November 11th, 2011
05:06 AM GMT
New York (CNN) – I have never met anyone who was shot nine times at point blank range.
I wasn't sure what to expect from rapper 50 Cent. I went to interview him about his new energy drink Street King. 50 Cent has linked the product to the United Nations World Food Program, promising to donate one meal for every bottle sold. It is an ambitious goal, but then Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is an ambitious man.
Ambitious and, as I discovered, very nice. Yes, nice. In fact, it was hard to reconcile the scowling ripped rapper whose album “Get Rich Or Die Tryin'” went multi-platinum, with the soft-spoken, suit-wearing CEO sitting in front of me.
Jackson describes it as an evolution. "It has been a gradual process. At this point I need to show growth and do different things and be a strong impression on people's life without it relating to music. Music was the platform for me to get enough attention to matter. Now I can do things that are really effective."
He clearly enjoys the attention this new side of him is receiving. He has been doing a lot of interviews, including one with CNN's own Piers Morgan and he talked to me about the surprising feedback he is getting from rivals like Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz.
A lot of people are cynical about stars taking up causes to advance their own image. I have no way of knowing whether that played any role in 50 Cent’s initial motivation.
What I do know is that Jackson talks sincerely about the impact of visiting Africa and the desperation he saw and his desire to use his wealth and business savvy to make a difference.
He thinks the model for Street King, where profits are shared or directly linked with a cause or need, could be a new model for responsible capitalism.
Check out the interview and share your thoughts. Is this a model that could work in closing the gap between the haves and have-nots?
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