Yesterday MTV News was on hand to see 50 Cent meet Nelson Mandela. Today, it’s a trip to a platinum mine. Joseph Patel is not allowed to complain about his job. Ever.
50 Cent was supposed to do a 90-minute set last night in Johannesburg, but the people at the sold-out Coca-Cola Dome wanted more. So he and the G-Unit obliged, performing an extra 40 minutes, even taking requests (not that they were audible). Women threw their bras onstage, and 50 stripped down to his skivvies, just for a second.
Despite the late night, we were out the door early this morning, flying 45 minutes northwest of Johannesburg on a little private jet 45 to a region of the planet none of us ever thought we’d see. And then … more traveling: 40 kilometers by car and a journey 150 meters below the earth’s surface. The reason? Platinum mines. A day after meeting Nelson Mandela, 50 Cent wanted to learn about where his platinum plaques came from. (Kidding! Sort of.)
We changed into blue jumpsuits, packed some light gear and descended into the earth. Super-producer Nick Neofitidis and I shot a segment on 50’s spelunking, but Nick gets extra credit for blindly navigating tough underground terrain while still swashbuckling with the camera.
It was amazing, though, that even in this remote part of the country, 50 is still a star. I kinda get why he pushes that point in his lyrical battles with other artists; it’s gotta be intoxicating to be that recognized. The miners even played 50’s CD on the mineshaft soundsystem as we rode the chairlift down.
And not to be all stereotypical in my portrayal of Africa, but the above photo is part of a ceremony put on upon our arrival by the tribal leaders who own the surrounding land. Colorful!
We’re in Cape Town now. 50 and company are doing something super fancy with local rich people. Me? I found the only hipster dance party in town, DJ’d by DFA’s Tim Sweeney from New York. Crazy coincidence!