50 Cent (born Curtis James Jackson, 6.7.1975)
50 Cent is an American rapper whose albums Get Rich Or Die Tryin' and The Massacre have both achieved multi-platinum status.
50 Cent's Childhood
Curtis Jackson was born in the Queens suburb of New York to Sabrina Jackson, a drug dealer. She died when Curtis was 8, when he was sent to live with his grandparents. Despite a disadvantaged start in life, Curtis Jackson competed in the Junior Olympics as an amateur boxer in the mid-1980's. However, he began dealing drugs during the 1980's crack epidemic, aged 12.)Jackson was arrested in 1994 for selling cocaine to an undercover police officer. He was sentenced to three to nine years in prison but served only six months in an incarceration boot camp.
The nickname '50 Cent' was adopted as a metaphor for change. He took the name from a robber in the 1980s named Kelvin Martin, whose nickname was also 50 Cent.
In 2000, when he had quit dealing to pursue a music career, he was shot nine times.
50 Cent's Musical Career
50 Cent started out rapping in a friend's basement. When he was introduced to Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC, Jay taught him to count bars, structure songs and record tracks.
Jay produced his first record, though it was never released. In 1999, though, best-selling producers Trackmasters became interested in 50 Cent and signed him to Columbia Records. They recorded 36 songs in two weeks, half of which became the unofficially released album Power of the Dollar (2000). The controversial song 'How To Rob' earned him a support slot on Nas' tour.
50 Cent was then picked up by US rapper Eminem, who introduced him to Dr Dre, (who went on to produce 50 Cent's music) and signed him to Interscope Records, after he heard 50 Cent's debut album, Guess Who's Back?
Helped by Eminem and Dr. Dre, who produced his next album, 50 Cent became on the best-selling rap artists in the world. A new track, 'Wanksta' was included on the soundtrack to Eminem's film, 8 Mile and he also signed to Chris Lighty's Violator Management and Sha Money XL's Money Management Group.
His first commercial album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin' was released in 2003. The album debuted at number one in the Billboard 200 and sold 872,000 in the first four days alone.
Interscope Records granted 50 Cent license to set up his own label, G-Unit Records. G-Unit released tracks by Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck and later, rap veterans Mobb Deep. 50 Cent released his second commercial album in 2005. Entitled The Massacre, it sold 1.4 million copies in the first four days and again reached number one in the Billboard 200.
The third album by 50 Cent, Curtis was released in 2007. The album was said to be inspired by his life before becoming a famous rap artist. It debuted at number two in the Billboard 200 charts and his wealth was recognized by Forbes which placed him second behind Jay-Z in the rap industry.
50 Cent's Private Life
50 Cent has been involved in a well-publicised feud with rapper Ja Rule and his label Murder Inc. Records. Engaging in various 'disses' via the medium of their own mixtapes, 50 Cent claimed that the feud began when Ja Rule spotted 50 Cent with a man who had robbed him of his jewellery. Ja Rule, on the other hand, claimed that it stemmed from aa video shoot in Queens, because 50 Cent could not stand Ja Rule getting so much respect from the neighbourhood.
In 2005, 50 Cent went on to start a feud with G-Unit rapper The Game. He felt that The Game was disloyal for refusing to back G-Unit in their dispute with other rappers and was also trying to work with rappers that they were feuding with. 50 Cent dismissed the Game from G-Unit on Hot 97 radio. G-Unit attempted to enter the radio building and one of his associates was shot in the leg during the attempt. They eventually were reconciled, and many fans wondered if the whole debacle was a publicity stunt.
50 Cent now lives in Farrington, Connecticut in the former home of Mike Tyson. His son lives in Long Island with 50 Cent's ex-girlfriend. The Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut declared October 12 2007 "50 Cent Curtis Jackson Day."