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In the Studio: 50 Cent Gets "Dark" on New Disc

November 14, 2008 1:11 PM ET

Last year, 50 Cent went up against Kanye West, and lost. Both rappers released albums on September 11th, 2007, and while West's sold 950,000 copies its first week, 50's moved about 250,000 units less. Looking back, 50 says, "If I could change anything, I'd change the timing that I released it. But together we created the largest-selling week for hip-hop music."

The two won't be going head-to-head again: West's 808s & Heartbreak is slated for November 25th, and 50's Before I Self Destruct will be out early next year. Compared to 2007's R&B-heavy Curtis — which featured Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige and Robin Thicke — 50's fourth LP is more stripped-down, with fewer guest spots. "It's darker," he says. "It has the essence of [his debut] Get Rich or Die Tryin'. It's authentic with harsh realities." Beyond the first single, the Scott Storch-produced "Get Up," 50 won't reveal any song titles, though he says the CD will feature collaborations with Dr. Dre and Eminem. Also, every disc will come with a DVD of a full-length movie written, directed by and starring the MC: He plays a none-too-bright baller with NBA potential, whose teen brother is a college-bound prodigy. "It might sound far-fetched, but 13-year-old college students are out there," says 50. "There's more than one Doogie Howser, baby."

[From Issue 1066 — November 27, 2008]

Related Stories:
Trailer: 50 Cent's Directorial Debut Before I Self Destruct
50 Cent Doles Out Hood Business Advice on The Money and the Power

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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