Our Interview with Rapper 50 Cent
On Saturday August 2, rapper 50 Cent was in town to greet more than 500 people at the downtown Nordstrom flagship store for the debut of his new Studio Mastered Sound (SMS) headphones. He signed autographs and took photos with about 250 fans that snagged his new merch. As the crowd swelled in anticipation of his arrival--camera phones primed and ready--I had the incredible privilege of interviewing him to talk about his involvement with SMS Audio. Here are the highlights of our discussion:
Seattle magazine: Tell me about your SMS Audio products and how they’re different from other headphones?
50 Cent: Each one of the products has custom-tuned 40mm drivers (except the ear buds that have 11mm drivers), memory foam cushions, and a polyurethane and nylon blend in the headset to make it more durable. One of the key features is the waterproofing technology to prevent your sweat from damaging the headphones. I wanted to take the imperfections out of the products that I previously owned myself and hold my version to that standard.
SM: Which style is your favorite?
50 Cent: The over-ear wireless sport version. It’s a necessity for me when I’m being physical, whether I’m at the gym or just going out.
SM: How did you connect with Nordstrom and how has it been working with the retailer?
50 Cent: Nordstrom is a place where people don’t mind paying for quality. If you want high-end audio products, they should be sold at a high-quality place like Nordstrom. People recognize the brand and know its quality and will buy it. A lot of times artists or athletes will involve themselves with projects that they just put their check into for marketing purposes, but I didn’t want to be associated with that. I’ve been really involved in the whole process.
SM: What are your personal musical tastes? Do you ever listen to grunge?
50 Cent: Yep, I’ve heard some of it. As trends start to happen in music culture, you have to do your own thing but know what’s going on so you can make something that fits. I like all kinds of music, but I like a lot of older music: Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Miles Davis.
SM: Let's do word association. What comes to mind when I say, “Seattle”?
50 Cent: Sports. Like the Seahawks.
50 Cent: DaVinci. I just saw a t-shirt (points to one of his assistants).
50 Cent: One of the top teams in sports.
50 Cent: My pitch. I don’t wanna pitch again!
50 Cent: Hit music. He’s got a big hit. The only problem is he needs to keep doing it. It’s my problem too. He’ll hear this and go, “What’s this mean 50?” But it’s just music period, you have to keep coming up with it.
50 Cent: Quality products.
The writer, Kari Lutcavich, with 50 Cent