Curtis James Jackson III
(born July 6, 1976),
better known by his stage name 50 Cent
, is an American rapper. He
rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin'
(2003) and The Massacre
(2005). Both albums achieved multi-platinum
success, selling over twenty-one million copies combined.
Born in South Jamaica, Queens, 50 Cent began drug dealing at the age of
twelve during the 1980s crack epidemic.
After leaving drug dealing to pursue a rap career, he was shot nine times in
2000. After releasing his album Guess Who's Back? in 2002, 50 Cent
was discovered by rapper Eminem and signed to Interscope Records. With the
help of Eminem and Dr. Dre—who produced his first major commercial
successes—he became one of the world's highest selling rappers. In 2003, he
founded the record label G-Unit Records, which signed several successful
rappers such as Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo.
50 Cent has engaged in feuds with other rappers including Ja Rule, The
Game, Fat Joe and most recently Rick Ross. He has also pursued an acting
career, appearing in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin'
in 2005, the Iraq War film Home of the Brave in 2006, and
Righteous Kill in 2008.
Life and music career
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50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson III, grew up in the South Jamaica
neighbourhood of Queens in New York City. He grew up without a father and was
raised by his mother, Sabrina, who gave birth to him at the age of fifteen.
Sabrina, a cocaine dealer, raised Jackson until the age of eight, when she
was murdered in 1983. Twenty-three at the time, she became unconscious after
someone drugged her drink. She was then left for dead after the gas in her
apartment was turned on and the windows shut closed.
After her death, Jackson moved into his grandparents' house with his eight
aunts and uncles.
He recalls, "My grandmother told me, 'Your mother's not coming home. She's
not gonna come back to pick you up. You're gonna stay with us now.' That's
when I started adjusting to the streets a little bit".
Jackson grew up with his younger cousin, Michael Francis, who earned the
nickname "25 Cent" for being his younger counterpart. Francis raps under the
stage name "Two Five".
Jackson began boxing around the age of eleven. At fourteen, a neighbor
opened a boxing gym for local kids. "When I wasn't killing time in school, I
was sparring in the gym or selling crack on the strip", he recalled.
In the mid 1980s, he competed in the Junior Olympics as an amateur boxer. He
recounts, "I was competitive in the ring and hip-hop is competitive too... I
think rappers condition themselves like boxers, so they all kind of feel
like they're the champ".
At the age of twelve, Jackson began dealing narcotics when his grandparents
thought he was at after-school programs.
He also took guns and drug money to school. In the tenth grade, he was
caught by metal detectors at Andrew Jackson High School. He later stated, "I
was embarrassed that I got arrested like that... After I got arrested I
stopped hiding it. I was telling my grandmother [openly], 'I sell drugs.'"
On June 29, 1994, Jackson was arrested for helping to sell four vials of
cocaine to an undercover police officer. He was arrested again three weeks
later when police searched his home and found heroin, ten ounces of crack
cocaine, and a starter gun. He was sentenced to three to nine years in
prison, but managed to serve six months in a shock incarceration boot camp
where he earned his GED. Jackson said that he did not use cocaine himself,
he only sold it.
He adopted the nickname "50 Cent" as a metaphor for "change".
The name was derived from Kelvin Martin, a 1980s Brooklyn robber known as
"50 Cent". Jackson chose the name "because it says everything I want it to
say. I'm the same kind of person 50 Cent was. I provide for myself by any
1996–2000: Early career
50 Cent started rapping in a friend's basement where he used turntables
to record over instrumentals.
In 1996, a friend introduced him to Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC who was
organizing his label Jam Master Jay Records. Jay taught him how to count
bars, write choruses, structure songs, and how to make a record.
50 Cent's first official appearance was on a song titled "React" with the
group Onyx on their 1998 album Shut 'Em Down. He credited Jam Master
Jay as an influence who helped him improve his ability to write hooks.
Jay produced 50 Cent's first album, however it was never released.
