50 Cent- gangsta rapper, multi-platinum artist, G-unit honcho, movie star, clothing line CEO, vitamin water pitchman, street lit publisher. Fifty seems to have all the bases covered. The dude is about his for real. The ultimate come up. From the streets to the world. It’s a good story. Maybe too good to be true.
50 Cent has made himself the poster child for Southside Jamaica, Queens. Everything gritty, everything gutter, everything gangsta and street is what he portrays to be. And who’s saying he’s not all that and more. The dude did get blasted at point blank range taking nine bullets to the body and survived. So maybe he is the super thug he carries himself as.
But 50 is infamous for a lot of things- his music, his back-story, his beefs and particularly for his lyrics, which some claim border on dry snitching. Case in point, his so-called tribute to Queen’s street legends and alleged drug dealers in his rap song Ghetto Quaran, which supposedly started a war between the rapper and former convicted drug kingpin Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff who is now facing the death penalty in an upcoming drug, racketeering and murder trial where the aforementioned Curtis Jackson aka 50 cent is rumored to be testifying for the prosecution. The case is based on guesswork, snitches, rumors, and to a large part 50’s lyrics. But could it be the result of an obsession turned ugly?
“I think it’s really strange,” Ethan Brown hip-hop author of the moment who penned Queens Reigns Supreme– Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler, said in a recent XXL interview. “50 makes his entire movie, which should be this puffy biopic about himself, but its about Preme. Very strange. I’m amazed he did that.” In the movie the character Majestic who shoots 50 is based on Supreme. But it’s important to note the two are a generation apart. Ethan went on, “I can’t stand the interpretation 50 was snitching on Supreme through Ghetto Quaran. It wasn’t anything that was said that annoyed Preme. It was the fact that it was put out there at a really vulnerable time for him. That’s what I believe. Though I’ve heard from people that Preme didn’t like being described as the businessman in the song, and Prince being described as the killer. But I think its no accident that 50’s movie, which implicates Supreme as the killer, is out right now.” And Ethan isn’t the only one to draw these conclusions.
The new Stop Snitching, Stop Lying DVD, which puts to film the whole G-Unit movement spearheaded by The Game, and his manager Jimmy Henchman, points to 50’s complicity. “You need to stop telling on people. That’s not cool.” The Game says in the DVD alluding to the Murder Inc./Supreme trial. But is 50 really testifying for the prosecution?
“I’m not gonna say 50’s a snitch,” Irv Gotti said in Don Diva magazine after his recent acquittal in the money laundering trial where Murder Inc allegedly cleaned Supremes drug money. “But in the affidavit they have these things called CI’s. CI’s don’t testify. They just give info. When it says CI#5 said this, this and that and you go back and recollect that situation in your head it could only be 1 or 2 people saying shit like this. It’s like yo, this dude been working with the police for a minute. When he got shot he had police around him crazy, and I think he sold his soul right then and there.” Irv’s brother Chris echoed the sentiment on 50, “I know his name, for some reason was mentioned a hell of a lot in our trial and case.” But let’s take a look back at this situation, and how 50’s obsession with Supreme turned into snitching allegations.
Living with his grandparents in Queens, Curtis Jackson adopted the moniker 50 Cent from a Billy the Kid-type crook who lived in Brooklyn in a New York City public housing project in Fort Green. His name was Kelvin Martin, and he died at the age of 22, gunned down in the projects. This 50 Cent, Curtis Jackson is now 28, and owns Mike Tyson’s old home, an 18 room mansion in Connecticut. A long way from Southside Jamaica.
Concerning Supreme 50 said in A 2003 Rolling Stone interview, “Me and Preme had a relationship. At one point we would speak to each other, and we would kick it. But we have so much in common we can’t get along. He’s just just not gonna like me, and I’m not gonna like him.” But remember this is the same dude 50 hero worshipped in his song, and the same dude he has mentioned in countless interviews and articles forever 1inking himself to the street legend from Queens. This is Ethan Brown the authors take on the relationship.
“Absolutely zero overlap,” Ethan said in XXL. “These guys were not in the streets when Supreme was in the streets. They look up to him in a king of mythologizing way. And Preme made it very well known that he was unhappy about Ghetto Quaran, and all those mixtapes. I think there was some interaction there, but other than that I don’t think there’s been any interaction.” But there seems to be a lot of animosity from 50. Almost like his idol Supreme rejected him in some way.
“They should let him out, so he can die in the street like he’s supposed to.” 50 said in a recent XXL interview. “If he could touch down in the street and find out what the difference between 50 Cent without finances is and the new me…” Seems like a threat right there. And leads to the thought, who shot 50 cent?
Ethan Brown’s book, Queens Reigns Supreme reports that Darryl “Hommo” Baum shot the rapper in June 2000. And in Many Men, 50 says as much rapping, “Hommo shot me/three weeks later he got shot down.” But at the Murder Inc trial Jon “Love” Ragin testifying for the prosecution said that Robert “Son” Lyons was the shooter, and that Preme put out the hit. The shooting was ruled irrelevant to the case, but 50 sees the release of the court papers detailing the plot allegedly hatched by Supreme to have him killed as a means of trafficking on his notoriety.
“Regardless of where they pick a juror from, the juror knows 50 cent,’ he said in XXL recently analyzing the prosecutor’s strategy.” And they understand this is the kind of person they need to keep off the street.” Doesn’t sound very gangsta of 50 saying that. What happened to what happens in the street stays in the street, the motto of every hustler?
