50 Cent is a man owned by many names. From his birth name of Curtis James Jackson III to the professional names of Curtis Jackson and 50 Cent, there are many facets to this living legend. Born in the South Jamaica area of Queens, New York City in 1976, he lived a humble beginning alongside his drug-dealing mother and other only-child of a broken home. His mother tragically passed away due to his father's poisonous influence when 50 was a tender eight years of age. Her untimely death left him in survival mode.
Jackson became acquainted with the street life of the South Bronx's drug culture quickly. Finding what he believed to have been freedom on the streets, he turned to selling heroin and crack cocaine on the street corner but still managed to keep decent marks and beautiful dreams in school. However, during his teens, the money was becoming too attractive and hustling began taking away from his studies. He began storing weapons in his home, which ultimately ended in the police busting him during an investigation into his involvement in a house murder case. This led to him receiving a three-month home confinement sentence.
Back on the street in the late 90s, hip-hop was trending; heavyweights such as Diddy, Jay-Z and others had made a remarkable transformation from hoods to moguls and in the wave of that, 50 Cent was inspired immensely. Initially, he recorded music as a blatant diss in retaliation to gangstas giving him a hard time on the block. He gathered fame through artists like Ja Rule and such but didn't break the music world until the tune "50 Shot Ya" featuring "G - Unit.â€ It established him as a menacing character to be taken very seriously in that hood. In 2002, 50 encountered Eminem and played him â€œWankstaâ€ and in a quick time span of six months, he signed with Shady Records' and Aftermath imprints. His single â€œIn Da Clubâ€ hit "1" on the billboard chart making him Shady/Aftermath' s first "1" single.
50 began an independent empire from then on. He founded G-Unit Records and grew exponentially. In 2003, he released the "Get Rich or Die Tryin â€œalbum" which sold more than 8 million copies crediting him with the commercial success of the industry. 4 years later, he released â€œCurtisâ€ a departure from the same gangster narrative and in a sound of a wistful singer with more upbeat inflection tunes. Nevertheless, with almost deteriorating popularity, 50 bounced back, getting contracts from TV networks, starring in films, and being featured in magazines. In 2009, his "Before I Self Destruct" was an ambitious street project but was not as commercially pervasive as expected. In 2019, his music traveled to circles of a prestigious ascension. He received a BET award for lifetime achievement the same year, becoming the most paid hip-hop artist for remastering records, copyrights, and publishing through EMI and ASCAP.
In his other life outside music, he's become human rights activist, drug awareness promoter and a major digital influencer with over 25 million followers on social media platforms. Launching multiple clothing and retail brands, ventures in the food and beverage industry, and even aligning himself with many political affiliations, there is hardly anything that 50 has not tried his hand at. He curates a personal edition of CNN rants and often speaks out on oppression and cultural ills.
At the core, what actually defines 50 Cent is his groundbreaking musical presence. He ignites a narrative of early days of hip-hop by integrating his post-gangsta fears, witty line deliveries, and deep introspective meta-lyrics that touches people in almost every age across the globe. A poetic soul, introspective lyricist, scandal-filled money mogul, 20-time American Music Award and 11-time Grammy Award nominee; this is the real 50 Cent. He has conquered street musical badlands of the South Bronx and become a bold-face celebrity personality on the global stage.