In 1999, after leaving Jam Master Jay, the platinum-selling producers
Trackmasters took notice of 50 Cent and signed him to Columbia Records. They
sent him to a studio in Upstate New York where he produced thirty-six songs
in two weeks.
Eighteen were included on his unofficially released album, Power of the
Dollar in 2000.
He also started the now-defunct Hollow Point Entertainment with former
G-Unit affiliate Bang 'Em Smurf.
50 Cent's popularity started to increase after the successful but
controversial underground single, "How to Rob", which he wrote in half an
hour while in a car on the way to a studio.
The track comically explains how he would rob famous artists. He explained
the reasoning behind song's content as, "There's a hundred artists on that
label, you gotta separate yourself from that group and make yourself
Jay-Z, Big Pun, DMX, and the Wu-Tang Clan replied to the song
and Nas, who received the track positively, invited 50 Cent to travel on a
promotional tour for his Nastradamus album.
The song was intended to be released with "Thug Love" featuring Destiny's
Child, but two days before he was scheduled to film the "Thug Love" music
video, 50 Cent was shot and confined to a hospital due to his injuries.
On May 24, 2000, 50 Cent was attacked by a gunman, alleged to be Darryl "Hommo"
Baum, outside his grandmother's former home in South Jamaica, Queens. He
went into a friend's car, but was asked to return to the house to get
jewelry. His son was in the house while his grandmother was in the front
yard. On returning
to the back seat of the car, another car pulled up nearby. An assailant then
walked up to 50 Cent's left side with a 9mm handgun and fired nine shots at
close range. He was shot nine times: in the hand (a round hit his right
thumb and came out of his little finger), arm, hip, both legs, chest, and
The face wound resulted in a swollen tongue, the loss of a wisdom tooth, and
a small slur in his voice.
His friend also sustained a gunshot wound to the hand. They were driven to
the hospital where 50 Cent spent thirteen days. The alleged shooter, Darryl
Baum, was killed three weeks later.
Darryl Baum was also Mike Tyson's close friend and bodyguard.
50 Cent recalled the incident saying, "It happens so fast that you don't
even get a chance to shoot back... I was scared the whole time... I was
looking in the rear-view mirror like, 'Oh shit, somebody shot me in the
face! It burns, burns, burns.'"
In his memoir, From Pieces to Weight: Once upon a Time in Southside
Queens, he wrote, "After I got shot nine times at close range and didn't
die, I started to think that I must have a purpose in life... How much more
damage could that shell have done? Give me an inch in this direction or that
one, and I'm gone". He
used a walker for the first six weeks and fully recovered after five months.
When he left the hospital, he stayed in the Poconos with his then-girlfriend
and son. His workout regime helped him attain his muscular physique.
While in the hospital, 50 Cent signed a publishing deal with Columbia
Records. However, he was dropped from the label and "blacklisted" in the
recording industry after it was discovered he was shot. Unable to find a
studio to work with in the U.S, he travelled to Canada.
Along with his business partner Sha Money XL, he recorded over thirty songs
for mixtapes, with the purpose of building a reputation. 50 Cent's
popularity rose and in 2002, he released material independently on the
mixtape, Guess Who's Back?. Beginning to attract interest, and now
backed by G-Unit, 50 Cent continued to make songs. They released the mixtape,
50 Cent Is the Future, revisiting material by Jay-Z and Raphael
2002–present: Rise to fame
In 2002, Eminem listened to a copy of 50 Cent's Guess Who's Back?
CD. He received the CD through 50 Cent's attorney, who was working with
Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg.
Impressed with the album, Eminem invited 50 Cent to fly to Los Angeles,
where he was introduced to Dr. Dre.
After signing a one million dollar record deal,
50 Cent released the mixtape, No Mercy, No Fear. It featured one new
track, "Wanksta", which was put on Eminem's 8 Mile soundtrack.
