50 Cent

  • Rapper and songwriter born Curtis Jackson III born in 1975 from New York New York.
  • Jackson’s youth was troubled – to say the least. His mother was a drug dealer who died when he was 8 years old. Taken in by his grandmother, he was selling drugs at 12, and in the 10th grade, he was arrested for bringing a gun into school. At 19, after he was arrested twice for drug and weapons charges, he was sentenced to a boot camp, where he earned his GED. Wanting to make a change in his life, he began to call himself 50 Cent, inspired by a Brooklyn criminal from the 80s known by that name.
  • In 1996, 50 Cent started rapping in the basement of a friend. He was introduced to Jam Master Jay from the hip hop group Run-DMC. Jam Master Jay was starting his own record label, and he taught 50 Cent the basics of music and recording. 50 Cent first appeared on a record in 1998 by the hardcore hip hop group Onyx, and he recorded an album produced by Jam Master Jay which was never released.
  • The following year, he signed with another record label, and he recorded 36 songs in 2 weeks. An album of 18 songs was planned, and one of the songs, How To Rob, was released as a single. It became an underground (and controversial) hit – it humorously described how he would rob 49 different R&B/Hip-Hop celebrities, naming each one in the song. The album, titled Power of the Dollar, was not released – 2 months prior to the planned release date, 50 Cent was shot 9 times, and the record label dropped him. It was rumored that he was shot because of the song Ghetto Qu’ran (Forgive Me), written by 50 Cent for the album – the song has lyrics about an 80s drug gang from his neighborhood growing up, which apparently created some angst. The album has been heavily bootlegged, so the music is generally available.
  • He fully recovered in 5 months, but he was blacklisted by other U.S. record labels. He went to Canada and recorded over 30 songs for mixtapes. He started gaining interest from labels and the public with the mixtapes, and in 2002 an independent label released Guess Who’s Back?, containing 18 of the mixtapes. It ended up charting on the Billboard Hot 200, peaking at #28. Later that year, Eminem heard the CD and he invited 50 Cent to meet him in Los Angeles along with Dr. Dre. Soon, he was signed to a $1 million record deal.
  • Three more mixtapes were released in 2002 – one had the single Wanksta, which was included on the soundtrack to Eminem’s film 8 Mile. The song reached #13 on the Hot 100, and momentum was building for 50 Cent. He became a megastar in 2003 with the release of his first studio album of all original music – Get Rich or Die Tryin’. The album immediately reached #1 on the Billboard album chart, and it sold over 8 million copies in the U.S. and was the best selling album of the year. The singles In da Club and 21 Questions both topped the Hot 100, and P.I.M.P. reached #3 on the chart.
  • His follow-up studio album, The Massacre, was released in 2005. It was the best selling album of 2005, and was certified 5x platinum. Four singles all landed in the top 10 of the Hot 100, with Candy Shop reaching #1. He was the first solo artist ever to have 3 songs in the top 5 in the same week – Disco Inferno and How We Do joined Candy Shop in early March 2005. That same year, the film Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was released, with 50 Cent in the starring role. He has had roles in 28 films since 2005.
  • Two more studio albums were released during the 00s – Curtis in 2007 and Before I Self Destruct in 2009. Neither were as successful as his first 2 studio albums, though 5 singles charted, with Ayo Technology performing well, reaching #5 on the Hot 100. Since then, his only other song to break into the top 30 was in 2012, with My Life.
  • 50 Cent released a free album in 2012, titled 5 (Murder By Numbers), and Animal Ambition was released in 2014. His next album is called Street King Immortal – originally set to be released in 2011, it has been rescheduled to 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017 – I guess we’ll see if it ever happens.
  • Lots of drama in this dude’s life. He has many business interests, with activities in music, footwear, apparel, fragrances, vodka, book publishing, boxing promotion, film production, headphones, mining, and much more. It 2015, it was estimated that he was worth $155 million – and yet that same year, he filed for bankruptcy protection, claiming he was in debt for more that $35 million. He’s been involved in numerous lawsuits, and has regularly and publicly feuded with the mother of his first child, as well as other rap artists, which has occasionally led to more gunfire. Think I will steer clear of 50 Cent and his entourage. Here’s his video to the catchiest hip hop song ever, In da Club.

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