Actually it goes against the philosophy that 50 proclaimed in his autobiography From Pieces to Weight. “If there’s one thing that its not cool to be in the streets, its a snitch.” 50 writes. “You sentence a nigga to death when you call him that. I’m used to dealing with problems on the up an up- the way it’s supposed to be dealt with in the hood.” And 50 portrays himself as a “reckless street nigga” who sold drugs, was a major player in the game, and upheld the street code of omerta.
“Those niggas know me in the streets,” 50 was quoted saying in FEDS magazine. “When oldheads like Supreme and them came home I was in a place already. I really couldn’t comprehend the respect level these niggas had. Whatever they said about the oldheads putting in work was black history to me. I had conversations and relationships with all the oldheads, all of them know me.” Truth or fiction, only 50 knows. But it’s highly debatable if he was a player in the drug game at all.
And in reality 50 can’t even get love from his own hood. “That nigga 50 got a nigga looking at a life sentence in prison cause of that sucker ass shit he rapping about,” said one Queens local in Don Diva. Even 50 admitted in XXL, “I can feel it when I come back to NYC, there’s a lot of envy there.” But is it envy or recognition. They say real recognizes real, and if 50 is fronting could that explain the backlash. A 30 foot billboard in South Jamaica says it all really, G-Unit. But 50 if anything is always controversia1.
“Most of the niggas out there who talk gangsta and thug shit in raps, 50 writes in his book.”Don’t really want to be a part of the stuff they’re putting on their records.” And on his longstanding Murder Inc. nemesis Ja Rule, 50 wrote, “He was never on the street, he didn’t hustle, he didn’t bust his gun, he didn’t do any of the stuff he talks about on his records.” But did 50? Other than a small time drug offense where he served an eight month boot camp sentence 50 has no major convictions.
In Rolling Stone, 50 gave his take on the Queens street legends he immortalized in verse, “I think some people looked up to them. They had the neighborhood. They had the influence. Pappy was more dangerous in my eyes. Prince was a killer. The other guy (Preme) he’s not that special. Finances made him serious. Without finances I’ve seen him in situations where he was compromised, where he didn’t look so tough.” Yet 50 made a tribute song to the man that Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Pokorny labels one of the “baddest, most dangerous drug lords in NYC.”
And Ethan Brown echoed this thought in his XXL interview, “By taking the storm and not flipping, Preme secures his spot as one of the baddest guys to ever walk the streets of NYC.” So has 50’s hero worship/obsession of Preme turned ugly, because he was scorned by the legend. Who knows? But the upcoming trial will shed some light especially if 50 testifies for the prosecution. But what will that do to his gangsta cred? Or is 50 above that? Is his popularity too grandiose? Maybe his fans won’t even care if it turns out that 50’s a snitch. But one thing is certain the credibility of Supreme is forever intact.
“He’s a stand up dude, man.” Chris Gotti said about Preme in his Don Diva interview after his acquittal. “I don’t know how many men could take what he’s getting dealt cause they are really trying to crush that dude. I wasn’t with Preme in the 80’s. I knew Preme in ‘95. He, served his time, the government felt like he was the one that got away. Of course, they wanted us to tell about Supreme, and there was nothing to tell.” Obviously, though the government thinks otherwise. Fueled by 50 Cent’s lyrics they are trying to take a mans life. –
So snitch or no snitch it is clear 50 cent is obsessed with Supreme. And it must hurt to hear the words from his idols mouth, which were widely reprinted in newspapers across the nation. Taken from a recorded jailhouse conversation with Chris Gotti this is what Supreme said about 50, “Its copycat shit now man. That cracker is pimping him. He ain’t nothing but a motherfucking house nigger who set everything, set us back 150 years. Next thing he gonna be doing is macaroni and cheese commercials.” Imagine that.
With the mass proliferation of everything hip-hop, the mainstream is taking on a street flavor. Now that Coca-Cola and Pepsi have cornered the market on that gangsta tip where does a certified thug or thugetter get their 411? Sure there’s magazines like the original street bible Don Diva and spin-off FEDS that cater to the criminal element, and any potential soldier can get their read on with books from Hampstead Publishing’s Joe Black and Robert Booker, but there’s also an e-magazine that’s only a click a way on the internet. Ain’t no faking it we’re talking about bloodygreen.com, a web magazine with true stories from the streets, and true stories for the streets.
“Bloodygreen.com is an e-magazine,” says John Abrams, the founder. “This is the only e-magazine of this sort that accepts true street/prison stories. We also have a modeling agency, up and coming DJ’s, and artists and an MP3 link for music and advertisement sections.”
The idea for the site that is based out of Buffalo New York came from the aforementioned 32 year old Abrams who says, “I am from upstate NY- Ruff Buff, the second largest city in New York.” He continues, “I was trying to be creative in starting this site. Just looking at magazines, Don Diva the godfather of this, focus on old school gangsters. No magazines focus on people going through struggles now. There’s a lot of shit happening everyday that people want the streets to have knowledge of. Everybody has a story to tell.” And on bloodygreen.com they can.
It’s easy to submit stories too. Go to the site, and hit the join button, and follow the simple instructions. To submit material press the submit button at the top of the page. There’s four different sections- A) True stories B) Words of Wisdom C) Word on the Streets D) Poetry. Write the title, your name if you like then begin writing, and press the submit button, so stories can go to the site.
“My goal is to have people come to the site like any other magazine,” Abrams says. “I hear some magazines are banned in certain states, this is an e-magazine, there is no way to ban an e-magazine. I am trying to start a movement with content that comes from the streets, and from people in prison around the Great US of A.”
Abrams also has plans to launch a bloodygreen DVD magazine with his stories from the website. So check out bloodygreen.com, and write to John Abrams at bloodygreen.com PO Box 552 Buffalo New York 14215.