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Business sense from 50 Cent?

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Rapper 50 Cent on the business of fear

"When you are willing to go further than the other guy you always prevail, you always end up on top."

50 Cent is certainly not the most obvious choice for an author of a business and life self-help book.

The more you are aware of your fate, the higher the probability you have a chance to live
50 Cent

The US hip hop artist shot to fame in 2003 with the release of debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin', and you might think that is the extent of his business philosophy.

What lessons, after all, are learned from a youth spent dodging bullets and dealing drugs on the streets of New York, that are of interest to legal businesses?

"The boss of the neighbourhood doesn't rue killing someone out as an option to expand business," he explains to Today presenter Evan Davis.

"In corporate America I've interacted with people who absolutely have intentions of killing the competition in a different way."

Dog-eat-dog

In The 50th Law, a book co-authored with Robert Greene, 50 Cent explains the rules if you want to get ahead in the gang and drug-centred life he grew up in.

50 Cent in performance
I fear I can't change and that I'm misunderstood.
50 Cent

Born Curtis James Jackson III in Southside Jamaica, Queens, New York City, the rapper's hustler mother died when he was just eight years old.

He was raised by his grandmother but quickly fell into the life of gang culture and drug dealing, only giving up life of an "entrepreneur" hustler after numerous arrests.

"You are in an environment where you meet aggression with aggression or you are deemed weak and the weak becomes the prey," he says.

These are the rules that led him to slash the face of a rival drug dealer and which in 2000, as a rising star in hip hop, saw him shot nine times in an attack that nearly took his life.

Far from persuading him to soften up, these experiences, he says, are the basis of his success.

"When you're in life threatening situations it makes you a little more conscious of death.

"The more you are aware of your fate the higher the probability you have a chance to live. So you're a little more free."

The rapper says he has no regrets over the way he dealt with his harsh upbringing But, given the opportunity, he says he would definitely have taken a different direction in life - perhaps an education in business school.

In 2003, at the age of 28, 50 Cent got his big break. He was signed by rapper Eminem's record label and released the world wide hit single In da Club. The following album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', became a global rap cross-over hit, selling millions of copies both in the US and around the world.

Now an international superstar and the businessman behind the multi-million dollar G Unit brand, the rapper still believes the fact he has stared death in the face gives him the edge in the boardroom.

"The core of my power in business situations is being the person with the least fear at the table," he says.

In da office

But many people have never experienced the death defying, dog-eat-dog world of New York streets. Does 50 Cent's "fear nothing" approach retain its power in more prosaic situations?

Eminem
Rapper Eminem signed 50 Cent to his own record label

Surprisingly, the hip hop star uses the example of a mundane staff meeting as the crucible of his attitude to life.

The person who knows the answer to a question, but sits in the staff room and watches as another person answers it, is just as in need of his advice as the street hustler or rising rap star.

The person who speaks up "deserves to be ahead of you in life because your fear of being wrong is not allowing you to create your value in the work place," he says.

The underlying message of 50 Cent's philosophy could not be clearer, and is not so much business advice as general advice in life - for a person to succeed you must face your fears head on, and never let the other person know you're afraid.

And even 50 Cent admits to having to face fears of his own.

"I fear I can't change and that I'm misunderstood. My confidence is mistaken for arrogance constantly.

"There are artists that can beat me at doing different things, but not at being me. Once the public embraces me and says Fiddy's cool, or I like 50 Cent, can't anybody beat me at doing that."




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