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IFA 2012: ITProPortal interviews SMS Audio CEO 50 Cent

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is already a household name. With a string of hit records to his name, it's not unreasonable to query why he made such a high-profile appearance at IFA 2012 (opens in new tab) last week - unless he's a particular fan of next-gen tumble dryers.

In fact, he was in Berlin to promote his signature audio line, SMS by 50. Produced by G-Unit Brands affiliate SMS Audio, his appearance highlighted the full European rollout of the product line, which was launched in the UK earlier in the year. Now, it is set to be available in a wider range of colours – including red, yellow, and purple to complement the current black, silver, and white iterations – as well as being set to drop on continental markets before Christmas.

The SMS Audio line is headlined by the wireless Sync over-ear headphones, which retail for £299.99 in the UK and feature a custom 40mm driver, 50ft wireless range, and micro USB charging cable. Battery life is reported to stand at 17 hours on a full charge, with users able to deploy up to four sets per audio source. Passive noise cancellation and 16-bit CD quality digital lossless sound are the flagship headphone's other key specs.

(opens in new tab)During our time at IFA, ITProPortal enjoyed an exclusive interview with 50 Cent, and he seemed particularly enthused by the future of SMS Audio.

In particular, he pointed to the new-generation of 84in, 4K-ready smart TVs being flaunted at the show (opens in new tab) as an example of how technology continued to offer up exciting new possibilities for consumer electronics.

"I believe all our products are up to standard. The Sync is the product that's more advanced, but they're all set apart from the competition. [But] there's always something bigger and better to do for us. You walk around the show, you see that TVs are getting bigger and smaller at the time," he said.

"You came up with the concept in conversation of headsets being able to stream music in. That's not rocket science. This is what we're doing as far as the home entertainment systems. It's just how do you provide the comfort the home system would provide to some one that is out-and-about? Offering the top notch, best musical experience – that's what would be the thought process for how do you move forward, for what's next," 50 added.

The SMS Audio portfolio also features the Street on-ear headphones - similar to Sync but lacking wireless connectivity - and an in-ear iteration of Street which comes with an 11mm driver and an Apple-friendly control mic, with the two products retailing at £199.95 and £99.95 respectively.

Jackson was also keen to highlight the way his commercial enterprises are tied to charitable initiatives, with the SMS Audio range partnered with US hunger-relief organisation Feeding America to provide 250 meals to needy people for every purchase.

"I chose hunger, because once you do the research you find it's not a Third World issue, it's a world issue," the hip-hop star said.

He continued: "If you have someone die of cancer, you can have it go to cancer research. Don't pick the exact same thing that I'm interested in."

Indeed, corporate responsibility emerged as a focal point of the latter part of our interview with Mr Jackson.

"You can't re-programme people to care more about other people than they care about themselves. When you see Occupy LA, Occupy New York, Wall Street, all these different things going on - it says that people are conscious and feel like major corporations don't care about them," Jackson opined.

Microsoft and specifically its former CEO Bill Gates, he claimed, stand as an example of the type of good that can be done by enterprise.

"That level of success, they're huge philanthropists at that point. The people who resonate the strongest in their absence - that were stronger in absence than they were in presence – [it's] because they've helped so many. The aura becomes brighter and builds the perception of them, when you've helped a lot of people," he concluded.

It's all a far cry from his 'gangsta' stage persona, and 50 Cent comes across as an approachable, clued-up individual interested in both technology and the causes he is involved with.

We're hoping to get our hands on a pair of the Sync headphones to review shortly, so stay tuned for more from SMS Audio and, just maybe, its illustrious CEO.

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James is a freelance editor, journalist, and writer with 10+ years experience in digital media, SEO and news writing. He has produced content on a number of Future sites, including TechRadar, ITProPortal, Tom's Guide, and T3, and was Senior Staff Writer at ITProPortal.