Curtis James Jackson (born July 6, 1975), known commonly as 50 Cent, is a popular African-American rapper also known as Fiddy or Fifty who rose to fame following the success of his 2003 debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
Originally from Southside Jamaica, Queens, 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) 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 murdered in a drug deal. He has been shot three times (commonly mistaken as nine times, because 9 bullets were fired at him), stabbed, 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 modest 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 a joint effort between Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, was scouted before knowing Dr. Dre or Eminem. 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 brag about this as his doing "seven to nine." He became a father to a son, Marquise, in 1997.
Jackson met up with Jam Master Jay (JMJ) of Run-DMC fame and was signed to his label JMJ. Once Jam Master Jay had taught him the basics, Jackson 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 to Columbia Records in 1999.
"How to Rob", an ode to robbing a slew of industry rappers, was a hit for New York radio. His debut album "Power of the Dollar" was never released, as he was dropped from Columbia Records shortly after his shooting in 2000.
The Queens Shooting
In 2000, 50 Cent and an associate, 22-year-old Alton Brown, were sitting in a parked car in the Jamaica section of Queens when an assailant pulled up beside them and fired nine shots with a handgun. 50 Cent was shot at nine times and hit three times, once in each leg, and once in the jaw. Brown, wounded in the hand, drove himself and Jackson to a nearby hospital. This incident led to the widespread statement in the media and the pop music fanbase that 50 Cent had been "shot nine times."
In various songs, interviews and rumors it is alleged that the shooter was Darryl "Hommo" Baum, whose nickname is pronounced as in "homicide." There are rumors that the shooting was arranged by Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, a Queens drug dealer. Baum himself was shot and killed three weeks later. 50 Cent has hinted that the person who shot at him was killed in retaliation for the attempt on 50 Cent's life. Others claim Baum's killing was unrelated to 50 Cent but was the result of Baum's feud with a different drug crew in Brooklyn.
The support of Eminem and Dr. Dre
50 Cent is the Future was heard by Eminem who brought the rapper to Dr. Dre's attention. 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. They endorsed the idea of signing a deal and working with 50 Cent on an album.
Before starting production of his new album with Eminem and Dre, Jackson quickly released another mixtape (a bootleg album of raps over other artists' instrumentals), entitled "No Mercy, No Fear". Some songs on the album, such as "Wanksta" appeared to be aimed at rapper Ja Rule. Although the song was never meant as a radio single, due to the buzz over his record deal with Shady/Aftermath, "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.
The popularity of G-Unit
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 the RIAA.
On March 3, 2005, Jackson 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. 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 is 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 appeared on an episode of The Simpsons entitled, "Pranksta Rap" in February 2005.
A video game starring 50 Cent, called "50 Cent: Bulletproof," is available on the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox, and there is another version in production for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The game stars 50 Cent as he fights his way through the criminal underworld to hunt down the men who shot him and take his revenge. "50 Cent: Bulletproof" also has many rap artists in the game helping out 50, such as Eminem, Dr. Dre, Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, and Young Buck.
50 Cent stars in the semi-autobiographical 2005 film "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," helmed by " My Left Foot" director Jim Sheridan and co-starring Joy Bryant and Terrence Howard. In the opening weekend the movie placed third pushing only $12M. This due to Chicken Little and Derailed that also opened that weekend. The movie has already pushed about $32M.
50 Cent has released a memoir (his first) about his life up to his success. The book is titled "From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens" and was released on August 9, 2005. 50 is also working on a new project of literature that will include life history information of the members of G-Unit including himself, Oliva, Young Buck, Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, and Mase. Its planned release is scheduled sometime in 2007.
Disputes and controversy
The Original 50 Cent
Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson originally got his name from a famous stick-up artist of the 80's. The Original 50 Cent was named Kelvin Martin. He was considered small for a notorious thug; he only measured 5 foot 3. Martin worked with the notorious supreme team, and he was aligned with Eric B. and Rakim. He stuck up and killed many people including former friends of his and a few high ranked drug lords. Additionally, he stuck up a rap group known as Whodini. His shiestiness and love of money eventually ended up in his murder. The family of Kelvin Martin is still alive, and does not endorse Curtis Jackson.
Ja Rule and Murder Inc. Records
Before even signing to Eminem's and Dr. Dre's label, 50 Cent was engaged in a well-publicized dispute with rival rapper Ja Rule and his label The Inc. Records. The rappers engaged in numerous mix tape "disses," but have since ended the conflict. The conflict stemmed from Jackson'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 a restraining order, 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. 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 From 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 is probing Murder Inc.'s ties to drug-kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff who is possibly involved in the murder of Jam Master Jay.
According to website The Smoking Gun a 2003 search warrant affidavit for the Manhattan offices of the Murder, Inc. record label showed that McGriff, an incarcerated Drug Lord with ties to Murder Inc., was still trying to kill 50 Cent and that he "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 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."
