“Blood On The Sand” follows the storyline of 50 Cent and his G-Unit counterparts who after a Hip Hop performance in a Middle Eastern country are cheated out of payment at the hands of a local crime mob who decided to make off with the money. In true 50 Cent fashion, you get the opportunity to kick some ass, blow up the opponent, and bring to life his simple message, if you mess with 50, there will be “Blood On The Sand.” Accompanied by 18 unheard tracks, a catalog of his previous hit music, and a score by Grammy award winning producer Swizz Beatz, “Blood On The Sand” is more than just a game, it’s a complete Hip Hop experience.
From Rick Ross to Fat Joe, and on back to Cam’ron, to his adversaries it’s a beef, to 50 Cent it’s inspiration for a million dollar business plan Yo! Raps got an opportunity to get in on a round table discussion with the controversial rapper behind the action packed game, to get a window seat into his latest enterprise.
Always promising to be more than just pre-show entertainment, 50 Cent offered a mouthful of ear bending conversation. Giving us the latest on his beefs, a satisfying taste of “Blood On The Sand,” and a glimpse at the ingenious endeavours that come straight from the “Amusement Park” in 50 Cent’s mind, we got your questions answered and even left room for a few surprises. It doesn’t cost a lot to win a beef, but in the end it takes a small investment; all you need is 50 Cent.
Hey 50, as far as the new video game goes, is there going to be any downloadable content in the near future?
When you get the game there’s 18 unheard tracks. They have an opportunity to utilize the hit music I already made for “Get Rich Or Die Tryin,” “The Massacre,” and “Curtis” also, but everybody knows that music already. There’s an option for them utilize a score that was produced by, you know, Grammy Award winning Swizz Beatz. Producer, notice I said Grammy Award winning. I thought I’d throw that lil plug in there and make him feel real big. [Laughs]
What contributions specifically did you make to the game? I know you’ve talked about before that you had a close hand with them, I was wondering specifically what you worked on with “Blood On The Sand.”
You know what I did, I came in and I was conscious of what I was saying because I didn’t want to over inject myself in my ideas before I had the opportunity to hear what they felt was the best possible technology and best ideas and route to go to create a successful game at this point. I went in and I heard their ideas, and then I told them I had influences from the movie “Blood Diamonds,” and I had an opportunity to perform for the soldiers in Iraq. This was a while ago. This is what inspired me to be apart of the film “The Home Of The Brave” where I actually played a soldier in the actual movie. But it was the intensity of being apart of the real setting. It’s probably the most dramatic situation you could actually be in.
People consciously doing tours, which is a trip for me. After the fact when I left, I was like, I’m just glad that I could just leave. So I’m sure some of them wish they could leave now, you know what I mean? When I went into the actually video gaming, I listened and I injected the things I felt were cool. Like, one of my favorite video games coming up was “Outrun” for arcades. There’s a portion of the actual video game where there’s a stage where you require more than you can actually carry, so the objective is to run at that point to a different stage of the actual game. The options of the vehicles that you use, whether it’s the helicopter, a Humvee or the other things that are around, it’s just a choice of the actual player at that point.
Obviously the story is more of an outrageous story as oppose to the urban setting we found in the original game “Bulletproof,” how did you insure that you could still inject the Hip Hop culture into the game without making it feel overly too over the top where fans would be like ‘come on now, this is not 50 Cent?’
You see. You know what I was trying to avoid was the same conversation. If I didn’t do what I did content-ually when it was time to create the game I’d get all these complaints about the game being so aggressive. It’s either, or. It’s either you get the confusion and the conversation from the person saying how do you know you’re not going to lose your audience by trying something different. And then you get the conversation like, this is way too aggressive. Actually in the city and the theme it’s possible.
Did they allow you to get a hand on and see what they were doing step by step within the game so you insure that level of credibility as far as you were concerned?
Absolutely. They sent over storyboards, and showed me things as we were processing and actually getting it together. This is like a two and a half year process. It didn’t just happen.
If 50 Cent gets shot in the game, can Tony Yayo take the bullets out and put them in his profile?
Well, I don’t think so. I don’t think he will be actually able to achieve operations and then re-firing bullets. That one we’re going to need a couple years to get to. [Laughs]
How many exclusive tracks can you actually hear on the game?
18 exclusive tracks on the actual game, and then there’s any music that you’re already familiar with from “Get Rich Or Die Tryin,” “The Massacre,” and the “Curtis” album, my first 3 projects. Away from that, the option to use the production by Swizz Beatz, I mean if you’re just the kind of person that really doesn’t or can’t get into Hip Hop music. You know what I mean?
What is your favorite aspect of the game?
My favorite aspect of the game was the actual ability to move it, to move the character. It’s a lot easier.
What is your favorite gun or weapon in the game?
