In May, 50 Cent announced that POWER’s upcoming sixth season would be its final. It seemed like perfect timing. The show’s ratings rose during its first four seasons but had a noticeable dip last year. The show’s creator, Courtney Kemp, once told us to ignore linear numbers given the on-demand nature of its audience, but I disagree. Linear ratings are imperfect, but still a healthy proxy of viewership. If ratings dip more than 10%, it’s hard to blame that solely on the media landscape (especially when Game of Thrones rose in ratings each season). Plus, ending a show before it drops off too far is never a bad thing.
But just this week, the G-Unit frontman announced via Instagram, “I Changed my mind POWER is not going to be over after season 6. This shit is [too] good.”
By now, we should take things that 50 Cent says with the tiniest grain of salt possible. He’s a habitual troll who is hard to take seriously. Shock value is the drug that fuels his brand and his persona. It’s driven his business model for the past two decades. But this is one of those times I (admittedly) believe 50. When it comes to financial opportunities, he milks every penny possible—usually to a fault, and well past the point when he should call it quits.
When Ja Rule’s career was well past its run, 50 continued to drop more diss tracks. When America fell in love with his gangsta rap persona, he stayed true to it even when the culture changed. Even after his 2007 Curtis album got beat out in a friendly competition against Kanye West’s Graduation, he still sold the gangsta image well into the early 2010s.
When initial drops for first G-Unit sneakers took off, 50 and Reebok increased supply to try and match demand, but instead they flooded the market. And when his Den of Thieves movie dropped last year and failed to meet its lofty projections, he still hyped the movie like it was Menace II Society. (I could go on, but you get the point).
Curtis Jackson is a creature of excess. Always has been, always will be. But his approach is most effective with a counter-balance that can check his ego and ambition with pragmatism.
In POWER’s case, that counter-balance should be STARZ. But STARZ is in a precarious position. POWER is the network’s most-watched show by a good amount. From a social media perspective, it’s the only show that garners social media buzz. If POWER ends, the network–which is now owned by Lionsgate– would be in search of a cornerstone franchise to rely on.
If POWER was on HBO or Netflix, the show would have ended by now. But it’s placement on STARZ gives the showrunners a bit more leeway. A couple of months ago, 50 Cent did say that “I got 4 spin off shows coming so don’t trip.”
We won’t trip, 50. STARZ might trip until the network finds content that can make it feel comfortable to move on. Or until POWER gets the Emmy award recognition that 50 Cent desires. But we won’t trip.
Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion Swap Content Strategies on Instagram Live (full video on YouTube)
This weekend, Nicki and Meg did an IG Live video session where they big upped each other and dropped lessons on what works (and what doesn’t work). Both rappers talked about how their polished songs can often pale in comparison to the popularity that their freestyles and off-the-cuff tracks that they release. There’s an element of mixtape/album content notion that I wrote about last month with my update on Desus & Mero, but it’s broader than that. The more that fans are bought into someone’s public persona, the more likely they are to value the raw output. Nicki and Meg both have passionate fanbases. It’s a good problem to have.
Cash Money Settles Lawsuit over Missing Drake Profits (Billboard)
In the least surprising news ever, Cash Money Records was in a lawsuit for not paying a business partner. “Aspire Music Group, which signed Drake in 2008, had claimed the label failed to pay its due share from the superstar’s first six albums.”
As I wrote in November, this is how Cash Money operates. If you want to get paid by Birdman, you need to lawyer up. It’s a bit harder to push around music publishers than an aspiring artist, so the settlement is not surprising.
Lizzo: The Tiny Desk Concert (NPR)
The ever-talented Lizzo came through “this tiny ass desk” for one of NPR’s regular Tiny Desk Concerts. She performed the late bloomer hit “Truth Hurts,” “Juice,” and “Cuz I Love You.” The well-timed performance should help boost tickets for her tour this fall.
Over time, NPR Tiny Desk has become a platform for up-and-coming musicians. For every performance by Lizzo, Adele, and T-Pain, there are several lesser-known acts who participate in Tiny Desk’s Contest for the opportunity to get put on. It’s still relatively small as an “influencer” in music, but there’s an opportunity to grow this. The viewership numbers are drastically different between up-and-coming acts. If big acts collaborated with “contest winners” who did collaborations or covers, it could truly put the rising acts on.