50 Cent (a.k.a. "Fiddy", "Fifty", or "Farari")
born Curtis Jackson on July 6, 1975 in Queens, New York), is a popular African
Once almost unknown outside his hometown of southside Jamaica, Queens,
50 Cent is currently one of the most well-known and commercially successful
rappers of the decade. Because the success of an artist in gangsta
rap often depends on street credibility and reputation, Interscope
Records has sold 50 Cent as the "real deal". His mother was
killed in a drug deal, he was a drug dealer himself, he has been shot
nine times, and he built a large rap empire in New York City before
ever signing a major record deal.
50 Cent's continued success seems guaranteed by his large underground
fanbase and the street credibility he has gained by appearing on almost
every major mix tape sold in New York in the past few years. The rapper,
who was the first to sign to Shady Records, was scouted before knowing
Eminem. He is currently signed to record label Eminem's Shady Records
and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment.
Eminem first encountered 50 Cent with MTV News reporter Sway Calloway,
apparently having not heard any of his performances before seeing him
in person. He then appeared on the 8 Mile soundtrack with an accompanying
song and video ("Wanksta") that immediately went into heavy
rotation on BET, MTV, and radio stations across the country.
Before signing to Interscope, 50 Cent was living with his grandparents.
He soon became immersed in the drug trade, hustling around his native
neighborhood by the name of "Boo Boo" with fellow Queens
native Tony Yayo. In June of 1994, Jackson was arrested on felony drug
charges. Being a second time offender, Jackson was able to plead out
of significant prison time by accepting seven months in a "shock
incarceration" boot camp. He would later boast about this period
as his doing "seven to nine". He became a father to a son,
Marquise, in 1997.
Jackson met up with Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC fame and was signed
to his label JMJ. Once Jay had taught him the basics, 50 left the label
in search of someone who could help him achieve his dream of rap stardom.
He teamed up with the hip-hop production duo Track Masters, who had
recognized his talent for incisive lyrics. 50 Cent was signed toColumbia
Records in 1999.
"How to Rob", the humorous ode to robbing a slew of industry
rappers, was an instant hit for New York radio. His debut album Power
of the Dollar was never released, due to his shooting in 2000 that
Columbia Records used as incentive to drop 50 Cent.
The support of Eminem and Dr. Dre.
50 Cent is the Future was heard by a very impressed Eminem who brought
the rapper to Dr. Dre's attention. They endorsed the idea of signing
a deal and working with 50 Cent on an album. Eminem was quick to get
onto New York's hip-hop radio circuit with the message that 50 Cent
was his favorite rapper of the moment. After a meeting with Interscope
and Eminem in Los Angeles, 50 Cent quickly signed a deal with Interscope.
Before starting production of his new album with Eminem and Dre, 50
quickly released another bootleg album of his raps over stolen beats
entitled No Mercy, No Fear aimed at rapper Ja Rule. Although the song "Wanksta" was
never meant as a radio single, under the barrage of 50 Cent albums
and the buzz over Eminem's words of praise and subsequent deal with
50 Cent, "Wanksta" quickly became the most requested song
on New York radio.
Capitalizing on the appropriated song's success, it was added to Eminem's
hit movie soundtrack 8 Mile and had its own video release, quickly
entering heavy rotation on MTV, BET, MuchMusic, and radio stations
around the country.
In its first week of release, 50's major label debut Get Rich or Die
Tryin sold 872,000 units. 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 seven times platinum by
On March 3, 2005, 50 released the album "The Massacre".
It was originally entitled St. Valentine's Day Massacre, but changed
when the album release date was set back. He scored a hit with the
album's first single "Candy Shop". The album's second single, "Just
A Lil' Bit" peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After the success of 50 Cent's Get Rich Or Die Tryin, Interscope granted
50 Cent his own label, like his mentor Eminem. In 2003, G-Unit Records
officially came into being. 50 Cent appointed his manager Sha Money XL
as the president. In 2003, the label signed on Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo
and Young Buck as the established members of G-Unit. In 2004, The Game,
R & B singer Olivia, and DJ Whoo Kid were signed to the label. Recently
Spider Loc, Mobb Deep, Mase, and M.O.P. joined G-Unit Records. 50 Cent
also scouting gangsta crooner Kokane, Jayo Felony and Lil' Scrappy to
join the label.
After the release of Beg For Mercy from his group G-Unit, he teamed up
with Reebok to release his own G-Unit Sneakers. He also invested in bottled
water and his own clothing line. 50 Cent guest starred on an episode
of The Simpsons entitled, "Pranksta Rap" on February 13, 2005.