50 Cent and the Upside of Being Bad

Commentator John McCann asks if hip-hop star 50 Cent proves that breaking the rules is more rewarding than following them. John McCann is a columnist for The Herald-Sun in Durham, N.C.

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ED GORDON, host:

Good behavior may have its rewards, but bad conduct may have perks, too. Commentator John McCann wonders what dictates a man's claim to fame, especially when it comes to rapper and hip-hop entrepreneur, 50 Cent. McCann weighs in on Fifty's rise to fame, in spite of his bad behavior.

JOHN McCANN reporting:

That's it. I give up. I mean, I guess it's like, if you can't beat them, join them. For the longest time, I've been hating on cats like 50 Cent - how they can be all thugged out and still make it in America, which goes against everything I was taught as a kid, about tucking my shirt in and keeping my pants pulled up, and all that.

Look at my wallet and look at 50 Cent's, and let me know if my daddy gave me some bad advice. I mean, I use my debit card and hustle home to deduct my daily receipts. 50 Cent swipes his card at the supermarket or McDonald's or somewhere, and he knows the money's in the bank.

Did I say McDonald's? Scratch that because I'm guessing 50 Cent ain't eating too many Big Macs. Dude's built like Terrell Owens, and it's paying off for Fifty. Or is it, Fitty? He's got his own grape-flavored vitamin water made by the Glaceau company, that I understand he part owns. And besides the fitness water, Fifty is part of a campaign waging war against childhood obesity, putting new meaning to his rap lyric where he talks about, I love you like a fat kid loves cake.

Oh, wait. There's more. Fifty's got a book deal. Some little fiction novel's due out next year that somebody's writing about his life, the guns, the money, the women, and you know Oprah's going to put it on the book club, and ching, ching. Man, 50 Cent's going to have to change his name to 50 Million.

A success story indeed by worldly standards. Nothing left for Fifty to do but put on one of those big robes and deliver the commencement address at some college, or maybe the local high school where you live. But it's Fifty who we want shaping our young people? I mean, are there mixed messages just because it's 50 Cent telling your kid to eat healthy?

Hey, give the man credit. While those other rappers are out there bragging about passing the Courvoisier and Cristal and sipping Scissor[ph], Fifty says he doesn't even drink. Maybe that alone's worth supporting his grape-flavored fitness water. Maybe that and his success is an example of what happens when you give folks a second chance, and show them some grace. But then again, maybe 50 Cent is a sign of slipping standards of behavioral excellence in a society that's rapidly losing its way.

I mean, should we be concerned when 50 Cent's the poster child for success. Now, earlier, I mentioned NFL bad boy Terrell Owens, who pitched a fit in Philly and got what he wanted from the Dallas Cowboys. See where one team got fed up with his demands and antics that kept disrupting the locker room, another team showed the brother some grace, gave him another chance - in other words, T.O. won, bad behavior and all.

Look at former Virginia Tech quarterback, Michael Vick, who seemingly had a rap sheet as long as one of his marvelous runs from scrimmage, yet he's landed a spot in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins. Meantime, we're constantly telling our kids to be a good sport, obey the law, because if you don't, nothing good's going to happen to you. Which is not to say nice guys finish last, it just means being bad has its perks.

GORDON: John McCann is a columnist for the Herald-Sun Time in Durham, North Carolina.

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