50 Cent explains how an encounter with a bootlegger inspired him to make his "50 Cent Is The Future" mixtape.
Ten years ago, Queens rapper 50 Cent revolutionized the Hip Hop industry with the release of his 50 Cent is the Future mixtape, the first tape its kind to feature music from only one artist. Now, with mixtapes having become an institution in the game, the G-Unit general reflects on the making of his project.
In a recent interview with XXL, he got the idea for making the tape after an encounter with a bootlegger hocking a fake 50 Cent album outside Violator management's offices. 50 continued that few people believed that the project would ever take off, including G-Unit's own DJ Whoo Kid, who Fif had to pay in order to press the mixtape.
"I was across the street from Violator Records, and Violator management['s Chris Lighty] wasn't sure if he wanted to manage me at that point - there was a lot of luggage that came [with me]," he recalled. "I was on my way back from my second actual visit [with him]…across the street from there was a bootlegger, he was selling CDs and shit, so I said to him, 'What's up? What you got?' And he was like, 'I've got something new, it's new 50 Cent.' And I was tripping because I thought he was being funny at first, and I realized, oh shit, he don't know that [I'm 50 Cent] because the only picture I had was [from the cover of Power of the Dollar]…so I was like, I'ma make my own tape."
He continued, "When we finished the tape, [Whoo Kid] didn't want to sell it, he didn't want to put it out because it wasn't what a mix tape was at that time. He was like, 'What the fuck would I wanna do that for? Who's gonna want that?' I had to pay him to press the tape up…but after 50 Cent is the Future popped off, the whole game changed for me…before tat, I had been on the circuit so heavy because you had to do something for [every DJ's mixtape]. I've recorded in Kay Slay's closet…the turntables [would be] right there, you'd rap and you're on the tape."
Check out the full interview below.