Well, it’s the handgun, a 9 millimeter weapon. But the other guns fire a lot better and there’s a lot more action, but that one right there is from the use from me.
What’s the process of creating original music for the game as oppose to writing tracks for an album that’s just going to come out separately?
Totally different process. You know what, when I’m writing an actual album, I create a day, for prior to me actually going in to writing it. With like the “Curtis” album, I was attempting to make that record union. I put him in the motions, like laughter, for the jewellery perspective, “Straight To The Bank” was that, the music part, the sexuality and different things that are relevant to actual humans in general created the outline, and I said I have to make music that covers all of it. I went in the studio, and it was production that motivated me to say the right things over it.
So, from the “Curtis” album versus this project, which is kind of on the fantasy vibe, my range is different. I can go wherever, and not have to actually explain it. Like I did a song called, “I’ll Be The Shooter,” and edited the video game into it recently. We knew all the terminology’s that are used in the actual environment. People feel like you have bad intentions when Hip Hop artists start to compete with each other and go back in forth. Like this is within me competing with Rick Ross, although… “I’ll Be The Shooter.” But in order to make the public clear that it’s not a direct threat, I incorporated all of the gaming footage in the visual that’s created for it. It’s out now! You’ll get a chance to check it on YouTube.
I know you’re producing a lot of hot tracks and you did tracks that are exclusively for this game, will these tracks be able to be purchased on iTunes, so that a person cannot only hear them on the game but also in an iPod, in their car or wherever?
I should do that, I mean like that’s something that we should actually get going. You just came up with a whole new business venture. I need to talk to Steve Q so he can cut me a check baby. But if I get iTunes involved with this record, I really don’t want the confusion of that being on sale at this point, while my albums getting ready to come. Because that’ll happen while this project is here. It was two years for me to compile material up to standard for this. Meanwhile, I’ve got to release the next album. I’m ready to release “Before I Self Destruct.”
Would you say that you took you’re experiences from going to the Middle East and performing for the troops… I mean when it came to your first album, you drew human emotions to make those tracks, for this game, where did you find yourself? Where did you compile these emotions from?
My interest in the actual war setting came from me having the actual opportunity of going over there. But, like when it came time to create the actual music, it was more like me drawing from my imagination at that point in those actual settings. It still matched the audience. I didn’t want to lose the interest that is built in with me being apart of it musically, but being able to go somewhere that I don’t have to explain myself because it’s for the game.
Looking towards the future, were you planning on maybe doing a “Grand Theft Auto” type of game, sort of like the up and coming of 50 Cent, sort of like a rap mogul type of thing?
I mean that definitely would be an option. “Grand Theft Auto” was the real reason why I explored the possibility of creating “Bulletproof.” They were so adamant about getting me to create music for that actual game that I explored the possibilities of creating the whole game and it worked out. With the first one being a success, going into this one I’m in a pretty good space. They’ve got a different intention for what they feel they wanted my role in their company to be, THQ is the perfect place for me.
Where do you see the future of the 50 Cent franchise going, I know that “Blood On The Sand” just dropped, but I was wondering what you guys were looking towards in the future?
It will be great, but we have to collaborate and try and come up with, I mean we have the guys who actually make the video game. They’re really the best at the game. They sit there and play all of them and got the best possible ideas and when I collaborate with them I’ll come up with what my next move is. I really like, personally, I have an interest in the part of creating, marketing and promoting a product that doesn’t have me in it. I’m a big fan of Tetris and some of the older games, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Centipede, where you had one joystick and one button. You know what I’m saying? A lot of video gamers are big fans of that, so I want to be able to create, not necessarily a different controller or all that, but be able to create something different.
So are you looking to go into creating your own development studio?
Not developing a full studio myself, but developing a new project where I’m not actually starring in the game.
As far as your last game is concerned, did you see a jump in music sales from the video games, do you think that’s something that happens when you release a game with some music in it?
I did see a change in the actual scales for the music. People who play games play them religiously. Gamers spend a lot of time on actual games. What I’ve learned, a lot of times they’ll turn the television down and play music from another source, because they’re acquiring material that’s on the actual game that isn’t up to standards right now. So they’ll play the radio or a mixtape or something else that they can listen to all the way through, while they’re playing the actual game.
So the opportunity to provide that, I think intensifies the actual experience. My album sales a lot of times, this is why this is perfect to release it prior to the release the actual album. It’s giving them an opportunity, the fans that are actually going to buy it for whatever reason, to just enjoy the game or just give it a shot because they hear me saying that it’s cool, or whatever it is. They actually get a chance to hear some of that material, and it raises anticipation for what my next albums going to be because this music has been held to standard.
Are there any specific lessons that you took from “Bulletproof” and brought to “Blood On The Sand”?
