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50 Cent on Loss of 40 Day Event: "I Won't Let It Discourage Me"

September 1, 2009 6:11 PM ET

"When you're successful, some people, either their heads blow up like a little balloon and fly off into the sky on helium, or they reflect on the struggle, they reflect on how far they've came. I'll go through my neighborhood and just look," says 50 Cent, who tells Rolling Stone he recently restored a park in Queens, New York. Though he pulled off a concert at New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park over the weekend — he transported nearly 30 buses from his home turf there — he was especially disappointed that 40 Day, an August 30th free concert and kids' carnival in his home borough, was axed due to security concerns.

"Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg and the governor spoke about it, they had a little press conference, and spoke positively about the event, because of my motivation and what my intentions were," he says. "I went through the trouble of developing this… it's been a nine-month period that I've been working on it." But after the New York Post ran a story claiming cops were worried about the public's safety at the event, he was unable to secure permits and postponed the festivities.

"It's not interesting enough to promote positivity or to promote that someone's actually attempting to give back to the community in that way," 50 says. "So they promote the fact that I've been shot previously not far from where the location is, and they promote previous activity in that environment that has taken place to make it feel like something can happen, to invoke fear or create a storyline of 'Come play at your own risk.' I think it slipped their mind that this is an event that was developed and based for kids."

Though organizing 40 Day wasn't a positive experience, "I won't let it discourage me from doing things in the community," 50 Cent vows. He adds that he wanted to do an event in Queens for those kids who couldn't get on the bus to New Jersey because they didn't have a chaperone. "Because I'm one of the kids that wouldn't be able to get on that bus. I was one of the kids that grew up with my grandparents, my grandfather had to work, my grandmother's at home, so there's nobody there to be a chaperone. That was why it was important to do it the day after in the actual neighborhood."

"The newspaper got what they wanted out of it when they put me in there, and then the news and everybody else utilized it," he says. "It's interesting."

Reporting by Evan Serpick

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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