He's making another rap album, and he says he's just two songs away from its completion. He loves to sound off on the state of hip-hop, and he talks about his rivals with aplomb. He still lives in an 18-bedroom house.
But believe it or not, Curtis Jackson, better known as rapper 50 Cent, is in the midst of reinvention. 50 Cent the rapper is growing into 50 Cent the philanthropist.
A few months ago, he released Street King, an energy shot drink that donated a portion of its proceeds to the United Nations Food Program, and on Monday night, he debuted two sets of headphones.
The Sync by 50 and Street by 50 headphones, built by SMS Audio, will use a portion of their proceeds to feed the hungry. Each unit is pricey - the Streets retail for $299.99 at SMSaudio.com and the wireless Syncs sell for $399.99 - but for every pair sold, SMS Audio will provide up to 250 meals through Feeding America.
It hardly seems in character for a rapper who debuted with an album called "Get Rich or Die Tryin" in 2003. But Jackson, now 36 years old, insists that it was all part of his plan.
He says he needed to build his reputation first and follow his own ambitions, but eventually, he planned to give back.
"I'll be honest with you," he tells the Daily News, "I've had these intentions for a long time. At the time (in 2003), I wasn't supposed to expose them to the public. When your initial presentation is the largest-debuting hip-hop album ever, a fool immediately makes a change to that (persona). No, you offer something that has similar success.
"Now, I'm at a point when I'm successful," he says. "When you look around, you can't see too many things you want that you don't have. Then you think about it, you say, 'What do I want that I don't really have?' Sometimes, it takes millions of dollars, or billions of dollars, then it's time."
And so it was three years ago for 50 Cent. In 2008, he toured South Africa with fellow rapper G-Unit. The experience wasn't supposed to impact him the way it did, he said, but he saw enough poverty in the nation to wonder about the United States.
"I'm thinking I have 18 bedrooms," he says. "I can only sleep in one bed."
Later, he would hear about Tom's Shoes, a California-based company that donates one pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair it sells. It was a brilliant idea, Jackson thought, but it made little sense.
"People can't eat shoes," he says with a smile.
And that prompted him to approach SMS Audio in 2009. The small audio company agreed to work with Jackson to build headphones - hey, Beats by Dr. Dre was just starting to take off back then - and two years later, Street and Sync by 50 were born.
The headphones themselves are better than that ever-popular Beats line - or at least that's what Jackson claims. He says he played a hands-on role in their development, and he promised that the wireless pair (the 400-dollar Syncs) will have sharper clarity than Monster's recently released Beats Wireless Bluetooth unit.
His Syncs don't utilize Bluetooth, but they rely on something called Kleer technology.
"It's 16-bit lossless sound," he raves. "It's way better (than Beats Wireless)."
Whether that is true or not remains to be seen; the headphones were just released on Monday. But Jackson only cares so much about their sales and their ability to compete with the powerful Monster line - and the venerable Bose and Sennheiser headphone units - anyway.
He says he's far more interested in feeding the hungry, even if it costs him his street cred and eradicates his thuggish former drug dealer persona.
"I'm supposed to be the bad guy, right?" he says. "But if I'm the bad guy, who's the good guy? Because I don't see anybody else making these efforts.
"I'm fine to be the good guy."