Curtis James Jackson III grew up in neighborhood known as
South Jamaica, located in Queens, New York. Under
poverty-stricken circumstances, his mother was murdered in her
home in a failed drug deal which lead to the rapper being raised
by his grandparents. Immersed by the drug trade, the rapper
began hustling his native neighborhood under the name of "Boo
Boo." This reputation helped build 50 Cent a large following in
New York before ever signing a major record deal.
Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC detected talent in the rapper and signed him to his label, for a brief time. After leaving Jam Master Jay, 50 Cent began working with hip-hop producers the Track Masters. While signed to Columbia Records, his career took off after the release of the successful, but controversial single "How to Rob". This single was an ode to robbing a number of industry rappers. The next single, "Ghetto Qu'ran", led to a feud with a drug kingpin known as Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, founder a gang known as the "Supreme Team." The song goes indepth about the business of the drug trade and exposed the names of many in the business. The debut album Power of the Dollar was shelved due to the controversies surrounding the rapper, and also lead to the infamous shooting and feuds with numerous rappers affiliated with McGriff.
After releasing mixtapes independently, Eminem showed interest in working with the rapper. When Eminem brought this to Dr. Dre's attention, it contributed to 50 Cent signing a deal with Interscope Records. 50 Cent was also the first to sign onto a joint effort between Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. Under Interscope, the label marketed 50 Cent as the "real deal". The rapper's appearances on the 8 Mile Soundtrack, with the hit single "Wanksta" immediately went into heavy rotation on BET, MTV, and many radio stations across the country.
In its first week of release, 50 Cent's debut "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" sold 872,000 copies. The album was certified gold in its first week and platinum the next, and it broke the record for first week sales of any major label debut in the entire Soundscan era. On April 12, 2004 "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" was certified six times platinum by the RIAA.
Interscope then granted 50 Cent his own label, G-Unit Records. 50 Cent appointed his manager Sha Money XL as the president. The label signed on Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck as the established members of G-Unit. Dr. Dre and 50 Cent had signed The Game under a joint venture. After the departure of The Game, the rapper signed Olivia and Mobb Deep to G-Unit Records. Spider Loc, M.O.P., and Hot Rod joined G-Unit after the signing of Mobb Deep. 50 Cent has expressed interest in working with other rappers outside of G-Unit such as Lil' Scrappy, LL Cool J, Mase from Bad Boy Records, or Freeway of Roc-A-Fella Records.
After the release of Beg For Mercy from his group G-Unit, 50 Cent teamed up with Reebok to release his own G-Unit Sneakers. He also invested in VitaminWater bottled water and his own clothing line. 50 Cent appeared on an episode of The Simpsons entitled, "Pranksta Rap".
A video game starring 50 Cent, called "50 Cent: Bulletproof," is available on the PlayStation 2, the Xbox, and the PlayStation Portable.
50 Cent starred in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin' directed by Jim Sheridan, and co-starring Joy Bryant and Terrence Howard. The rapper is currently working on his upcoming role in the movie Home of the Brave, along side Samuel L. Jackson. He also has a role along side Nicholas Cage in the upcoming film The Dance.
50 Cent released a memoir about his life up to his success entitled From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens.
Before signing with Interscope, 50 Cent was engaged in a well-publicized dispute with rival rapper Ja Rule and his label Murder Inc. Records. The rappers engaged in numerous mix tape "disses". The conflict stemmed from the rapper's alleged robbery of Ja Rule's jewelry, which led to a confrontation and 50 Cent's stabbing.
Before the release of Get Rich Or Die Tryin, Murder, Inc alongside The Source began a smear campaign against the rapper. A restraining order document was floating around the Internet stating that 50 Cent had placed label CEO, Irv Gotti and rapper Black Child in the document forging a belief that 50 Cent is a "snitch" or a police informant. Although 50 Cent dismissed the claims of not talking to police, the bad publicity continues to be a tool used by various rappers who have rivalries with G-Unit.
This was one of the most well known feuds in hip-hop history. 50 Cent accused Ja Rule of "singing" instead of rapping. Ja Rule retaliated, accusing him of insulting other rappers to gain fame. Ja Rule eventually tried to squash the beef with 50 Cent by using Louis Farrakhan in a televised interview. Ja Rule soon lost credibility when the interview was done a day before his album Blood In My Eye was released, leading 50 Cent to dismiss the interview as a blatant publicity stunt. 50 Cent had not commented much on Ja Rule's and Irv Gotti's situation. The FBI has probing the label's ties to McGriff who is possibly involved in the murder of Jam Master Jay.
According to website The Smoking Gun, there was a search warrant affidavit for the label. The affidavit proceeds with the label's involvement to McGriff. The failed assassination on the rapper and money laundering plagued the label. This also states that McGriff willingly "communicates with Murder, Inc. employees concerning the target." An excerpt of the affidavit reads:
"The investigation has uncovered a conspiracy involving McGriff and others to murder a rap artist who has released songs containing lyrics regarding McGriff's criminal activities. The rap artist was shot nine times in 2000, survived and there after refused to cooperate with law enforcement regarding the shooting. Messages transmitted over the Murder Inc. Pager indicate that McGriff is involved in an ongoing plot to kill this rap artist, and that he communicates with Murder Inc. employees concerning the target."
