50 Cent talks about Power and his character Kanan

How 50 Cent Got Grimey With Kanan On Power

Ok hands up we’re addicted to Power – no we’re not fiending for global domination, we’re hooked into ‘Power’ on Starz the new TV drama executive produced by 50 Cent. Bringing diversity to the screens and catering to an often ignored audience, ‘Power’ has been an unexpected ratings hit in the U.S.

To entertain is to provoke emotions

Earlier this month, DJ Semtex spoke to 50 Cent about his involvement with Power, as an executive producer, on the music and as his character Kanan. 50 Cent confidently knew one thing outright – “People can beat me at a lot of things, they just can’t beat me at being me, if I make that hot, then its securing a space for myself within the culture.”

You’ve done the music thing, but now you’re killing me with the ‘Power’ show, I’m like a fiend trying to catch up, I don’t wanna go on Twitter until I’ve watched it. I don’t want to hear what anyones got to say. How is the show doing?

Its been amazing, for me the storytelling process, even when I tell in excerpts, different portions of my experience in the music, and then the television program is longform, you write out the whole concept and treatment of what its going to be and then they ask you like ‘do you have plans for season 1/2/3’ and all these things gotta be done in advance. So like when we went the first time to pitch the television show, me and Courtney Kemp, she’s a writer on Power, and the only other person that was involved at that point was Mark Canton and he was kinda missing through the creative part and came back and he’s done everything ‘300’ ‘Beat Street’, ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Under The Cherry Moon’ – Princes movies, he’s produced all kind of films. Being with him I knew he would understand what I was trying to do because I was trying to make a project that allowed music to speak for the actors at points.

Where the music plays in the background you kinda hear it and you know that it matches the emotion of the scene. Before, there’s a place for bad music, its television and something you wouldn’t play here is playing in the background in someones film. Its because they spent the money in the other areas before they get there for budgeting purposes and now this project is a bit different. You see it in another program that came out that successful, Empire and they focus on music and they had Timbaland.

There’s a lot of people that were comparing the two shows, but to me Empire is more like the black equivalent to ‘Dynasty’ and then I see ‘Power’ closer to the Sopranos.

Definitely I think its a little more graphic and with premium cable we can do real life.

How hands on were you with creating the characters?

From the very beginning. There was a point that I was Ghost because Courtney….it was like had been almost a year and a half and she was like I gotta go back to work, I had her working on a project and I was like yo we keep going over information and everything and I was like ‘I’ll play it, I’ll play Ghost, if you knew that immediately we’d get picked up by committing to playing the character’, and then when we went to go back to talk about it, to pitch it, I had created like 10 songs for the project, cos I was writing songs I felt were representations of the characters. So we talked about the project and then we pressed play, so it was easier for them to hear something that they added a different value to it. And it worked, cos from there on, she was off and running, she was more than ready.

How close is the character you play, ‘Kanan’ to 50 Cent?

Well look, it has tones of 50 Cent in it, he’s crazy. Me prior to music – not Kanan – I get people that they believe Kanan and they look at me and it feels good,so they go ‘man he was like that before’ and I’m like Nah! I had some involvement but not to that extent, he’s super grimey.

Every aspect, from the way he was plotting, to the part where the show opens and he was with the mom and the son’s downstairs, its pretty raw.

Thats a relationship that surpasses him, like ‘he’s like you the baby, you’re a kid and you know me and your mother obviously we had to get you here’. Its one of those things where he wasn’t really familiar with what our relationship was because in my background story between my relationship with Shawn, she had someone when our friendship developed, so its the thing where you make eye contact before you come over because she has a man and Shawn is a product of us and I took care of it. But Kanan is not the kind of person that would wanna have kids, to feed at his vulnerability.

50 Cent playing Kanan with his son Shawn
Father and Son ‘Kanan and Shawn’ on Power

Kanan’s gotta be one of the sickest bad guys, he’s grimey..

Yeah and its traditionally ‘street’ like old fashioned ‘street’, it’s like once we strong enough we take that corner. Cos’ Ghost is sophisticated, wearing a suit everyday , he’s almost got an identity crisis. Tommy, and it tones up Eminem’s life experience cos he grew up in a community where he’s the white guy that stands out but because he thinks you think he won’t do it, he’s really ready to do it. Cos over the years seeing people doubt him.

Kanan and Tommy on Power Starz 50 Cent
‘Kanan and Tommy’ on Power

Check out ‘Power’ – its not on terrestrial tv in the U.K yet but is available to buy digitally via Amazon Instant Video, Blinkbox, Google Play, Apple iTunes and Sony Entertainment Network.