Let me say at the outset that I’m not one of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s biggest fans.
I have never watched a single episode of Power, never watched Get Rich Or Die Trying and I’ve only ever bought one of his albums, Curtis – fuelled by my love of I Get Money and Ayo Technology. I will, however, get up and act a complete fool if In Da Club comes on the radio.
Jackson’s petty antics online are a major turnoff to me, so I try to avoid him at all costs. But, I am in love with his mind. So, even though he can be a bit of a Petty Crocker, there can be no denying that this man is a hustler and works hard for everything he has today.
I stumbled across Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter in my local Target store. The cover seemed a bit gaudy, but I have learned not to judge a book by its cover. Literally.
I stood there pouring through the first chapter and smiling in between sentences. Then, I slammed the book shut and headed for the register. I was buying this book.
Most people know Jackson from his hit show, Power or for the tens of millions of albums he’s sold, or even that much-talked-about-and-much-rapped-about deal with Vitamin Water that put millions in his bank account. But, I’m always interested in learning about where people started. And his start was at the bottom. In Southside Jamaica, Queens to be exact.
Those of us even vaguely familiar with Jackson’s rise to the top know that his childhood was marred with tragedy and disappointment. His mother was killed, he never knew his father and he was shot nine times, yet miraculously survived. And he addresses those themes in the book.
But, I was curious to learn how he made his millions, what mistakes he made and learned along his journey to the top and what was the genesis of his feud with his firstborn, Marquise. He discusses those things in depth, too. I won’t spoil it, but it was very very interesting.
The book details betrayal, feuds, jealousy, bankruptcy and the death of a longtime friend.
What impressed me greatly was Jackson’s transparency between the pages and his willingness to shed the braggadocious facade that tends to accompany most rappers.
The book opens with Jackson talking about the need to find fearlessness.
In the hip-hop world, fear is viewed as a weakness. So, many rappers walk around pretending to me unfazed by anything and everything. It was refreshing to read that Jackson not only feels afraid from time to time, but actually runs toward his fear.
He makes it very clear, though, that he is not bulletproof, but admits that he experiences fear as much as anybody else.
I Can’t Believe I Have So Much In Common With This Man
Despite my personal feelings for Jackson – a man I have never met – I sat down and read the book with an open mind. The first thing I figured is, we have absolutely nothing in common. But, 271 pages later, I realised that I couldn’t be more wrong.
Firstly, I had no clue that he was not much of a drinker. Nor does he smoke. If I were a betting woman, I would have thought he got tanked up every night. He doesn’t.
Jackson makes it clear that he prefers to be sober minded and he loves to exercise (ok, we don’t have that in common), so he can’t be hungover if he intends to get up early to work out.
He also doesn’t like depending on substances (weed and other drugs) to perform.
I appreciated the fact that he is serious about his business and is quick at handling internal problems. He demonstrates quite often that he has zero tolerance for foolishness and when he was touring with his group back in the day, he made it clear that he would put people off the tour bus if they got out of line.
Jackson addresses this in his own way by talking about the need to assemble a strong crew. He notes that betrayal is never as far away as one would think.
I realised that we had a lot in common, but I don’t want to insert spoilers, so you’ll have to read the book.
I Read This Book And Felt Like I Went To Business School
While reading Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter, I was reminded of a line from my favourite rapper, Biggie Smalls’ song, Unbelievable. The line goes, “Dumb rappers need teaching.” I mention that line only because it’s quite true. A lot of dumb rappers do need teaching.
They would do well to read a book like this to learn a thing or two about how to move through life. But, not just rappers. Anybody who is serious about elevating their lives and careers really ought to read this book.
After reading this book, I felt like I went to business school.
I found the book to be incredibly insightful, honest and entertaining. I also learned many tips and techniques that I plan to apply in my daily life.
If nothing else, you will learn that this Queens rapper is very strategic in most things that he does.
I have watched Jackson in interviews. He’s quite bright. One of the things I noticed very early on in several of his interviews, is his tendency to touch the interviewer’s forearm. He does it in an ever-so-slight way that is never obtrusive. I don’t know why I picked up on that.
It was only after reading this book that I discovered that he does it intentionally. He explained that move, I couldn’t help but smile.
I give this book two thumbs up and would encourage everybody who is a true hustler to buy it.
This Bahamian Gyal