Can’t you see the resemblance?
While I can’t claim to be the biggest fan of Mr. Curtis Jackson, I do have to laugh at his recent efforts to increase his publicity. What is 50’s motto? If you can’t beat them, join them. After the recent Tony Yayo smacking a 1st grader incident, you had the usual spotlight vultures calling for 50 to be banished to Siberia while they throw Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and The Massacre into a pile, douse it with gasoline and cook some smores. Does 50 get upset? Hell no! He registers the website ban50cent.com.
There is no such thing as bad publicity. One of my heroes,Mr. Andy Kaufman, knew this. He wrestled women, tested peoples’ patience, and created a character, Tony Clifton, whose sole purpose was to instigate and get a negative reaction. Kaufman himself was actually banned from the show SNL after viewers were allowed to call in and vote on his fate. According to the website The Life and Times of Andy Kaufman, the real story is such:
During the previous week Andy had been cut from the show. He and Dick Ebersol engaged in a loud, nasty argument in the hallway outside of Studio 8H. At the beginning of the next show (November 20, 1982), Ebersol personally came on stage to announce that viewers would be able to vote to decide if Andy Kaufman should be forever banned from SNL. Many of the cast and crew were divided over whether Kaufman was being treated terribly or just getting what he deserved. The phone-in vote and Kaufman’s lifetime ban were all conceived by Andy who pitched the idea to Ebersol weeks prior to the hoax. Andy spent the week worrying over how the vote would go, but when he lost, kept his word and never returned to SNL again.
50 needs to take it a step further and follow Kaufman’s lead. Pitch a special to a network where viewers call in a number which charges 1 dollar a text and vote on 50 being banned from hip-hop forever. If he wins, he continues rapping. If he loses, he leaves hip-hop be and continues to pitch vitamin water, sneakers and movies. If 50 can get as many voters as Kaufman then perhaps he can put some of that money back in his wallet that he lost on Mobb Deep and the rest of his G-Unit crew.
Many fans were and perhaps still are oblivious to the fact that Curtis Jackson was not the first to carry the moniker 50 Cent and pretty much pulled a MC Gusto. Curtis took his name from the infamous nutcase Kelvin Martin aka 50 Cent from Brooklyn, who would have stuck up his own grandmother if she had more than a pocket full of silver. Curtis liked the fact that 50 Cent ran around putting fear into everyone’s hearts until he got his ass killed. 50 stated, ” I took the name 50 Cent because it says everything I want it to say. I’m the same kind of person 50 Cent was. I provide for myself by any means.”
According to Bob Zmuda, the main inspiration for the character of Tony Clifton came from another loon who was simply referred to as Mr. X in Zmuda’s book “Andy Kaufman Revealed.” Mr. X was later revealed to be the famous screenwriter Norman Wexler who penned Saturday Night Fever and one of my all time faves, Serpico. Zmuda described working as an assistant for the psychotic Mr. X who despite not sticking up drug dealers a la Kelvin Martin, did randomly harass people on the street and subject them to humiliating situations. One excerpt from the book described Wexler as being so gone that he took a dump in clear view of others in an airport. When cats would get upset Mr. X would simply tell Zmuda to break out the briefcase of cash that they rolled with. According to Zmuda, Mr. X played a large part in the formation of the Tony Clifton character and his obnoxious personality.
KINGS OF BEEF
Andy Kaufman was the king of beef in his day. He was so gully that he had beef with himself! Tony Clifton constantly would rave that Kaufman was a thief and threaten to sue Andy for living off his fame. Andy twisted the ladies into pretzels, dissed the South before Ghostface made it trendy, got into the ring with Jerry Lawler and even created a fake beef that resulted in him getting bitchslapped on the David Letterman show. Talk about dedication! Rather than make audiences laugh at predictable BS he chose to antagonize them and push them to the limit. There was no “keeping it real” with Kaufman because reality was lost on the audience during his elaborate displays and maybe even lost on Kaufman himself.
50 Cent has had beef with everyone and their mother. Nas, Ja Rule The Game, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, AZ, and Cam’ron can all say they have felt the wrath of 50’s disses, which he tends to throw out without any real reason. Does 50 really have an issue with everyone he talks about or is it simply an elaborate hoax designed to sell more records and create a buzz amongst fans. Curtis has yet to get piledrived by Jerry Lawler, but this is simply because he is a bit more image focused than Kaufman. The Ban50Cent movement has me hoping that 50’s sense of humor will continue to emerge and he will hone it like a Jedi. In the recent video “Hold On” 50 dissed Cam’ron in a monologue that rivaled some of Kaufman’s videos which demeaned and poked fun at Lawler. In my opinion, 50 doesn’t even really need to rap anymore because his rant at the end of Young Buck’s video is some funny shit and shows that he could have a future in stand up comedy. I can see Curtis on stage now talking about your favorite rapper and their girl.