Curtis Jackson, known as 50 Cent, is a hip hop artist and businessman who became famous for his streetwise raps and rags to riches life story. After an early life of crime, drugs, and violence, he turned to rap, rocketing to stardom with the album “Get Rich” or “Die Tryin” in 2003. One of the leading figures in early 21st-century “gangsta” rap, with side projects including the hip hop group G-Unit, investments in soda water companies and video games, 50 Cents has since branched out to become an actor and businessman. His career has been littered with feuds with other rappers, arrests, and legal and financial difficulties, while his recent recording output has been sporadic.
50 cent was born Curtis James Jackson III on July 6, 1975, in the borough of Queens in New York City. He was raised by a single mother in the neighborhood of Jamaica. His mom worked as a drug dealer and died in an unexplained fire when Jackson was only eight years old, after her death, he was raised by his grandmother.
Jackson had boyhood aspirations to be a boxer, and fought at the junior level, but began selling drugs when he was 12. At the age of 19, an undercover police officer arrested Jackson for selling four vials of cocaine and when his home was raided three weeks later, police found crack and heroin. Sentenced to three to- nine years, he instead went to a boot camp and got his GED. At this time, he was already rapping and took on the name 50 Cent, which was the original moniker of a Brooklyn crook from the 1980s.
His first important contact with the New York hip hop scene was an introduction to Jam Master Jay from the group Run-DMC. Jay was Master Jay from the group Run-DMC. Jay was impressed by Jackson’s rapping ability and produced an album for him, but it never came out. Jackson’s also made a false start with the Columbia label, recording an album that was shelved before its release. That album, “Power of the Dollar,” was later bootlegged and showcases Jackson’s confrontational style- on the track “How to Rob,” he details plans to steal from stars such as P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Missy Elliott.
In 2000, Jackson was the victim of a severe shooting incident that left him with multiple injuries. He returned to music after his recovery and made several low-budget recordings with his friends Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, as a crew called G-Unit. Their efforts came to the attention of Eminem and Dr. Dre, who heard 50 Cents “Guess Who’s Back?” mixtape in 2002, and signed him jointly to their labels, shady Records and Aftermath Entertainment.