At one time i would have named Will Smith, er, Fresh Prince, Queen Latifah, Jay Z or even Ice Cube. But after recent events, I'm going with 50 Cent. Despite the arrogance he displays at times, you can't deny that this man can and has capitalized off every situation (That we know of) that he is involved in! Whenever he is scheduled to release an album, he gets on his marketing and publicity grind. This man doesn't even really need a publicist, he does a splendid job all on his own!
Let me show you why I've come to the conclusion that Curtis Jackson is The Smartest Rapper. After being on Columbia Records and getting nowhere, he gets shot multiple times and lives, thus setting up a career that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. 50 uses that to cement his 'legend' status immediately. His first 'official' debut, 'How to Rob', sets off some hurt feelings as he basically tells us how he would rob industry cats and even Jay-Z takes notice by saying this one line in one of his songs, 'I'm about a dollar, what the fuck is 50 Cent?' To me, this was one of the funniest rap songs recorded. If you've never heard the song, I suggest you find it. My only disappointment with that song is that he promised a sequel and yet, still no 'How To Rob 2'. I would LOVE to hear what 50 would say today!
Now 50 took a road that, although others before him tried, no one would have imagined having the impact that it did, which was the mixtape route. He built up his buzz to a point where he was recognized for his hustle and eventually signed by his 'favorite white boy', Eminem, thus also earning the backing and support of the elite Dr. Dre and the mighty Interscope Records.
50's first 'real' beef was with Ja Rule, who was riding a great wave of success at the time 50 started taking potshots at him and basically blaming Ja and Irv Gotti for him getting shot. 50, to this day, takes credit for Ja's 'downfall' because whenever he did go at Ja, he ended up taking whatever shine Ja had and stealing it from him. Ja Rule has not been the same since!
He uses the publicity machine of starting beef to gain the attention that no label or publicist can generate and get the buzz that it gets in preparation for his album dropping. Examples: Starting beef with Fat Joe and Nas, simply because they recorded a song with his arch-nemesis, Ja Rule. His beef with former G-Unit soldiers, The Game and recently, Young Buck, both, who coincidentally, didn't grow up or come up with 50 Cent as current soldiers, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo. Taking steps to embarrass and humiliate former members of his crew is something he has perfected. The Cam'Ron beef that even had 50 causing whatever beef Cam was having with Dipset members, to escalate because of 50 cosigning Jim Jones. Of course, his current beef with Rick Ross and you see how far he is taking it and unless Rick Ross literally kills him, Rick is already at a loss!
And who can forget the most important and so far, the best marketing strategy 50 has utilized, the 'showdown' with Kanye West when both released their CDs on the same day and 50 threatening to retire if he is outsold by Kanye. In my opinion, he did both of them a favor by issuing the challenge and making people gain interest and choosing sides to generate even more sales than either one would have gotten if this 'plan' wasn't carried out.
And let's not forget the Vitamin Water investment and endorsement. Not saying he had any clue that Coca Cola was gonna buy the beverage company, but because of the financial stake he placed in the product, although the actual amount was never substantiated, he still walked off with many millions.
And who would have thought that ThisIs50.com would be as popular and relevant as it is today? The film company he has started, his own autobiographical movie and the fact that he has even beat his baby's mother's multi-million dollar lawsuit just proves that this man is either VERY lucky or a smart rapper, businessman, person.
Hate him or love him, this man IS a very smart one!