Posted by Anthony CarboneApril 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm
People cluster and whisper excitedly because they’ve heard the news-50 Cent is on his way. They scan the south end of the large Las Vegas Convention Center, waiting eagerly as others join the throng of curious onlookers on the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) convention floor. The crowd parts way for Curtis Jackson. The multi-platinum rapper, actor, entrepreneur and mogul moves with a cool swagger, relaxed and self-assured, despite the commotion.
50 Cent is a busy man, and his appearance at SEMA is for more than just show. The night before the convention started, 50 unveiled the new Pontiac G8 surrounded by GM executives, automotive suppliers and journalists in a ballroom at the Wynn Las Vegas. He was a consultant on this custom edition alongside Will Castro from Unique Autosports, who provided the finishing touches for 50′s vision, and he casually spoke of the distinctive qualities of the car. “I had an opportunity to present something to the public
that hadn’t been seen before, so that was exciting,” he explains.
50 added the G-Unit flavor to his G8 with a Spies Hecker Torch Red exterior paint job offset by a black stripe in the shape of the Pontiac dart. Seven spokes twinkle on 22-inch NC Forged chrome wheels, suited up with low-profile Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires. Smoked taillights, windows tinted with Lumar film and a Borla exhaust give the G8 a menacing edge.
In the cabin, black leather seats are accented with red leather inserts and embroidered 50 Cent and Unique Autosports logo on the seat headrests and floor mats. 50′s sound system is something to be reckoned with, as the 800-Watt JBL audio system, complete with amps and a subwoofer, is perfect to bump any of his three previous albums.
At SEMA, he’s also talking about the Pontiac G6 GXP Street Edition he designed from the Pirelli Booth. “The G6 is the street edition, and that will be out shortly,” he explains. “I actually had an opportunity to work with it and [the G8] one, too.” Pirelli executives are eager to meet 50, and he approaches it nonchalantly, with an endearing smile for fans and businessmen, alike.
50 Cent knows the power of his words, and he flaunts that influence with flair. “I like to have things that everyone else doesn’t have yet,” he says. “I want to have it first. I’m a trendsetter.” He predicts other G-Unit members will ride the G8. “When it actually hits, they’re going to want their own,” 50 Cent explains. “They’ll do it differently because they’ll want to make it special to their style.”
With 50 Cent on board, Pontiac hopes to reap the results of his support. Even so, it’s not a random association for 50, or if it’s so, he’s found a way to reconcile it with aspects of his identity, before the taping of his video “Amusement Park” that features the G8 and the G6 GXP. “My grandparents and my mom had Pontiacs,” he explains, authenticating the custom job. “Everything that I’m around is a reflection of my style. Because I don’t drink, I haven’t supported alcoholic beverages. I stay close to things that are actually relevant to my lifestyle. That car is exciting.” He’s enthusiastic about the performance of the 500-horsepower LSX 427 engine, also used on the Corvette Z06.
But don’t think 50 won’t drive the Pontiac because he gets chauffeured around”…he likes to drive. “They think I can’t drive, but I can drive,” he asserts. “I be racing on the highway, don’t come near me playing. I’ll try not to get in trouble, but you know, I’m into what I’m into.”
50 likes to have choices that’s why he has a couple of cars to choose from when at his primary residence in Connecticut or in Los Angele’s, where he spends much of his time. “I have five vehicles because I don’t actually stay in one place; I have a car that stays in Los Angeles, but I didn’t buy the home that I was looking at out there, so it stays at the Beverly Hills Hotel.”
But back to his Pontiac. He’s taken the G8 out for at least one spin on the set. “I got the new G8,” he confesses. “It has 550 horsepower. I tore a pair of Pirellis up already. We were at a video shoot, and they brought the car there for the first time, and I had a chance to drive it. It had power.”
There’s no telling where he might turn up next after backing a NASCAR team. “I haven’t raced on the track. I’m fitting to start learning how to drift,” he hints. And, yes, a man who brags about the lightning speed of his Bentley Flying Spur or $400,000 Lamborghini is genuinely enthused by an affordable American sports car. “That’s as fast as you can actually get with that kind of power that’s affordable, that’s under $30,000,” 50 says. “You can match it up with the Gallardo. Actually, it’s been tested, and it’s 50 horsepower over the Gallardo. I can drive the G8 and hold on to $370,000 and spend it on something else.”
50 Cent didn’t get rich by just trying. It also takes plain old common cents.