New York Rappers
50 Cent also has a rivalry with Shyne, Nas, Lil' Kim, Joe Budden, Fat Joe, Jadakiss and D-Block. He claimed that Nas had made 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 allying himself with Ja Rule and Irv Gotti. 50 Cent points out that Jadakiss and Fat Joe were notorious for allowing themselves to partner up with Ja Rule while filming a video in which the rapper took shots at him. He recorded the "Piggy Bank" and attacked Jadakiss and Fat Joe for their association with Ja Rule. Shyne was named as an enemy of 50 Cent. Shyne had Irv Gotti produce his album, and 50 Cent also attacked him for this association. 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.
50 Cent has a long-standing dispute with former G-Unit artists Bang 'Em Smurf and Domination over internal conflicts. On the song "Love Me" off the 8 Mile soundtrack, 50 Cent criticized Lil' Kim for having breast implants and discusses why he refused her request to be in a video clip for her single "Magic Stick", which he refused to record with her, citing that the song was originally entitled to Miami rapper Trina.
50 Cent also had a little known feud with Jay-Z in 1999. Jay-Z did not take too kindly to 50 Cent's mention of him on "How to Rob" and responded with a line in his song "It's Hot". 50 Cent responded with "Be a Gentleman," though the track was never heard by many due to 50 Cent getting dropped from Columbia Records after his shooting. 50 Cent and Jay-Z eventually squashed their beef, and they toured together in 2003. Jay-Z and 50 Cent even appeared in a Reebok commercial together promoting their sneaker lines, called S. Carter and the G-Unit, respectively.
50 Cent currently has an escalating feud with fellow Aftermath star The Game. The Game, who was previously co-signed to G-Unit, was booted by 50 Cent. Fans mostly believed that 50 Cent and The Game were bonding at the time of The Documentary's release. The Game's major debut album was surrounded by controversy. Right after its release, 50 Cent felt that the rapper was disloyal for saying he wanted to work with artists G-Unit were feuding with and he formally dismissed the rapper.
50 Cent also 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 and wounded after confrontation at Hot 97. After the situation between them escalated, 50 Cent and The Game decided to hold a press conference to announce their reconciliation. Many fans felt that the supposed feud, and particularly the incident at the radio station was a publicity stunt designed to boost the sales of the two albums the pair had just released. Nevertheless, even after the situation had apparently deflated, 50 Cent and G-Unit continued to feud with The Game, denouncing his street credibility in the media and claiming that without their support, he will not score a hit from his second album. 50 Cent also sued The Game's manager Jimmy Henchmen over unauthorized filming for a documentary about Kelvin Martin. The Game during a performance at the Summer Jam launched "G-Unot".
After the performance at Summer Jam, The Game responded with a hard hitting diss titled "300 Bars and Runnin'", which directly addresses 50 Cent and G-Unit. 50 Cent has mixed feelings towards the diss, but nevertheless responded through his "Piggybank" video, which features The Game dressed as a Mr. Potato Head and parodies many other nemeses. This was the first of many feuds where two rappers from the same label were involved against each other.
While appearing at the Summer Jam XI 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.
50 Cent was also dramatically booed off stage at the Reading Festival in 2004 while on tour in England. A rain of bottles hit him and his G-Unit crew as they came onstage. Chants of "50 Cent is a wankster" were heard as the group was jeered and heckled throughout the short appearance.
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 his the feud with 50 Cent. The DJ was apparently encouraging Jadakiss to "deliver a major blow" to 50 Cent. The rapper never confronted the deejay about the situation, but it did affect the relationship within the 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 a boycott 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 recently taken off air in the United Kingdom. The advertisement contained lyrics from one of 50's tracks, which resulted in complaints against their violent imagery of life.
50 Cent sued a Philadelphia car dealer for $1 million for using his vocabulary without permission. 50 Cent described himself in the lawsuit as "a hugely popular and extremely successful hip-hop music artist... known for his good looks, 'gangsta' image and hard knocks success story." The auto dealer, Gary Barbera Enterprises, used the slogan "Just Like 50 Says!" and the artist's picture in a print advertisement for a Dodge Magnum.
While collaborating with local talent in Pittsburgh, 50 Cent is alleged to have been involved in a verbal altercation that escalated until 50 Cent threw a Stouffer's frozen dinner through the recording booth glass, injuring a person's face. 50 Cent is alleged to have immediately apologized for the accident and shuttled the injured intern to University Of Pittsburgh Medical Presbyterian Hospital (UPMC) where he was treated and released.
Before the release of the movie Get Rich or Die Tryin', controversy erupted over billboard advertisements placed near schools that feature an image of Fifty holding a gun in one hand and a microphone in the other. Protesters targeted Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles and Clear Channel in Philadelphia. Some billboards were removed. On the film's opening night, Shelton Flowers, 30, was fatally shot to death after an argument with another man near the concession stand inside a Loews multiplex in Homestead, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh), after a showing of the movie. In response, National Amusements theater chain ended after-midnight showings of the film, fearing unrest. 
