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50 Cent Bulletproof

You can't accuse hardcore rapper 50 Cent of hypocrisy when he says "get rich or die trying."

When we were delivering papers for some cash to buy North vs South, 50 was selling vials of crack. At school. From the age of twelve, 50 always had his eyes on the Benjamins. And it flowed his way - first via a $5000 a day crack business, then by building a huge underground reputation on mix tapes.

His breakthrough came when he was spotted by Eminem and smashed records left, right and centre with his first massive album, Get Rich or Die Trying. This year's follow up The Massacre sold over a million copies in four days stateside.

And like any good Rap mogul, the cashflow doesn't stop with the royalties. He brought along his own G-Unit, struck up a deal with Reebok to sell 50-endorsed trainers and even plasters his face all over a 50 Cent energy drink. And of course Fiddy was invited to feature in that Grand Theft Auto San Andreas game.

But 50 don't like to share the stage. He wants it all and Vivendi and developers Genuine Games are making the dream happen. In fact, the only surprise is that it's taken this long for his personal empire to encompass videogames.

The game might be all about the green but 50 does make a compelling anti-hero. In a rap-scene full of gun rhetoric, few have actually been through such genuine so much. Here's a guy who's been shot N-I-N-E times. Once in the face. And lived.

Not only has he done 'the crack dealing thing' he's so full of himself that gobbing off at established names like Jay-Z and Ghostfaced Killa got him dropped from his first label, dissed in public and beaten up.

His mouth runs so fast that he's only recently ended a feud with The Game, a bloke in his own G-Unit. 50 has an omnipresent bodyguard and wears a bulletproof jacket. Every. Single. Day. How many of you can say that, eh? EH? Not many. Not many at all.

So the background's there and Fiddy certainly is a 'character'. But this isn't a rags-to-riches story. It's more of a 'what if?' We grilled Andre Emerson, former Dead to Rights guru and now executive producer on this hip-hop blockbuster for gossip about the story.

With GTA San Andreas, 25 To Life and Snoop Dogg's Fear and Respect in production, hip-hop and gangsta games are hip as hell right now. Aren't they, Andre?

"This is not a 'hood' game," he says. "We aren't jumping on the bandwagon. Bulletproof is the definitive 50 Cent experience. It's a deep third-person shooter, with over three hours of past, present and exclusive 50 Cent and G-unit music - and tons of his music videos. It's the first must-have fusion of gaming, music and video."

Then Emerson adds, darkly: "This game will be 'M' rated and is intended for an adult audience." So Bulletproof is set to be a gaming/hip-hop playground with voiceovers and fan unlockables a-go-go.

Presumably Fiddy has been pretty involved then? "50 has been engaged since day one," Emerson confirms. "I've never seen anything like it. The idea for the game actually came from him and Jimmy (Lovine, Interscope records).

50 has done hours of voice recording, he is writing new music and freestyles and has been actively involved in the game's story, content and mechanics. He's amazing to work with."

Sweet. We struggle to imagine 50 setting down in front of his Mac wrestling with writer's block and trying to conjure up the backstories of characters, though. Who's penning this yarn?

"The story was inked by Emmy-Award winner, Terry Winter. Terry is an exec producer and writer for the legendary Sopranos series and also wrote the screenplay for 50's movie Locked and Loaded. The story for the game is a modern contemporary crime classic."

That's thoroughbred writing pedigree, dues paid, but prising details about actual missions from Andre was a little trickier. Especially since we forgot all of our gats.

"All of the 'missions' are tightly woven into the story, so we can't give too much away just yet. But 50 will be working with the G-Unit - (Lloyd) Banks, (Young) Buck and (Tony) Yayo."

And will Em and The Doc be appearing? "As Dre would say, 'Hell Yeah!'" Well, if you're gonna roll, you may as well do it with hip-hop's biggest, hardest, richest and gobbiest.

So what we're left with is how 50 Cent's life might have been had he not become one of the world's biggest hip-hop stars. After smoking a big fat bowl of, er, imagination. And the denouement? A violent, dark videogame-cum-hip-hop-show-off interactive experience.

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