50 Cent

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Biography

Love him or hate him, 50 Cent's influence in the rap game is undeniable. While some rappers knowingly exaggerate or even completely fabricate claims of street cred and jail time, 50 Cent does not have to - he grew up hard. Born Curtis James Jackson III in the rough neighborhood of South Jamaica in New York City, he never got to meet his father and his mother was killed at the age of eight. By the time he moved into his grandmother's home in 1983, Curtis began finding comfort in the streets.

Jackson began selling drugs just out of elementary school, and began boxing competitively at the age of fourteen - even competing in the Junior Olympics. He was arrested on drug and weapon related charges at the age of sixteen, and continued to sell drugs after his departure from high school to a military-style boot camp, where he eventually earned his GED. Curtis was arrested again in 1994, after selling cocaine to an undercover police officer. For all his time on the streets, though, Jackson did one thing right - he learned how to rap.

What began as a side project with a mixer in a friend's basement became a passion. Adopting the moniker 50 Cent (a tribute to Kelvin Martin, a notorious Brooklyn gangster from the 1980's who would rob anything from anyone - hence his nickname 50 Cent), Curtis learned the art of rap from one of the genre's founders, Jam Master Jay, in the late 1990's. 50 Even recorded an album with Jay, though it was never released. After releasing a number of semi-comical regionally infamous diss tracks - including "How To Rob", in which 50 outlines a plan to rob Jay-Z, Wu Tang Clan, DMX, and Mike Tyson - at the height of his amateur career, 50 Cent was attacked by an unknown assailant and shot nine times in early 2000. Though 50 survived with minimal injuries, his involvement in a shooting caused him to be blacklisted by the American music community at large, and 50 had to move to Canada to continue recording.

In 2002, rapper Eminem heard 50 Cent's Canadian-recorded mixtape Guess Who's Back?, and immediately flew him to Los Angeles to meet his mentor, legendary West Coast producer Dr. Dre. Impressed, the duo's influence grabbed 50 a recording contract with Interscope, the label on which 50 Cent released his first album Get Rich or Die Tryin' in 2003. Hyped into the stratosphere due to Eminem and Dre's influence, Get Rich or Die Tryin' nonetheless garnered immense praise from critics and went on to sell over 6.3 million copies by the end of 2002. Get Rich or Die Tryin' produced four singles: "In Da Club", "21 Questions", "P.I.M.P.", and "If I Can't". The album also brought 50 Cent's crew, G-Unit to fame, jumpstarting the careers of The Game, Young Buck, Tony Yayo, Olivia, and many others.

50 Has since released two more albums on Interscope, The Massacre in 2005 and Curtis in 2007. Both have been very successful, record-breaking albums in their own right, but some critics believe that neither are as good as Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Nonetheless, the two albums have produced more than their fair share of hits, including "Candy Shop", "Amusement Park", "I Get Money", and Disco Inferno.

50 plans to release his fourth album, Before I Self Destruct, sometime in 2008. In addition to his rap career, 50 Cent is a successful entrepreneur who has his hand in a number of businesses, including a clothing line (G-Unit Clothing), the video game industry (50 produced a video game entitled 50 Cent: Bulletproof for Xbox and PlayStation 2 in 2005), and a line of condoms and personal fragrances. 50 Cent is also an established actor; after starring in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin' in 2005 and the war drama Home of the Brave in 2006, the rapper is set to appear in a 2008 police thriller titled Righteous Kill alongside Robert De Niro.

From Discogs:

Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) and The Massacre (2005). Both albums achieved multi-platinum success, selling over eleven million copies combined.Born in South Jamaica, Queens, 50 Cent began drug dealing at the age of twelve during the 1980s crack epidemic. After leaving drug dealing to pursue a rap career, he was shot nine times in 2000. After releasing his album Guess Who's Back? in 2002, 50 Cent was discovered by rapper Eminem and signed to Interscope Records. With the help of Eminem and Dr. Dre - who produced his first major commercial successes - he became one of the world's highest selling rappers. In 2003, he founded the record label G-Unit Records, which signed several successful rappers such as Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo.50 Cent has engaged in feuds with other rappers including Ja Rule, The Game, Fat Joe and most recently Rick Ross. He has also pursued an acting career, appearing in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin' in 2005, the Iraq War film Home of the Brave in 2006, and Righteous Kill in 2008.

From Lastfm:

Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975 in South Jamaica, Queens, New York), better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is a Grammy award nominated rapper, actor, singer, entrepreneur, author and founder of the hip hop group and label G-Unit. After leaving drug dealing to pursue a rap career, he released his debut album Guess Who's Back? in 2002. He was discovered by Eminem and Dr. Dre and then signed to Interscope Records. He has since released 2003's Get Rich or Die Tryin', 2005's The Massacre, 2007's Curtis and 2009's Before I Self Destruct.

Read more about 50 Cent on Last.fm.

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From Wikipedia:

Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, entrepreneur, investor, and actor. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) and The Massacre (2005). His album Get Rich or Die Tryin' has been certified eight times platinum by the RIAA.

Born in the South Jamaica of Queens, New York City, Jackson began drug dealing at the age of twelve during the 1980s crack epidemic. After leaving drug dealing to pursue a rap career, he was shot at and struck by nine bullets during an incident in 2000. After releasing his album Guess Who's Back? in 2002, Jackson was discovered by rapper Eminem and signed to Interscope Records. With the help of Eminem and Dr. Dre, who produced his first major commercial successes, Jackson became one of the world's highest selling rappers. In 2003, he founded the record label G-Unit Records, which signed several successful rappers such as Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo.

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