Who would you still like to collaborate with in Hollywood?
Martin Lawrence. We’re actually looking at film scripts right now to collaborate. And Seann William Scott. He just had a film come out called Role Models. I was with him on the Tyra show.
[Laughs] He’s a funny guy, man. I think there’s an opportunity for me to have a stronger position within the film world. The biggest actor in the world came from a musical career.
The Fresh Prince became Will Smith. Would you be Curtis Jackson or 50 Cent?
Curtis, absolutely. 50 Cent is a portion of my character. You become the song to your audience. They can’t see past [it].
On the iTunes bonus track “Smile (I’m Leaving),â€ you talk about how this next album might be your last. Really?
I have a passion for music that is unbelievable. I’m addicted to what it feels like when it’s done right. I don’t care how the public feels about you; when you have the right record, you change their mind. When, creatively, you’re in the right pocket, they’ll forgive you for whatever you did. When they ask, “Do you like the artist?â€ they mean, “Do you like what they’ve presented recently?â€ When I wrote “Smile,â€ I knew my fourth album was my final album requirement, and then the fifth option is the greatest hits. So it could very well be my last studio album if it doesn’t make sense for me to continue and actually do it.
Jay-Z has signed a so-called 360-degree deal with Live Nation that includes a large advance in exchange for pieces of his touring and merchandise. Would you ever sign that type of deal?
I don’t know if I’m willing to do a 360-degree deal at this point. I mean, Jay is in a different space in his career. He may be tired of running around and negotiating each individual deal. The 360 deal would be actually putting that in someone else’s hands to support those outside ventures taking place.
So you wouldn’t feel great about giving up those percentages?
I’m comfortable doing it the way I’ve been doing it. The difference between him [and me] is obvious. He’s married, he’s getting ready to be 40 years old. He’s in a different place, he might not want to run around, and even touring may soon be out of the question. He might want to be in the office and run one of the companies. He’s got enough business sense to do that. He can do whatever he wants.
Who has the best model for staying relevant to fans?
Puffy has the best model for staying relevant, because [he does it] without a song. He’s been able to maintain an interest and stay in a space to executive produce television and film projects, and stay relevant to hip-hop culture. What was the last record that made you feel like, â€˜Oh, my God, Puffy is on fire’? You don’t need it. That’s what makes his business model exciting to me. There are only three of us to look at: Jay, [me] and Puff. [We have] three totally different situations. We’ve just been a part of hip-hop culture. That’s the similarity. I still think they’ll be relevant. I just think they’re like the fire hydrant: You can’t move those guys out of the street. I think they’ll [still] be the guys you need to connect with [to] get a shot.
So where will your brand be in the future?
Well, I believe that I will have a stronger position as we move forward. What I have on my side is age. [Laughs] See, in the next five years they’ll be 45 and 44 years old. And I’ll just be close to where they are now.â€”Adam Matthews / Photography by Alexander Richter
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