He was born Curtis Jackson and hails from Queens, New York. The name 50 Cent is derived from 1980s Brooklyn robber, Kelvin Martin, who also used the name 50 Cent. Jackson commented on his name choice, "I'm the same kind of person 50 Cent was. I provide for myself by any means."
He had a record deal with Sony/Columbia Records in 1999-2000, but was shot on May 24, 2000, just before the record's release. He was hit nine times, mostly in the legs, but also in the jaw. Shortly after the shooting, Columbia refused to release the record, citing an alarmingly high amount of bootlegs of the unreleased CD, and dropped 50 from the label.
50 sold crack for years before and during his time with Columbia Records. At some times, he made $5,000 every day. At other times, he wound up in jail for extended stays.
The bullet wound in his jaw changed his voice, giving him a unique sound.
Tracks recorded with producer Money XL after getting dropped from Columbia created a buzz on the New York underground. Somehow, one of his tapes ended up in the hands of Eminem, who offered him more than a million dollars to sign with Shady/Aftermath Records (a division of Interscope).
His 2003 album, what many consider his official debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin', had to be released five days earlier than scheduled to thwart bootleggers. The album was one of the biggest debuts in history, selling 872,000 copies its first week. The only rapper to sell more albums in a week is Eminem.
50 says he doesn't mind the bootlegging because he believes that word of mouth will only help his sales in the long run.
He was arrested December 31, 2002 for having two unloaded guns in his SUV. Charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Some of his tattoos: Angry Clown, "Love And Hate," "SOUTH SIDE," "50," "Cold World," "G-Unit," "Marquise," "Sabrina" (his mom's name), Angel.
His mother died when he was 8. He was raised by his grandparents and never knew his father.
He was expelled in 10th grade for possession of crack. He got his GED while in jail.
In Fenruary 2008, he was ordered to pay an undisclosed sum to a photographer who claimed he was assaulted by the rapper. According to court reports, 50 Cent attacked a New York Post shutterbug named Jim Alcorn as he snapped the rapper leaving a jewellery shop in 2003. Alcorn allegedly sustained injuries in his neck and jaw, as a result of the attack. According to the photograph's lawyer Sanford Rubenstein, "A settlement was reached and all parties are satisfied."
He topped the Forbes
list of the richest rappers in 2008. He pulled in $150 million between June 2007 and June 2008, beating out Jay-Z, Diddy and Kanye West. This placed him second behind Oprah Winfrey, who earned $275 million in the same period. 50 Cent raked in $100 million of that when his stake in Vitamin Water's parent company, Glaceau, was bought by Coca-Cola. He's also generating big bucks with his popular G-Unit brand of clothes and shoes.
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He had an Apprentice
-like reality show in 2008 called The Mondy and the Power
. It was canceled after one season because of low ratings.
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Although there's a US law against buying or importing Cuban cigars, that didn't stop 50 Cent from requesting a box of Montecristo Cuban cigars to be delivered to his dressing room backstage on his 2007 tour.
In 2008 Taco Bell sent an open letter to 50 Cent, urging him to temporarily change his name to one of several other sub-dollar sums reflecting prices on their value menu range. Their publicity stunt backfired when the rapper successfully sued the restaurant chain for "diluting the value of his good name."
50 Cent was declared bankrupt in July 2015 after being ordered to pay $3 million to Rick Ross' baby mama, Lastonia Leviston, following his leak of her sex tape. The rapper described the bankruptcy as a "strategic business move."
50 Cent began boxing at about age 11, and during the mid-1980s, he competed in the Junior Olympics. He is now a licensed boxing promoter.
In 2003, 50 Cent bought a 52-room Farmington, Connecticut mansion, which was formerly owned by ex-boxer Mike Tyson.
50 Cent has had a long-running feud with Ja Rule. One phase involved 50 trolling his fellow rapper by purchasing 200 tickets in the front rows of a Ja Rule November 9, 2018 show in Texas, just to leave them gallingly empty.