Name: Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson
Profession: Singer, Actor, Producer
Birth Date: July 6, 1975
Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), commonly known by his rap name 50 Cent, is an African-American gangsta rapper who rose to fame following the success of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' and The Massacre. 50 Cent achieved multi-platinum success with both albums, selling nearly 22 million albums worldwide. 50 Cent is known for his gangsta image, and prides himself on having been shot at nine times and surviving the ordeal.
50 Cent grew up in the South Jamaica, Queens, New York in poverty-stricken circumstances. When he was eight years old, his mother was murdered in her home in a drug deal, and 50 Cent moved in with his grandparents. He soon became immersed in the drug trade, hustling around his native neighborhood by the name of "Boo Boo." By embracing that reputation, 50 Cent built a large following in New York well before he ever signed a major record deal.
50 Cent met up with Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC and was signed to his label to write all of his music. After leaving Jam Master Jay, he teamed up with the hip-hop production duo Track Masters. 50 Cent was signed to Columbia Records in 1999. The controversial single "How to Rob," an ode to robbing a slew of industry rappers, was a hit on the radio. The next single, "Ghetto Qu'ran," started a feud with the drug kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff who was the leader of the New York gang called the "Supreme Team." In the song he says, "'Preme was the business man and prince (Supreme's cousin) was the killer." His debut album Power of the Dollar was shelved, and subsequently 50 Cent left Columbia Records shortly after being shot in 2000.
Eminem first heard 50 Cent on one of his mix tapes, which he brought to Dr. Dre's attention. Eminem expressed interest in the rapper on MTV and soon thereafter 50 Cent was officially signed to Interscope Records. The rapper was also the first to sign onto a joint effort between Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. Interscope marketed 50 Cent as the "real deal," and his appearance on the 8 Mile Soundtrack ("Wanksta") immediately went into heavy rotation on BET, MTV, and radio stations across the country.
In its first week of release, his debut Get Rich Or Die Tryin' sold 872,000 copies. 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 six times platinum by the RIAA.
In 2003, 50 Cent and other members of G-Unit released their first mix tape, with DJ Whoo Kid. The mix tape featured remixes to songs released already, as well as multiple underground/unreleased tracks. Rapper Snoop Dogg was featured on many of the tracks, as well as on the cover art work. Since that initial release, G-Unit artists have released 20 other mix tapes with DJ Whoo Kid.
In 2005, 50 Cent released his sophomore album, The Massacre. It was originally entitled St. Valentine's Day Massacre, but the title changed when the album release date was set back. He scored a hit with the album's first two singles, "Disco Inferno" and "Candy Shop." The third single, "Just A Lil' Bit" peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Interscope then granted 50 Cent his own label, G-Unit Records. 50 Cent appointed his manager Sha Money XL as the president. The label signed on Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck as the established members of G-Unit. In 2004, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent had signed The Game under a joint venture. 50 Cent also signed Olivia and Mobb Deep to G-Unit Records in 2005. The rapper is also reportedly planning to sign Spider Loc, M.O.P., and Mase from Bad Boy Records. 50 Cent has expressed interest in working with other rappers outside of G-Unit, such as Freeway of Roc-A-Fella Records.
50 Cent has used his fame to advance his career beyond just music. 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 the drink Vitamin Water and his own clothing line. 50 Cent also appeared on an episode of The Simpsons entitled "Pranksta Rap" in February 2005.
In addition, a video game starring 50 Cent, called "50 Cent: Bulletproof," is available on PlayStation 2, Xbox and PlayStation Portable.
50 Cent also starred in the semi-autobiographical 2005 film Get Rich or Die Tryin' directed by Jim Sheridan, and co-starring Joy Bryant and Terrence Howard. He also released a memoir about his life up to his success entitled From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens. The book was released on August 9, 2005. He has other books planned for release in 2007.
Before even signing to Eminem and Dr. Dre's label, 50 Cent was engaged in a well-publicized dispute with rival rapper Ja Rule and his label Murder Inc. Records. The rappers engaged in numerous mix tape "disses," but have since ended the conflict. The conflict stemmed from the rapper'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 not talking to police, 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. 50 Cent accused Ja Rule of "singing" instead of rapping. Ja Rule retaliated, accusing him of insulting other rappers to gain fame. 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 In My Eye was released, leading 50 Cent to dismiss the interview as a blatant publicity stunt. 50 Cent has not commented much on Ja Rule's and Irv Gotti's situation.
50 Cent also has a rivalry with Shyne, Nas, 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 had painted a target on themselves for partnering up with Ja Rule while filming a video in which the rapper took shots at him. He recorded the track "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, Fat Joe made a disparaging comment about G-Unit during a performance at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. 50 Cent and G-Unit retaliated on set by shouting obscenities toward Fat Joe and Terror Squad.
On the song "Love Me" off the 8 Mile soundtrack, 50 Cent criticizes 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. He also has a long-standing dispute with former friends Bang 'Em Smurf and Domination over internal conflicts.
50 Cent also had a feud with Jay-Z over 50 Cent's mention of him on "How to Rob" and Jay-Z responded with a line in his song "It's Hot." 50 Cent responded with "Be a Gentleman." The track was never heard by many due to the rapper's departure from Columbia Records. 50 Cent and Jay-Z eventually settled their "beef."
50 Cent currently has an escalating feud with The Game. The Game, who was previously 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 after a confrontation outside the Hot 97 radio station. As the situation 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. The Game during a performance at the Summer Jam launched a boycott called "G-Unot."
After the performance at Summer Jam, The Game responded with a rough song "300 Bars And Runnin,'" which directly addresses 50 Cent and G-Unit. 50 Cent had mixed feelings towards the insulting record, but nevertheless responded through his "Piggybank" video, which features The Game dressed as a Mr. Potato Head and parodies many other rivals. After numerous songs aimed at G-Unit, 50 Cent had responded to the The Game's rebuttals with an insulting song titled "Not Rich, Still Lyin.'" The song imitates The Game and attacks his credibility and his recent feud with his brother, Big Fase 100. This was the first of many feuds where two rappers from the same label were involved against each other.