FARMINGTON, Connecticut.Â Rapper Curtis Jackson, better known as "50 Cent," says he always gets sentimental at Christmas time, which may explain why his first release of holiday tunes--"A Happy Gangsta Xmas"--is winning him fans beyond his usual base of hard-core hip hop aficionadoes.
"I got a little guy, you know?" Jackson says of hisÂ son, Marquise.Â "Christmas is for kids, that's what I tell the mall cops when I go shopping."
Jackson's street-hardened image undergoes a makeover on the album, with wistful tunes thatÂ deck the holiday season in sentimental trimming.Â "Sorry I Have to Blow You Away On ThisÂ Holiest of Days" is an anthem to those who, like theÂ cocaine dealerÂ Jackson used to be, must work on Christmas.Â "I feel for guys at gas stations and toll takers on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge," Cent says.Â "If I was mayor I'd give 'em all the day off."
Jackson takes his listeners on a joyous ride through his home turf of Brooklyn on "We'll Be Pistol Whippin' Santa After Carjacking His Sleigh," a rollicking tale of a posse that stops Santa on his way to Manhattan and distributes high-end toys from F.A.O. Schwartz to children from the ghetto.Â
Jackson, who was shot in the face at close range in 2000, says he had time to think about the meaning of life as he lay in the hospital for thirteen days recovering from his wounds.Â "I said to myself, Fitty, you all the timeÂ rappin' about ho's.Â Maybe you could do an album of Christmas tracks with ho-ho-ho's."
Is there a possibility that Jackson could go mainstream after such a collection of easy listening music?Â "I'llÂ be keeping it real," says the rapper with the perennial scowl on his face, "but I gotta think about my career.Â I may go on Sesame Street and have it out with Oscar the Grouch."
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection "Our Friends, the Rappers."