On November 22, 2005, Canadian Member of Parliament Dan McTeague suggested that the government ban 50 Cent from entering the country. McTeague said the rapper's message was inappropriate at a time when Toronto, Canada's largest city, was experiencing a huge increase in gun violence. 
|Album Cover||Album Information||Alternate Cover|
|Get Rich or Die Tryin'|
|Get Rich or Die Tryin' (soundtrack)|
|DVD Cover||DVD Information|
|The New Breed|
|Year||Song||US Hot 100||US R&B/ Hip-Hop||US Rap||UK Singles||Album|
|1999||"How To Rob" (featuring The Madd Rapper)||-||62||-||-||-|
|2002||"Wanksta"||13||4||-||-||Get Rich or Die Tryin|
|2003||"In Da Club"||1||1||1||3||Get Rich or Die Tryin|
|2003||"Patiently Waiting" (featuring Eminem)||-||56||-||-||Get Rich or Die Tryin|
|2003||"21 Questions" (featuring Nate Dogg)||1||1||1||6||Get Rich or Die Tryin|
|2003||"P.I.M.P."||3||2||1||5||Get Rich or Die Tryin|
|2003||"What Up Gangsta"||-||26||15||-||Get Rich or Die Tryin|
|2003||"If I Can't"||76||34||15||10||Get Rich or Die Tryin|
|2004||"Disco Inferno"||3||4||3||-||The Massacre|
|2005||"Candy Shop" (featuring Olivia)||1||1||1||4||The Massacre|
|2005||"Piggy Bank"||88||64||-||-||The Massacre|
|2005||"Just a Lil Bit"||3||3||1||10||The Massacre|
|2005||"Outta Control (Remix)" (featuring Mobb Deep)||6||11||5||7||The Massacre [Special Edition]|
|2005||"Outta Control" (Original Album Version)||92||-||-||-||The Massacre|
|2005||"Hustlers Ambition"||65||74||-||-||Get Rich or Die Tryin' [Soundtrack]|
|2005||"Window Shopper"||20||19||14||11||Get Rich or Die Tryin' [Soundtrack]|
|2005||"That Party"||-||-||-||-||Get Rich or Die Tryin' [Soundtrack]|
- 1998 "React" (Onyx ft. 50 Cent, Bonifucco, Still Livin, and X1)
From 8 Mile (OST)
- 2002 "Love Me" (Eminem, Obie Trice, and 50 Cent)
- 2002 "Places To Go" (50 Cent)
- 2002 "Rap Game" (D12 and 50 Cent)
- 2002 "Wanksta" (50 Cent)
- 2003 "Magic Stick" (Lil' Kim featuring 50 Cent)
- 2003 "We All Die One Day" (Obie Trice featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, and Eminem)
- 2003 "Realest Killaz" (2Pac featuring 50 Cent)
- 2003 "Ride Wit You" (Joe featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Young Buck as G-Unit)
- 2003 "Shot Down" (DMX ft. 50 Cent, and Styles P)
- 2004 "On Fire"
- 2004 "I Get High" (Lloyd Banks featuring 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg)
- 2004 "Warrior, Part 2" (Lloyd Banks featuring Eminem, 50 Cent, and Nate Dogg)
- 2004 "I'm A Soldier" (Young Buck featuring 50 Cent)
- 2004 "Bonafide Hustler" (Young Buck featuring 50 Cent and Tony Yayo)
- 2004 "Oh No" (Snoop Dogg featuring 50 Cent)
- 2004 "Never Enough" (Eminem featuring 50 Cent and Nate Dogg)
- 2004 "Spend Some Time" (Eminem featuring Obie Trice, Stat Quo, and 50 Cent)
- 2004 "Encore" (Eminem featuring Dr. Dre and 50 Cent)
- 2004 "Loyal To The Game" (2Pac featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, and Young Buck as G-Unit)
- 2005 "Westside Story" (The Game featuring 50 Cent)
- 2005 "Hate It Or Love It" (The Game featuring 50 Cent)
- 2005 "How We Do" (The Game featuring 50 Cent)
- 2005 "Forgive Me" (Proof featuring 50 Cent)
- 2005 "So Seductive" (Tony Yayo featuring 50 Cent)
- 2005 "We Don't Give A Fuck" (Tony Yayo featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, and Olivia)
- 2005 "I Know You Don't Love Me" (Tony Yayo featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, and Young Buck as G-Unit)
- ^ Many sources incorrectly list 50 Cent's birth year as 1976. See the article on age fabrication and relevant information on the talk page for details.
- 50 Cent Official Site
- Aftermath Entertainment page
- Shady Records
- G-Unit Records
- Violator Management profile
- 50 Cent: Bulletproof site