Top Dawg/Interscope artist, and 50 protege, ScHoolboy Q wasn’t able to get into the SXSW show, and didn't shy away from tweeting his disappointment.  

50 Cent, unaware of ScHoolboy’s attempt to attend, livened the loaded crowd at 1100 Warehouse with a one-hour set of his hits, kicking off with the recently released track from the new album, “The Funeral,” and a range of hits from his previous four albums.

Due to the countless delays of Animal Ambition, 50 had to “re-approach the record.. It’s been so long that I had to rebuild it. I can’t put out what I made yesterday today.

"This album is about the positive and negative effects of prosperity. If I’m doing too good, it brings envy and jealousy which creates negative energy,.

Mid-set, Fitty performed another new song, “Hold On,” for the first time, with pre-orders for the album starting March 18. It features 50 rapping about those “with too much pride.” The same day his new label was announced, Tony Yayo, friend and one-time G-Unit member took to Instagram to announce that he’s “done with music” and that “50 ain’t rocking with me and Lloyd Banks the same.”

Fitty defended his recent decision. “I had a wonderful journey with the people I grew up with. I think the frustration comes from shock, probably, that it’s not everything they wanted it to be,” he says of Yayo’s comments. “Him of all people… It’s not a secret, it’s a known fact that he actually came home from jail with a million dollars and a Bentley. Like, ‘What more do you want?’ 

“These guys are millionaires. They’ve made millions of dollars. Why do that then? Whenever there’s no one to blame, you know what game you play. I don’t believe in looking back. I can care less about things that’s happened in the past. I’m looking forward, at prosperity.

“I’ve learned that the same person who tells you’re a piece of shit says they love you when the right song comes out. ‘My man, 50 is back.’ So you can’t be affected by ‘I hate you’ because it won’t allow for something good to come in.”