He was also signed to Chris Lighty's Violator Management and Sha Money XL's
Money Management Group.
In February 2003, 50 Cent released his commercial debut album, Get
Rich or Die Tryin'. Allmusic described it as "probably the most hyped
debut album by a rap artist in about a decade".
Rolling Stone noted the album for its "dark synth grooves, buzzy
keyboards and a persistently funky bounce" with 50 Cent complementing the
production in "an unflappable, laid-back flow".
It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 872,000 copies
in the first four days.
The lead single, "In da Club", which The Source noted for its
"blaring horns, funky organs, guitar riffs and sparse hand claps",
broke a Billboard record as the most listened-to song in radio
history within a week.
Interscope granted 50 Cent his own label, G-Unit Records in 2003.
He signed Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck as the established members
of G-Unit. The Game was later signed under a joint venture with Dr. Dre's
Aftermath Entertainment. In March 2005, 50 Cent's second commercial album,
The Massacre, sold 1.14 million copies in the first four days—the
highest in an abbreviated sales cycle—
and peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 for six weeks.
He became the first solo artist to have three singles on the Billboard
top five in the same week with "Candy Shop", "Disco Inferno", and "How We
Do". Rolling Stone
noted that "50's secret weapon is his singing voice — the deceptively
amateur-sounding tenor croon that he deploys on almost every chorus".
After The Game's departure, 50 Cent signed singer Olivia and rap veterans
Mobb Deep to G-Unit Records. Spider Loc, M.O.P., and Young Hot Rod later
joined the label.
50 Cent expressed interest in working with rappers outside of G-Unit, such
as Lil' Scrappy of BME, LL Cool J from Def Jam, Mase from Bad Boy, and
Freeway of Roc-A-Fella, some of whom he recorded with.
In September 2007, he released his third album Curtis, which was
inspired by his life before Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 691,000 units
in the first week, behind
Kanye West's Graduation, whom he had a sales competition with, as
both albums were released on the same day. He confirmed on TRL on September
10, 2008 that his fourth studio album, Before I Self Destruct, will
be "done and released in November".
50 Cent has established himself in a variety of fields. In November 2003,
he signed a five year deal with Reebok to distribute a "G-Unit Sneakers"
line as part of his G-Unit Clothing Company.
He provided the voice-over as the protagonist in the video game, 50 Cent:
Bulletproof, which was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and the
PlayStation Portable. Its sequel, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, is set
for a 2008 release. He
worked with Glacéau to create a Vitamin Water drink called Formula 50. In
2007, Coca-Cola purchased Glacéau for US$4.1 billion. Forbes
estimated 50 Cent, who owns a stake in the company, to have earned $100
million after taxes. He
has teamed up with Right Guard to launched a body spray called Pure 50 RGX
Body Spray and a condom line called Magic Stick Condoms,
in which he planned to donate part of the proceeds to HIV awareness.
50 Cent has signed a multi-year deal with Steiner Sports to sell his
In 2005, 50 Cent made a cameo appearance on The Simpsons episode
"Pranksta Rap", in which he makes light of his legal troubles. The same
year, he starred alongside Terrence Howard in the semi-autobiographical film
Get Rich or Die Tryin'. He starred in the 2006 film, Home of the
Brave, as a soldier returning home from the Iraq War, traumatized after
killing an Iraqi woman. 50
Cent is working on a role as a fighter in an Angola State Prison in
Spectacular Regret alongside Nicolas Cage, and starred opposite Al
Pacino and Robert De Niro in 2008's Righteous Kill, a movie regarding
a police death. He also
started the film production companies G-Unit Films in 2007 and Cheetah
Vision in 2008.
In August 2007, 50 Cent announced plans to launch a dietary supplement
company in conjunction with his movie Spectacular Regret.
Shortly before appearing in Get Rich or Die Tryin', 50 Cent
released a memoir about his life and how he became successful titled From
Pieces to Weight: Once upon a Time in Southside Queens. On January 4,
2007, he launched his G-Unit Books imprint at the Time Warner Building.