50 Cent began a feud with rappers Nas, Joe Budden, Fat Joe, Shyne, Jadakiss and D-Block. The feud with Nas started from disparaging comments about him and his G-Unit camp while performing at a New York concert. The rapper has denounced Nas as a traitor over the alliance with Ja Rule and Irv Gotti. The feud with Joe Budden started from the 50 Cent's critical review of Joe Budden's debut album in a magazine interview. Joe Budden responded with several mixtape disses attacking G-Unit credibility. This feud continued on with The Game's involvement against Joe Budden. The feud with Jadakiss and Fat Joe started from their partnership with Ja Rule. After they were featured in the filming of a video, 50 Cent recorded a response to the rappers through a single known as "Piggy Bank". The single attacks Jadakiss, Fat Joe and imprisoned rapper Shyne for the association to Ja Rule. The feud with Shyne started from the rapper having some of his album being produced by Irv Gotti. Even though things cooled down, at 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Fat Joe made a disparaging comment about G-Unit during a performance. 50 Cent and G-Unit retaliated on set by shouting obscenities toward Fat Joe and Terror Squad.
The rapper has feuds with former G-Unit members, Bang 'Em Smurf and Domination. This feud started after Bang 'Em Smurf claimed the rapper didn't assist in bailing him out of jail after being charged with a gun crime. This led to the rapper serving a three year prison sentence. He has also criticized Lil' Kim for having breast implants and expressed his disgust of her participation in their hit single "Magic Stick," which he did not want to record with her, citing that the song was originally entitled to Miami rapper Trina. He has, however, ended his feud with Jay-Z. The feud with Jay-Z started when the rapper released "How to Rob" and Jay-Z responded with sublimial lines targeting 50 Cent on the single "It's Hot." 50 Cent responded with "Be a Gentleman." The track was never heard by many due to 50's departure from Columbia Records.
50 Cent has an escalating feud with The Game. The Game, who was previously signed to G-Unit, was bonding with the rapper before the release of his debut The Documentary. When the album was released, 50 Cent felt that The Game was disloyal for wanting to work with artists G-Unit were feuding with. 50 Cent claimed that he was not getting proper credit for the debut of the album.
During that dispute, a member of The Game's entourage was shot after a confrontation outside the Hot 97 radio station. When the situation escalated, 50 Cent and The Game tried to hold a press conference to end their feud. Fans claim the feud and particularly the incident at the radio station were a publicity stunt designed to boost the sales of the two albums the pair had just released. Nevertheless, the situation escalated when The Game's street credibility was criticized by 50 Cent and G-Unit. The group denounced The Game and claimed that their participation will not be featured on the rapper's albums. The Game during a performance at the Summer Jam launched a boycott called "G-Unot".
After the performance at Summer Jam, The Game responded with a rough song "300 Bars And Runnin'" which directly addresses 50 Cent and G-Unit. The Game continued his attacks at G-Unit with a DVD entitled Stop Snitchin, Stop Lyin'. After numerous songs aimed at G-Unit, 50 Cent had responded to the The Game's rebuttals with an insulting song titled "Not Rich, Still Lyin.'" The song imitates The Game and attacks his credibility and his recent feud with his brother, Big Fase 100.
The Game had also released images depicting the rap group in
many parodies on some of his previous mix tapes. In response,
G-Unit published a mixtape cover with the rapper's head on the
body of an exotic dancer. Although both rappers were once signed
to the same label, this feud has led to The Game leaving
Aftermath Entertainment, in order to completely resolve the
While appearing at the Summer Jam concert in New York, 50 Cent and members of G-Unit were criticized for speaking out against other notable artists including R&B singer R. Kelly. Before going onstage, 50 Cent mentioned R. Kelly's pending child pornography trial. He and his crew received mixed reactions from the crowd and chairs were thrown onstage, forcing 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew to leave the stage for safety reasons.
The rapper also had a falling out with Eminem's former deejay Green Lantern. The deejay has been labeled a "snitch" and "traitor" for his apparent phone conversation with rival Jadakiss. The rapper had a phone interview with DJ Green Lantern over the feud with 50 Cent. The DJ was apparently encouraging Jadakiss to "deliver a major blow" to 50 Cent, Jadakiss has responded on songs such as "Sorry Ms. Jackson" and "Checkmate". The rapper never confronted the DJ about the situation, but it did affect the relationship within Shady Records. The situation forced Green Lantern to leave Shady Records and other ventures associated with Eminem.
On a taping of The O'Reilly Factor, conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly has urged boycotts against rap music. O'Reilly named 50 Cent as a target of his crusade to prevent rappers who promote bad behavior from endorsing mainstream merchandise. He criticized shoe maker Reebok for partnering up with 50 Cent to endorse his G-Unit Sneakers. O'Reilly has rallied another boycott, this time against the shoe maker. Despite the boycott, sales remain excellent, and Reebok still continues to endorse 50 Cent's products. However, a television advertisement for Reebok which featured 50 Cent was taken off air in the United Kingdom. The advertisement contained lyrics from one of the rapper's tracks, which resulted in complaints against their violent imagery.
50 Cent has apparently expressed support for President George W. Bush after comments were made by rapper Kanye West. After the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, 50 Cent defended the president when being criticised for his slow response in assisting the victims of the Gulf Coast region. If the rapper's felony convictions didn't prevent him from voting, 50 Cent claimed that he would have voted for Bush.
Dan McTeague, a member of Canadian Parliament suggested that the government ban 50 Cent from entering the country. McTeague said the rapper's message encourage gun violence. The city of Toronto, one of the stops 50 Cent was planning on touring, experienced a rise in crime. The rapper's tour went on as planned, only a few of the featured G-Unit acts were denied entry in Canada.
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