DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – 50 Cent wants to get kissed or die tryin’ at Daytona.
The rapper was back for Daytona 500 weekend a year after he tried to plant an awkward smooch on Fox reporter Erin Andrews.
He failed to connect _ but 50 Cent has big plans for his follow up.
“I was looking forward to kissing somebody,” 50 Cent said Saturday.
He didn’t have to look far. 50 Cent shared a stage with Swan Racing drivers Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman.
“I’m going to kiss Cole,” 50 Cent said.
“Only if I win,” Whitt responded.
50 Cent, who launched an ultra-successful, six-times platinum debut with “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” in 2003, was at Daytona to celebrate his latest business deal. He brought his headphones and audio line into NASCAR via a partnership with Swan Racing.
The rapper _ born Curtis Jackson _ will have branding for his SMS Audio line on both of Swan Racing’s cars for Sunday’s Daytona 500. The logos will also be on Kligerman and Whitt’s uniforms, and the drivers will be featured on Swan-branded SMS Audio headphones.
Kligerman took 50 Cent for a wild spin around Daytona in the pace car and hit 135 mph early in the day.
“I didn’t know a Camry could do that!” 50 Cent said.
Kligerman, who went airborne and landed on the roof in his first full Daytona 500 practice, kept 50 Cent and the car on four wheels. He was thrilled to be associated with one of his favorite artists. He said his favorite 50 Cent song is “How To Rob.”
“That was the one in high school a lot of my friends talked about all the time,” Kligerman said. “But for pump-up song, I know you’ve heard this a lot, but `Many Men.'”
This was just the warm up. Who knows what’s in store for race day?
In the strangest part of the buildup to last year’s Daytona 500, 50 Cent brought back memories of Joe Namath’s awkward attempt to plant one on Suzy Kolber when he tried the same move with Andrews on pit road.
She turned her head one way, then the other, only allowing the “Candy Shop” rapper to get a peck on the cheek.
“I wanted to kiss her, man,” 50 Cent said. “She handled it amazingly.”
He’s such a NASCAR fan, 50 Cent might be willing to spend some big bucks and invest in team ownership.
“I want to belong here. I like it,” he told The AP. “I want to have ownership in a team. Someone should look forward to me investing in a team. I just like it. The energy of the actual racing is cool.”
He’s been busy with his day job.
After battling with his major label for years, 50 Cent has decided to become an independent artist. He left his longtime record label, Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records, and Eminem’s imprint, Shady/Aftermath.
The Grammy winner and his G-Unit Records have signed a distribution agreement with Caroline, the independent label at Capital Music Group. Capitol is one of the many labels that are part of Universal Music Group.
Jackson is an admitted former crack dealer turned rapper who has built an empire beyond entertainment. He invested early in Vitamin Water and has expanded his business interests into clothing and now audio equipment. Going independent was just another business decision.
“I can make deals now that I couldn’t make under that structure,” he told The AP. “On the brand extension, it’s obvious I’ve been the leader in that actual area. When I fell in love with hip-hop culture, it was actually the opposite, it would be selling out. To be an artist and be associated with a major corporation was a crossover. I had enough of a bad-boy image at that point to do what I wanted to do and knew it was bigger business-wise.”
50 Cent is about ready to drop his next album, “Animal Ambition.” The first songs he plans to release are called “Don’t Worry About It,” and “Smoke.”
Smoke, like Tony Stewart?
“Nah, this one was produced by Dr. Dre.”
Dr. Dre produced songs on 50 Cent’s new album, perhaps triggering the latest hip-hop rivalry: Which rapper has the freshest headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre or SMS Audio?
“I’m listening to mine, he’s listening to his,” 50 Cent said, laughing.
Before he left the DIS media center, 50 Cent met actor Gary Sinise of “Forrest Gump” fame and yelled, “Run Forrest!” before they shook hands.
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