He also co-wrote The Ski Mask Way, a novel about a small-time drug
dealer who attempts to rob his employers, which is to be turned into a film.
50 Cent said he read Robert Greene's The 33 Strategies of War and
worked with the author on a book titled The 50th Law, an urban take
on The 48 Laws of Power.
In May 2008, Jackson met billionaire Patrice Motsepe to forge a joint
venture selling 50 Cent-branded platinum.
On October 13, 1997, 50 Cent's then-girlfriend Shaniqua Tompkins gave
birth to a son, Marquise Jackson.
Tompkins later sued 50 Cent for $50 million dollars, claiming that he said
that he would take care of her for life; the suit, which includes 15 claims
was later dismissed by a judge, calling it "an unfortunate tale of a love
relationship gone sour."
As of February 2009, Tompkins' and her lawyer are considering an appeal.
The birth of his son changed 50 Cent's outlook on life: "when my son came
into my life, my priorities changed, because I wanted to have the
relationship with him, that I didn’t have with my father".
He credited his son for inspiring his career and being "motivation to go in
a different direction". He
also has a younger cousin, Michael Francis, who lived with him when he was a
child. Two Five
earned the nickname "25 Cent" for being his younger counterpart and he raps
under that stage name.
50 Cent has a tattoo of "Marquise" with an axe on his right biceps. "The
axe is 'cause I'm a warrior. I don't want him to be one, though",
he explains. He also has "50", "Southside", and "Cold World" inscribed on
his back because "I'm a product of that environment. It's on my back,
though, so it's all behind me".
50 Cent dated actress Vivica A. Fox in 2003. After a few months, he
announced their split up on the The Howard Stern Show when pictures
from a photo shoot they did ended up on the cover of Today's Black Woman
magazine without his knowledge.
50 Cent expressed support for President George W. Bush in 2005 after
rapper Kanye West criticized him for the slow response in assisting the
Hurricane Katrina victims.
If his felony convictions did not prevent him from voting, he claimed he
would have voted for Bush.
He later stated that Bush "has less compassion than the average human. By
all means, I don’t aspire to be like George Bush".
In 2007, Forbes recognized 50 Cent for his wealth, placing him
second behind Jay-Z in the rap industry.
He resides in Farmington, Connecticut, in the former mansion of ex-boxer
Mike Tyson. He put the
mansion for sale at US$18.5 million to move closer to his son who lives in
Long Island with his ex-girlfriend.
On October 12, 2007, the Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut declared it "50
Cent Curtis Jackson Day". He was honored with a key to the city and an
official proclamation. One
of his homes in New York purchased for 2.4 million dollars in January 2007
and at the center of a lawsuit between 50 Cent and ex-girlfriend Shaniqua
Tompkins caught fire on May 31, 2008 while he was out of town filming for a
movie in Louisiana.
In December 2008 50 told the Canadian Press that he had already been hit
by the recession, losing several million dollars on the stock market. He
also went on to say that he had been unable to sell his Connecticut mansion
and pushed Before I Self-Destruct back because of the recent economic
Before signing with Interscope, 50 Cent engaged in a well-publicized
dispute with rapper Ja Rule and his label Murder Inc. (now The Inc.). The
rappers engaged in mixtape "disses". Ja Rule claimed that 50 Cent robbed Ja
Rule of his jewellery and set it up.
However, Ja Rule claimed the conflict stemmed from a video shoot in Queens
because 50 Cent did not like seeing him "getting so much love" from the
neighbourhood. In March
2000, while at The Hit Factory studio in New York, 50 Cent had an
altercation with Murder Inc. associates. He was treated for three stitches
after receiving a stab wound.
Rapper Black Child claimed responsibility for the stabbing, saying he acted
in self-defence because he thought someone reached for a gun.
