American rapper and businessman 50 Cent (born Curtis James Jackson III) is best known for his streetwise raps who made a debut with the album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in 2003. As a prominent hip-hop artist, 50 Cent was the 21st century “gangsta” rap icon with several hits. He also branched out to business and be an actor. However, his career was filled with some conflicts and crimes.
The artist was born on July 6, 1975 in Southside Jamaica, Queens, New York and grew up living with his grandmother. His mother was a single mother who worked as a drug dealer before she passed away when 50 Cent was 8 years-old. The 12 year-old 50 Cent started selling drugs and he was arrested by the police for selling cocaine and had heroin at home. He then went to a boot camp and started rapping with the nickname ’50 Cent’. His career began when he met a producer Jam Master Jay who worked for his album, but it was never released. 50 Cent also began rapping under the Columbia Records, but unfortunately his debut with the album Power of the Dollar, turned out to be a failure. However, the title “How to Rob” made his name famous, despite receiving controversies.
In 2000, after he recovered from a shooting incident, he came back to music and created low-budget recordings with his friends as a group G-Unit. Their mixtape was noticed by Eminem and Dr. Dre who was impressed with the song “Guess Who’s Back?” in 2002. 50 Cent then signed a record deal to Aftermath Entertainment and Shady Records. After getting the help from Dr. Dre and Eminem, 50 Cent made a major breakthrough with his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’. It successfully sold 9 million units, boosted by the mega hits “In Da Club” and “Wanksta”. 50 Cent rose to fame, was known for his based-on-real-life-experienced lyrics.
The success followed with the sophomore The Massacre, an album that talks about crime, drugs, and sex that was released in 2005. The album, which featured “Just a Lil Bit” and “Candy Shop”, was commercially successful and reached at the top on the Billboard 200. He continued to dominate the music charts with his albums, the 2007 Curtis and the 2009 Before I Self Destruct. 50 Cent’s life background as a survivor of drugs and violence and a transformed criminal made his position more secured as a multi talented artist.
He branched out to acting with his appearance in some movies and television shows. He took a supporting role and became the executive producer in a drama titled Power, since 2014. He also showed his acting skills in two sequels of Escape Plan (2013), played in Spy (2015) and Den of Thieves (2018). In addition to acting and rapping, 50 Cent expanded his brand by releasing a video game 50 Cent: Bulletproof and signed a contract to the mega brand Reebok for his brand line, G-Unit Sneakers. In 2007 and 2008, he founded film production companies, G-Unit Films and an independent film production company Cheetah Vision.
He faced several legal and financial problems during his career. He was sued for releasing a sex tape online without the victim’s consent. He was also arranged by the Bankruptcy Court to pay his creditors $23 million over five years, but managed to pay after months in 2016. 50 Cent also sold his mansion in the same year.