By Thanksgiving, 50 Cent will have a new single on the radio and a new album nearly finished. But that’s not all the rapper has on his agenda: During the next few months, he’s appearing in animated form on an episode of The Simpsons, launching new designs of his footwear line, starting his own series of bling-heavy watches, endorsing his Formula 50 Vitamin Water drink and preparing to star in a movie based on his life.
“50 is a promo man’s wet dream,” says one of his managers, James Cruz. “He’s a conglomerate.”
Currently, 50 is at work on the follow-up to his 10.3-million-selling debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, in his Farmington, Connecticut, home studio. (The 48,000-square-foot mansion used to belong to Mike Tyson; 50 bought it for $4.1 million last fall.) According to Cruz, the album — due early next year — is being produced by Dr. Dre and will feature guest shots from Eminem, Lloyd Banks and other members of G Unit. In 50’s spare time, he’s producing tracks for Tony Yayo and R&B artist Olivia.
After his album comes out, 50 will begin shooting Locked and Loaded, a loosely autobiographical feature film. The movie will be directed by Oscar-nominated Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan, whose previous projects include My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father and In America, and written by Sopranos executive producer Terence Winter.
“50 has such a great story, and it’s a true story,” says Cruz. “And who better to write a film about his life than someone who writes about the underworld every day?”
Due out in time for the winter holidays next year, Locked and Loaded will be a fictionalized account of how the man who was born Curtis Jackson went from being a drug dealer to a rap superstar.
“I’ve been into rap music for a while,” says Sheridan. “I love Public Enemy and Snoop. I met 50 Cent, and we got on very well. Where I come from in Ireland is kind of like where he comes from — a tough, working-class neighborhood where there’s only two or three ways out: sports, drugs or music. The challenge will be combining the documentary feel with the excitement of the movies.”