By Melissa A. Stewart

He’s a hip hop icon and is known as the bread-winner for the G-Unit family. 50 Cent is known by the masses for his slick and often comedic vernacular but also as the rapper who always gets the last word in any battle. Case in point, anybody heard from Ja-Rule?

On the cusp of another much anticipated hit with his new self titled album ‘Curtis’, 50 Cent wanted to give fans a bit of Curtis Jackson III.

Curtis shows his human side by exploiting familiar emotions like joy and sadness, the usage of mood music and confusion which he laments are the most vulnerable points for an artist. In his previous two albums 50 proved that he didn’t need anyone to ‘bless’ his album with their presence and had very few people featured on his disc. With the exception of a few friends (Young Buck and Eminem), he rode solo on both projects. But this go round, he’s flipping the script with features from Justin Timberlake, Akon, Timbaland, Mary J. Blige (MJB) and Robin Thicke to promote a different vibe.

“In my last album, I only extended myself and worked with other artists that I made a commitment to assisting them with their careers. This time I’ll reach out and see what I can do with different artists with different perspectives.”

One of the favorites on the album is a song called All of Me that he did with co-pilot MJB. “I wrote the song and I had a reference artist do a reference vocal for me. The young lady could really sing but she didn’t’ have the same vocal ability as Mary. So when I got her [Mary] in the studio I had a vision for the record. I just knew it was supposed sound a certain way, but I wasn’t sure how to tell Mary to do it. I can’t vocally reach what I was trying to get her to so I had her in the studio doing it over and over and over. [Laughing] If I tried to call her right now she probably wouldn’t answer the phone…It’s an incredible record. When you hear it you’ll understand.”

Straight to the Bank is another single that’s been getting major air-play and the video scene. It seems like 50’s telling his haters (once again) ‘Look at me now’. His opinion was much the same. “I think you reach a point where people just want to see you go down. I’ve had so much success in a short period of time in front of ‘em that they’d like to see ultimately something go wrong. It’s to a point exhausting them cuz they’re waiting for their shot.”

Shorty you aint gotta take ya panites off;
Just move ‘em to the side.
If you wanna ride on the rollercoaster,
Baby come on and ride.
It goes up and down and round and round;
Stand up or get on the flo’.
Its on tonight I know what you like;
I know just how to break you off.

Clearly, Amusement Park is a joint for the ladies. Thanks Curtis.

Curtis the album was originally slated to be released on June 26th, the same day as the BET Music awards show. With the album near completion and unable to make the original June release date, a simultaneous worldwide release is now the result of a September 11th drop date. This date is a source of much debate between 50 and Kanye West who will be making his contribution to hip hop on the same day. We’ll see how that plays out.

Now don’t think that since the album isn’t dropping ‘til September it means 50 will be just lying around. At a current weight of 202 lbs. and with 5% body fat his summer is looking really bright, especially for the ladies. “I’m probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I got a nutritionist and a trainer traveling with me. I’m physical training for a boxing film that’s coming up later this year called ‘The Dance’ with myself and Nicholas Cage.” Surely we can expect an upgraded performance from the ‘In Da Club’ video. Once again, here’s a little something for the ladies. Thanks Curtis.

Has 50 Cent caught the acting bug? With artists (Snoop Dogg, Beyonce, EveT.I….) crossing over to the silver screen and doing well to boot, the box office isn’t shy about exploiting the many talents of those they know will pull in the big crowds. 50 Cent first graced the screen when he headlined on ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’, (a film loosely based on his rise into the music game) and then sharing the screen with the likes of Samuel Jackson. Many didn’t think he’d hold up well with the vet but the two Jackson’s held it down like pros and 50 walked away with his respect.

“I challenge my self creatively with movie projects. It allows me to capture things that I wouldn’t actually display in hip hop… When a rapper takes acting seriously, they have no choice but to respect him.” So yes, 50 has caught the acting bug.

To read more pick up the current issue of Crunk Magazine.