It’s said that superstar basketball players are hounded by more groupies than any of the stars in the American solar system. No-one is more desired than those lithe, hoop-shooting multi-millionaires. No-one, that is, apart from America’s most eligible you black bachelor, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson.
“You sure there ain’t a ball team in town?” laughs the bartender in the Hyatt Grand hotel in downtown Seattle, as he surveys the scene in his bar as the midnight hour approaches.
The place is full for a Tuesday night, it’s true. The bar manager is patiently going from one group and gladragged young girls and their male companion at each table to the next, checking ID. Every now and then, an underage girl is politely asked to leave the bar.
If you follow her out through the swing doors and into the hotel lobby, you’ll discover 30 or so more girl lounging around on the sofas, chatting while watching the lift monitors for movement from the 21st floor. If you keep walking and leave the building via the side entrance, you’ll come across 50 Cent’s tour bus.
50’s staying the night in the Hyatt between shows, but – just in case – there’s a motley gaggle of ladies here too, some of whom are chatting with a suitable cheerful driver.
“Hey,” calls our friend the barman to one of 50’s crew, “is 50 Cent coming down for a drink too?”
“Oh no, he’s otherwise engaged in his room,” replies a crew member, rolling his eye in the general upwards direction of room 2120. “Shit, he’s on lucky sonofa…”
“I’m the greatest/Something like Ali in his prime” – ‘Many Men (Wish Death)’, 50 Cent
His friend is right, 50 Cent is lucky. You have to be lucky to be shot nine times without dying, or to get by as a 12-year-old selling crack on the streets of New York. You need plenty of fortune to get away with running a crack house in Queens by your 18th birthday. You don’t leave prison in New York unscathed on more than one occasion without luck. And as any of 50 Cent’s enemies would declare, you don’t sell six million copies of your debut album in four months without being very, very lucky.
“It’s funny,” smiles 50 Cent, looking out over Seattle from a hotel suite on the afternoon of how show and speaking with a distinctive hissed drawl.
“The harder I work, the luckier I get. I believe consistency is the key to all success. I’ve always been consistent in everything I do, whether I’m hustling crack or now making records.”