An affidavit by an IRS agent suggested that the label had ties to Kenneth
"Supreme" McGriff, a New York drug lord who was suspected of being involved
in the murder of Jam Master Jay and the shooting of 50 Cent. An excerpt of
the affidavit read:
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 in 2000, survived and thereafter 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.
New York rappers
Before releasing The Massacre, 50 Cent recorded a song, "Piggy
Bank", a response to Ja Rule's song "New York", which was leaked before the
album's release. The song takes aim at rappers including Fat Joe, Nas, and
Jadakiss. Fat Joe
responded with a song, "My Fo, Fo", accusing 50 Cent of taking steroids,
hiding in his home, and being jealous of The Game. Jadakiss also responded
with a song, "Checkmate", and said that 50 Cent was trying to "create a buzz
for his new album".
The "Piggy Bank" music video portrays animated caricatures of Jadakiss (as a
Ninja turtle), Fat Joe (as an overweight boxer who receives a knockout), Nas
(as a kid chasing a "milkshake" truck in a Superman costume), and The Game
(as Mr. Potato Head).
50 Cent spoke negatively about Bad Boy Entertainment mogul Sean Combs and
recorded a song, "Hip-Hop", revealing the reasons behind his negative
feelings: primarily, a contract dispute over Mase. In the song, he implied
that Diddy knew about The Notorious B.I.G.'s murder and threatened to expose
him through former associates.
The feud was resolved, with both rappers appearing on MTV's TRL and
Sucker Free, respectively, stating that there were no longer
On February 1, 2007, Cam'ron and 50 Cent had a live argument on The
Angie Martinez Show on Hot 97 radio. 50 Cent commented that Koch
Entertainment was a "graveyard", meaning major record labels would not work
with their artists.
Cam'ron then ridiculed the record sales of G-Unit members Lloyd Banks and
Mobb Deep by stating that Jim Jones outsold their albums despite being
signed to an independent label and that his group, The Diplomats, had a
distribution deal from several labels.
Both rappers released "diss" songs with videos on YouTube. 50 Cent suggested
in "Funeral Music" that Cam'ron is no longer able to lead The Diplomats and
that Jim Jones should take his place. Cam'ron responded with "Curtis" and
"Curtis Pt. II", in which he makes fun of 50 Cent's appearance, calling him
"a gorilla, with rabbit teeth".
50 Cent responded by releasing "Hold On" with Young Buck.
He has recently squashed his beef with Jadakiss, and Cam'ron, but still has
beef with Fat Joe.
Feud with The Game
In early 2005, 50 Cent began a feud with The Game, whom he was close to
before The Game releasing his debut album The Documentary. After its
release, 50 Cent felt The Game was disloyal for saying he did not want to
participate in G-Unit's feuds with other rappers and even wanting to work
with artists they were feuding with. He also claimed that he wrote six songs
on the album and was not receiving proper credit for his work, which The
50 Cent later dismissed The Game from G-Unit on Hot 97 radio. After the
announcement, The Game, who was a guest earlier in the evening, attempted to
enter the building with his entourage. After being denied entry, one of his
associates was shot in the leg during a confrontation with a group of men
leaving the building.
When the situation escalated, both rappers held a press conference to
announce their reconciliation.
Fans had mixed feelings as to whether the rappers created a publicity stunt
to boost the sales of the albums they had just released.
Nevertheless, even after the situation deflated,
G-Unit criticized The Game's street credibility. The group denounced The
Game and announced that they will not feature on his albums. During a Summer
Jam performance, The Game launched a boycott of G-Unit called "G-Unot".
After the Summer Jam performance, The Game released a track, "300 Bars
and Runnin'", which addresses 50 Cent and G-Unit.
He continued his attacks in a Stop Snitchin, Stop Lyin' DVD. After
numerous songs aimed at G-Unit, 50 Cent responded to The Game's rebuttals on
mixtapes. One track, "Not Rich, Still Lyin'", imitates The Game, attacks his
credibility, and mentions his feud with his brother, Big Fase 100.
