50 Cent survived after being shot nine times at point blank range. He has seen it all on the streets and the fans love to hear about it in his songs. He has gone from strength to strength. He has his own label under which he launches promising rappers.
“Everyone else is just mad ’cause I came from the bottom without them.“
50 Cent may seem very similar to other rap stars, since they all sing about jail, drugs, and violence on the street. There is one difference however, 50 Cent has been there and done that. He has done everything that he sings about. He has intimate knowledge of the code and conduct on the street, of the American Ghetto and how excruciatingly dangerous life actually is.
Life As He Knew It
50 Cent frequently pronounced “Fiddy” was born Curtis James Jackson on July 6 1976 in the Jamaica district of Queens, New York. His parents belonged to a family that was heavily immersed in the street culture. There was always a risk to their lives. His mother Sabrina was only 15 years old when she gave birth to Curtis, and had to peddle cocaine in order to make ends meet. She was killed in mysterious circumstances in 1998; his father disappeared soon after. She was drugged and left unconscious, after someone spiked his drink in her apartment. The gas was turned on and the windows were closed shut, which eventually resulted in her death. All of this happened before 50 Cent was less than twelve years old.
He moved in with his grandparents, who were already accommodating eight of his aunts and uncles. As a teenager he did what he had seen all those around him do. He began selling drugs by the age of twelve. He began to carry a gun and drugs to school, as well. However, he got caught, while trying to pass a metal detector in Andrew Jackson High School, which checked the gun in possession. He was sent to correction boot camp, where he named himself 50 Cent, who at that time was a local robber. The nickname was also a metaphor for money, which Curt needed desperately in order to make a living for himself, without being a burden on his grandparents.
He was also very keen about boxing, ever since one of the neighbors opened up a small boxing gym for the kids on the block. He would spend hours sparring in the gym, practicing for the Junior Olympics as an amateur entry. He was a frequent visitor to the jail. He had bought himself a top of the line Mercedes with his drug money. It was only the birth of his son that made him realize that he needed to get a legitimate job.
50 Cent began to pursue music with a friend who owned a turntable in his basement. Curt got his first break when Jam Master Jay of Run DMC heard him rap and offered him a contract. It did not help him much financially but it provided a platform where some important people could hear him. Jam Jay taught him how to make the perfect Hooks, count the bars in the song and write proper choruses. Jay also produced 50’s first album, which was never released. Jay was unfortunately murdered in 2002, which came as a big blow to the music industry. People grieved his loss all over America and beyond. 50 Cent credits him for being a very influential part of his career.
His first debut was through the song ‘React‘ with the group ‘Onyx’, which featured in their album ‘Shut ‘Em Down’.
One of the tracks that he made was called “How to Rob.” In the song 50 Cent daydreams of robbing famous rappers such as Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, and Sticky Fingaz. He justified it by saying, “I’m from the bottom” he says. “When you’re from the bottom you have nothing to lose so you say what you gotta say and don’t worry about the consequences.” The song brought him instant notoriety and lots of enemies. After many anonymous death threats, he was stabbed at the Hit Factory studio on West 54th Street in Manhattan.
The number of enemies that 50 Cent had cultivated was multiplying by the second. In 1999, the rapper Ja Rule was robbed at gunpoint. Ja Rule claims that he saw his assailant talk to 50 Cent in a club. He has repeatedly insinuated that 50 Cent had a part to play in the attack. 50 Cent then had a problem with his former friend Nas because he made derogatory comments about 50 Cent at one of his concerts. 50 Cent has disassociated himself with former allies – Shyne, Jadakiss, and Fat Joe for working with Ja Rule. Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly insisted on the “The O’Reilly Factor” that the music of 50 Cent should be banned.
2000 – Close Save From Death
50 Cent had landed a contract with Columbia. In the year 2000, an incident occurred that would change his life forever. Columbia was set to release his album called “Power of the Dollar.” On May 24, 2000, an assassin attempted to take 50’s life by shooting him nine times with a 9mm pistol. 50 Cent was in the passenger seat of a car and took shots in his face and limbs. His friend who was accompanying him at that time also was shot in his hand. Columbia canceled the contract and the album wasn’t released. He was admitted in the hospital for thirteen days. The suspected shooter, a man by the name of Baum, was Mike Tyson’s bodyguard and friend. Baum was murdered three weeks after the shootout.
2003 – Get Rich Or Die Tryin
50 Cent then produced some mix tapes along with his partner Sha Money XL. One of the people to hear the tapes was Eminem. He promptly announced on radio that a new rapper called 50 Cent impressed him. A bidding war began but 50 Cent signed up with Eminem and Dr. Dre for U.S. $ 1 million. 50 Cent became part of Shady/Aftermath Records. Videos featured 50 Cents with his bulletproof vest, pistol, and crucifix. His debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, has sold more than 4 million copies to date, it sold 872,000 copies in its first week in the US making it the highest selling debut of a major artist ever. It also became the most listened to song in the history of radio, in its first week itself!
50 Cent’s songs include “Wanksta,” “21 Questions” (featuring Nate Dogg) “P.I.M.P.” “If I Can’t” “Disco Inferno” “Candy Shop” (feat. Olivia) “Hate It Or Love It” (The Game feat. 50 Cent) “Piggy Bank” and “Just A Lil Bit.”
50 Cent got into the news for the wrong reasons again in 2002. He was taken in for questioning for the murder of his mentor Jam Master Jay. He was also under investigation for Murder Inc’s relationship to former drug dealer Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff. He was then later jailed on New Year’s Eve 2002 for gun possession. 50 Cent has signed a deal with Interscope Records to sign and develop artists under the imprint G-Unit Records. Soon after which he signed more hip-hop artists to his entourage, which included Olivia, Mobb Deep, Spider Loc, M.O.P., 40 Glocc, and Young Hot Rod.
2007 – Curtis
Curtis featured number two on the US Billboard 200 Chart, as it sold 691,000 copies within its first week of release. It was an album of a more personal nature, where 50 Cent, spoke about his life and his struggles before fame came his way. His eight album was released in 2009, and was titles as, Before I Self Destruct. It was put together before the release of Curtis, but was placed aside for later use.
50 Cents has made a name for himself in a variety of other fields, with his acting career and more movies in the pipeline. He has worked on video games and done voice overs for the likes. He has tried to bring back the old school hip-hop back into the mainstream while adapting new age music to his style.