50 Cent started drug dealing because he was too young to get a regular job.

The 'Crimewave' rapper became a crack dealer in New York aged just 12, but never took drugs himself because he felt he would become addicted and end up dead.

He said: "I sold drugs and I was in a situation where there weren't many options available to me - I was so young that working wasn't an option so that's when I was dealing, when I was 12."

When asked if he ever experimented with substances himself, the 34-year-old hip-hop star told BANG Showbiz: "No because I'm obsessive. I do things to an extreme. I know this about myself, I'm an extremist.

"I wouldn't get high, I would get extremely f***ing high. I'd probably get so high I probably wouldn't come back if I fell into that kind of space. I know myself enough to know that I got to stay away."

After being arrested for offences related to drug dealing in 1994 the rapper, aged 19 at the time, avoided between three and nine years in jail by spending seven months stay in a youth 'shock incarceration' boot camp in upstate New York.

50 Cent is currently starring in British gangster film 'Dead Man Running', and is releasing his album 'Before I Self Destruct' next month.