I definitely didn’t want to make it difficult to control the actual characters in the game, as difficult as it was during “Bulletproof.” There are two games that have the similar interest, “Gears Of War” and “Army Of Two,” they kind of have similar engines and like the technology in them. Both of those games are great games, so being in that bracket ain’t a bad bracket to be in.
Are there any Easter Eggs, secret missions, or secret songs they can unlock in the game?
There’s definitely material that they can unlock. The further you play the more options they should have to get different music and stuff. You unlock the music. Yeah, there’s one secret mission, but you have to get through the whole game to get it.
How do you think the reception will be for this game versus the last one?
I think it will be great. I mean I was happy with the last game performance, but I feel like this one has been well thought through. I think the game is like me as a person, I’m a work in progress. I feel like I’m getting better and learning how to not always have to be the official leader of every situation so I can find the best possible outcomes and solution to problems as we move forward in business period.
With the popularity of Rockstar and Guitar Hero, are you planning to do something a little less action oriented and but more music intensive?
You know I had the opportunity to play Guitar Hero at MTV during the finale of TRL. They had it in the dressing room. We had a lot of fun doing that, but I’m not sure it would be that much fun with Hip Hop music. Unless you’re going to have MP3’s and beats machines. That reaches over to the actual people who own the rights to those consoles, and companies, they have them come in with some of the actual finances to market because they would be marketing and promoting their product at the same time.
How do the other members of G-Unit feel about themselves being in the game, and have they had an opportunity to come and sit down and play with you?
They didn’t really have very much input, but actually they were there for the very first initial meeting. They did the voice-overs in the actual game and performed on a couple records. They did the green screen photos to create their likeness for the game. It’s interesting, Young Buck, the day we were supposed to do the green screen photos, he thought that it would be more exciting to fly to Atlanta and do a feature in a Jeezy video. Which was a bad decision obviously, but it’s cool that the association to him is not apart of this actual project. This was two years in the making. God works in mysterious ways, and I think it’s an easier process for me to wean myself away from the association to this actual artist because he didn’t do it at that time, he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
You’re fairly notorious for speaking your mind and taking digs at other artists. Are there any jabs at Kanye West or Rick Ross in the actual game?
Well no, not in the actual game, but you can see, “Blood On The Sand” is the title of it, and “Elephant In The Sand,” was my last issue with Fat Joe. You see what I’m saying about the title? I incorporate all the things that the involvement from Hip Hop… when someone tries to do something derogatory, I kind of like to turn it around and make it positive. When Cam’ron calls me Curtis, my third album, LP is titled “Curtis.” When Rick Ross calls me Curly, I turn it into “Pimpin Curly,” a character for ThisIs50.com.
A lot of times I’ll take something that they’re saying that’s negative, and then incorporate it in what I’m doing next and it allows me to go places that I probably wouldn’t have went on my own. They inspire me in different ways. Hip Hop is so competitive that without you asking for an altercation you’ll have one. Just being one of the people who generate a lot of interest in it, you’re going to be called to the challenge. Like there was no real reason for, “The Bridge Is Over,” KRS-One just didn’t like what MC Shan was saying. There was no altercation or them seeing each other anywhere, the song just came out and was a good song. Kind of like the Rick Ross/50 Cent situation. I didn’t meet him, he just has really bad timing because I’m not within the album cycle where I’m occupied with creating my materials, so I’ll ruin his life. He’ll be working in the pizza shop before I’m done. They won’t let him go back to being a correctional officer, so he’s gonna have to work at Tony’s.
A lot of this is brilliant, which one of these is your favorite taunt?
There’s so many, I don’t have a favorite one, I’ll adjust it so I enjoy it. I mean if you don’t look for these situations and they come, you adapt to it. Like I believe there’s some artists who I believe they develop a king complex so they feel like they’re so big that they’re no longer apart of the culture so they won’t listen to you. They’ll look at you like, oh he’s a bum, he ain’t got no money, I’m not saying anything to him, he’s smaller than me. I don’t do that, I’ll take on whatever artist. I’ll say this to you, there’s no potential way Rick Ross could’ve won that situation from the very beginning, but it’s an opportunity for me to create interest to my site. I’ve been up 60% since we started the actual Rick Ross thing because I’ve been doing things weekly with cartoons, “Pimpin Curly” and different things. It’s like, tune in next week. It’s turning the dot com into a television network.
I was wondering how you feel about the affects of things like referring to the female in the games as bitch repeatedly. How do you feel about influencing the culture, and your influence on the African American culture and Hip Hop culture, especially with kids?
Check this out, the harsh realities are these words exist and I didn’t make them up. To create a description of a person’s lifestyle, we utilize these things. When you say “bitch” at certain points, it describes a person’s behaviour at that point. When you say “hoe”, it’s because she might be wanting to suck a dick right now, she might be wanting to go on a date, she might be in pornography, she might be- there’s a class of people that we would classify those things.