The Game also released mixtape covers parodying the group. After he
displayed pictures of G-Unit dressed up as the Village People, 50 Cent
posted a cover of The Game's head on the body of a male stripper.
Although he was signed to Aftermath Entertainment, The Game left the label
and signed with Geffen Records to terminate his contractual obligations with
Feud with Rick Ross
In late January, a track titled "Mafia Music" by Rick Ross, leaked onto
the Internet. There were several lines that seem to diss 50 cent. Days
later, 50 Cent released "Officer Ricky (Go Head, Try Me)" in response to
Rick Ross' disparaging remarks days earlier on "Mafia Music." 50 also took
shots at DJ Khaled and Lil Wayne on the song. At the end he claims Ross is "an
appetizer. Where you at, Wayne?" He continued to egg Wayne on. "You
awfully quiet. You called Em out... You got to pass me to get to him, "
 referring to the
interview Lil Wayne had a couple months aho, where he reached out to Eminem
to collaborate with him. In early February, 50 upped the ante and posted a
video on YouTube where he interviews Tia, the mother of Rick Ross' child.
She verifies his being a correctional officer and claims his whole persona
is fake. On Thursday,
February 5, 2009, The Game called up Seattle's KUBE 93 Radio Station. When
asked about the beef between 50 Cent and Rick Ross, The Game gave props to
50 Cent and said that things are not looking good for Rick Ross. However, he
offered to help Rick Ross get out of this situation. "Rick Ross, holla at
your boy, man," Game continued, "50 eating you, boy."
After hearing word that Lil Wayne had prepared a song for him after 50
made some unkind remarks, 50 lashed out at Wayne first on August 17 2007
with the song "Part Time Lover".
 Wayne never really responded to the song, although a 50 Cent dis
track called "Louisianimal" did leak much later on November 27, 2008.
50 responded to Lil Wayne in a song entitled "Play This On The Radio" which
reportedly takes shots at Kanye West as well. In the song he raps First
They Say That Fagot Hot, Then They Let That Junkie Shine, referring to
Kanye West as a fagot and Lil Wayne a junkie. At the end he dares Wayne to
respond saying And I'm on your heels Mr. Carter I heard you want me to
die ugly? Ok..Don’t end up on the list.. be a missing person like cam'ron,
like Ja, like Joe.. who want some? Who want it? What up?.
On July 21, 2007, 50 Cent filed a US$1 million lawsuit against
advertising company Traffix Inc. of Pearl River, New York for using his
image in a promotion which he says threatens his safety. He learned about
the internet ad after one of his staff members saw it on a MySpace page.
According to court documents, the ad features a cartoon image of the rapper
and the message: "shoot the rapper and you will win $5000 or five ring tones
guaranteed". Though the ad did not use his name, the image allegedly
intended to resemble him, suggesting he endorsed the ad. The lawsuit calls
it a "vile, tasteless and despicable" use of 50 Cent's image that "quite
literally calls for violence against him". The lawsuit also seeks for
unspecified punitive damages and a permanent injunction against the use of
his image without permission.
|Get Rich or Die Tryin'
|Before I Self Destruct
|Get Rich or Die Tryin' OST
|Beg For Mercy
|T.O.S: Terminate on Sight
||50 Cent: The New Breed
||The Simpsons: "Pranksta Rap"
||His appearance in this episode was animated
|Get Rich or Die Tryin'
|50 Cent: Bulletproof
||Video game, voice only
||Home of the Brave
|Before I Self Destruct
||50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
||Video game, voice only
|Streets of Blood
|Dead Man Running
||The Ski Mask Way
Jackson started a reality television show titled 50 Cent: The Money
and the Power; the winning contestant won a $100,000 investment from
Jackson. The Winners name is Ryan Mayberry
50 cent is a lege and he is fit i love him load he
is an amazin rapper
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