50 Cent's controversial music and image has attracted a great deal of media attention, as have his conflicts with numerous groups and artists. Rarely has one individual concurrently garnered quite so much popularity and controversy.
Curtis James Jackson III (also known as Fitty) was born on July 6, 1975, in Queens, N.Y. 50 was born into a poverty-stricken family, and his mother was murdered in a drug deal when he was 8. His father died soon afterward.
50 went to live with his grandparents and soon became heavily involved in the drug trade, going by the name "Boo Boo." 50 developed a large following in New York long before he ever signed a record deal.
In 1996, 50 met Jam Master Jay from Run DMC and was signed to his label. There he really began to learn the world of professional hip-hop.
After he left Jam Master Jay, 50 Cent joined with TrackMasters, a hip-hop production duo, and signed with Columbia Records in 1999. His single, "How to Rob," became a radio hit. Shortly after the release of that song, 50 was stabbed at the Hit Factory studio in Manhattan.
His next single, "Ghetto Qu'ran," began a feud with drug kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, who led the New York gang Supreme Team and who would later be suspected in the death of Jam Master Jay.
In May 2000, an assassin tried to kill 50, shooting him nine times in Jamaica, Queens, while he sat in the passenger seat of a car. He barely survived, but when Colombia heard about the incident, they shelved his first album, "Power of the Dollar."
Around this time, 50 was involved in a public dispute with fellow rapper Ja Rule and his label "Murder Inc." There was a lot of publicity surrounding the feud, and the two exchanged words many times, but they've since ended their conflict.
It originally started with 50's alleged stealing of Ja Rule's jewelry, which led to a fight and 50 getting stabbed. It became one of the most well-known feuds in rap history, with other rappers, including Eminem, eventually getting involved.
50 has also had rivalries with several other rappers, including Shyne, Nas, Joe Budden, Fat Joe, Jadakiss and D-Block.
In the early 2000s, Eminem heard 50 Cent on a mix tape, and told gangsta rap icon Dr. Dre about him. He also spoke about 50 on MTV. 50 then became the first artist to be signed onto a joint effort between Dr. Dre's "Aftermath Entertainment" and Eminem's "Shady Records."
50's song "Wangsta" appeared on the soundtrack for Eminem's movie "8 Mile," and it began rotation on MTV, BET and radio stations all over the country.
50's debut album "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" sold 872,000 copies. It got certified gold in its first week, and platinum in its second. It broke the record for the first week's sales of any major label debut in the history of Soundscan. In April 2004, the album was certified six times platinum by the RIAA.
The G-Unit debut "Beg for Mercy" hit shelves in 2003, and it soon went platinum. There was also a series of mix-tapes with DJ WhooKid being released around this time. Rappers Lloyd Banks and Young Buck contributed tracks, and in 2004 The Game also became a member of G-Unit.
However, in 2005, 50 announced on New York's Hot 97 that The Game was out of G-Unit. After this announcement, people associated with both 50 Cent and The Game gathered outside the radio station. A fight broke out, and shots were fired, hitting one of The Game's crew in the leg with a bullet.
While this was happening, bootleg copies of 50's next album, "The Massacre," were being leaked all over the Internet, forcing Interscope to push up the release date.
The first two singles "Disco Inferno" and "Candy Shop," were both hits. "Just a Lil' Bit,' the third single, reached No. 3 on the charts.
Soon afterward, 50 was given his own label by Interscope, "G-Unit Records." He appointed his manager, Sha Money XL, to be the president of the new label. The label signed Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck as established members of G-Unit, and he later signed The Game in a joint venture with Dr. Dre.
Then, in 2005, he signed Olivia and Mobb Deep. He hopes to sign several other rappers, and has expressed interest in working with some artists from other labels.
In February of the same year, he was featured on an episode of "The Simpsons" called "Pranksta Rap."
50 worked with Reebok to create his own G-Unit sneakers, a well as creating his own clothing line. He also a self-titled video game "50 Cent: Bulletproof," for Playstation 2, Xbox and PSP.
Also in 2005, 50 starred in the semi-autobiographical movie "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." He also released his own memoir entitled, "From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens."
Power of the Dollar
Released: September 12, 2000
Guess Who's Back?
Released: May 21, 2002
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Released: February 6, 2003
Released: March 3, 2005
Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Soundtrack)
Released: November 8, 2005