If the game is too aggressive for certain people, then it’s rated Mature. So then that right there is the standard that they created to say this is acceptable for adult entertainment. For me to change those requirements or to have more responsibility than anyone else has, is a bit unfair. From my perspective I feel like if you’re saying that I’ve become so influential that I need to make specific adjustments and changes, I’m flattered by that, but I don’t believe that.
I guess I was more specifically wondering how you felt about that influence on the youth of Hip Hop and the African American culture in America.
Well it’s rated mature so the youth really shouldn’t actually come in contact with it unless they have someone around it that can explain it. If you have someone around you, an adult, and if it’s rated Mature, then someone mature should actually have it. If a kid does interact with it or have it, then someone should be around to explain it. When you’re going to a film that’s rated R, do they have an adult outside to tell you it’s okay to go in or not?
They’ll use all the terminologies you’re talking about. If you’re going to create standard, make it across the board, don’t make it just for the video game because it’s 50 Cent’s video game, you know what I’m saying to you, when everything that’s mentioned in the game will be in you’re film and everybody on the other end of this phone, knows it. Take your cable television, let’s not allow the cable to go on in the world in certain areas because there happens to be words being said in certain context. The freedom of the web has provided a new freedom. When you used to have to totally rely on BET and MTV networks to reach out to people for different products, that’s not so real anymore.
The number one music video on BET is playing 6 times a week. All that video does on that network is tell people to go to YouTube or Thisis50.com and other networks and sites that actually would have that content. Whatever time, if you just got home from work or you just got home from school, or whatever you did, when you have free time the web would be on demand television, but all of these terminologies are being used even further. So, even if a kid is sheltered to the point where they don’t interact with anyone that says these things, I’m sure they’re hearing these terminologies.
Just to be clear, you don’t feel any responsibilities towards your fans with regard to your terms of racism?
In terms of, racist terms, derogatory terms and in terms of the language used in the game. I don’t feel like it’ll affect them at all, I don’t feel like they’re hearing anything for the first time on this game. It isn’t a dramatic thing.
Did you have any influence on the image that they used on you in the game?
My image, they actually came back and asked me. It looked a little more like me in the face, but my arms were a lot bigger and I didn’t mind that. Without going to jail or nothing, I mean I’d look to – I don’t even think that would be – I don’t think that’ll go over well with my audience. [Laughs] You know what I mean? 50 start looking like Lou Ferrigno. [Laughs]
Will we ever see your games turned into movies?
You’re the second person to ask me this. Some of these games already start off as movies. They normally have to develop such a big enough marketing plan to make it cool all the way around before they decide to do that. With my relationship with THQ, you’ll actually see me develop Saints Row, the video game Saints Row, into an actual screenplay and then to a film project. I’m auctioning the rights to that now, so they’ll see that before they see me attempt to do it from my own perspective, from my game.
On one of the main stream gaming sites, there’s criticism that the entire concept of “Blood On The Sand,” with you guys going down to a Middle Eastern country getting into fire fights is just a completely ridiculous concept. Do you have anything to say to people who say that?
It’s not even a Middle Eastern country, it may feel that way, when I shot what was supposed to be Iraq, it was in Morocco. “Blood Diamonds” might be considered a Middle Eastern look, and that was in Africa. A lot of different places look like the actual environment in the actual game but it might be far fetched but then that’s me avoiding you telling me that my game is so graphic that you feel like it’ll make kids go do something that there not supposed to.
Video games and Hip Hop have become very close, would you at all be interested in one day putting something together where you would represent other Hip Hop artist in the creation of their own video games?
A lot of that comes from the actual lifestyle because if they are taking tour buses, gaming becomes their biggest form of entertainment. When it comes to the airplane, with my publishing company, I did a deal with MTV Pocketbooks and Simon and Schuster, that came about because there is no magazine that could last from New York City to L.A.X. I started wanting novels written in a language that allows me to maintain my actual focus on it, written in the same language that we would speak to each other right now instead of this proper English that doesn’t have any slang or anything that directly ties or hooks me into the actual reading.
That was my whole idea of contributing to books. My reasons for being involved with games… My personal influence is by being surrounded by people who really enjoy it, is what got me into it. I’d love to chair for the things or opportunities of other artists from this actual route. I’m sure that THQ is a company that would be open to different things that we could make good business in.
What’s your number 1 system?
I’ve got a Nintendo Wii in my office. I’ve got the Wii Fit and all that. Inside the truck, I got the XBox 360. At the house I got all 3 of them. I got this big projector thing that puts this big 24 foot, the whole system of what’s his name, onto the… I got a racquet ball room in the actual house, with a big ass projection, so the kids sit there and play in the actual racquet ball room. Turn the lights out and then it turns into a big 24 foot video game system.