50 Cent spent much of his early life yearning for a record deal with one of the major labels. After a run with Universal-backed Interscope that began in 2003 and saw him sell over 30 million albums, he’s spent much of the past few years itching to leave.
Yesterday, he got his wish: he’s departing the label that launched his career to forge ahead as an independent artist. He has signed a worldwide distribution deal with Caroline/Capitol/UMG for G-Unit Records and his own releases, beginning with Animal Ambition, due out on June 3rd.
“It’s freedom to invest in your own ideas,” he told FORBES in his first interview since the news broke. “If ever I had a horse that I was betting on at the track, I’d like to be the horse. Let it be me, goddammit, because I’m going to run as hard as I can.”
The timing of 50’s split with Interscope comes as a bit of a surprise, given that he still owed the label another album. Artists rarely get out of their deals early without paying some sort of fee—five years ago, Jay Z famously bought back the last album he owed Universal for $5 million (and later sold it for $10 million)—but 50 says he didn’t have to fork over any cash.
“I’m a special case and situation,” he explains. “It’s also because of the leverage of having the strong relationships with Eminem and Dr. Dre. They don’t want to me to be uncomfortable. They value our friendship to the point that they would never want [to jeopardize] it over that little bit of money.”
Visit FORBES to read the full article and watch his new video “Funeral”, directed by Eif Rivera, below.