50 Cent leaped at the chance to perform at last week's MTV concert tribute to American troops - because he's still haunted by his visit to Iraq in 2004.
The rap superstar took to the stage at New York's Nokia Theatre Times Square on Friday (24Oct08) for the network's A Night for Vets: An MTV Concert for the Brave - to raise awareness of a petition for veterans' rights.
Speaking backstage, he recalled his trip to war-torn Mosul, saying, "It was intense, man. There was an intensity there. A lot of (soldiers) write these death notes before they go on missions; they write these notes that they want their loved ones to read. ...They're in this environment where death is everywhere.
"A lot of the people I met (in Mosul) had been there since my first record came out - they'd been there since 2003 - and you could tell, man. There was an intensity there."
And it brought the former gang member back down to earth: "It was eye-opening. It was like, 'You think you've had a tough time? ...These people have a tough time.' They're in this environment that's more intense than anything you could imagine."