From Dealing Crack To Getting Shot To Grammys And Controversies. This Is The Legendary Rapper 50 Cent
50 Cent: life and work, dealing crack and the Grammys. The rapper's profile is full of ups and downs.
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The musician behind hits like Candy Shop, In Da Club or Just A Lil Bit grew up in poverty and was arrested for dealing crack at just 12 years old. Despite adversity, he reached the top of the world charts, but not all that glitters is gold.
Rough childhood and trouble with the police
Popular rapper 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson, was born in 1975 in New York. His mother was a drug dealer and was murdered when Curtis was only eight years old. The rapper never knew his father, so his grandparents took care of him. They housed the young man in a windowless basement and led him to study diligently and engage in sports.
When Curtis was eleven years old, he started boxing. Thanks to his talent, he even participated in the Junior Olympics, but he soon lost interest in the sport and went astray. At just 12 years old, he started selling crack under the nickname Boo Boo, for which he was later expelled from high school. In 1994, he was even arrested twice and placed in an institution for juvenile delinquents. “You have to grow up faster on the South Side. I made a lot of mistakes. I've been in the trap before. I remember my grandmother coming to see me, she's my angel...she loved me unconditionally," he recalled on Oprah's Next Chapter.
It was after those events that Curtis started calling himself 50 Cent. The moniker he took from Brooklyn thief Celvin "50 Cent" Martin was to serve as a symbol of his rebirth.
Luck smiled on the troubled boy in 1998. That's when the rap band Run-D.M.C. signed him to their label and taught him everything about writing lyrics. 50 Cent then appeared for the first time on the Onyx group's React track, and a year later he signed a contract with Columbia Records. The producers were excited, the young talented rapper wrote six successful songs in two weeks, and the businessmen rubbed their hands. In 2000, 50 Cent's album Power of the Dollar was supposed to be released, but within a few days everything changed.
The crack king had 50 Cent shot nine times
In May 2000, 50 Cent was shot nine times. It happened when he was only 25 years old, right in front of his grandmother's house in Queens, New York.
"It was May 24, around twelve o'clock in the afternoon. I went out and saw my grandmother. She was bent over in the garden, planting flowers. I wanted to get into the car in which my friend was waiting for me, but a car stopped from the other side, a man got out and started shooting," 50 Cent commented on the shooting.
The attacker fired nine shots at the rapper. He hit him in the legs, hands, arms, face and chest. "It doesn't hurt as much as people imagine. Because of the adrenaline. But it hurts afterwards. When someone seriously injures you like that, you either get consumed by fear or you become a little desensitized,” he added.
50 Cent then spent 13 days in the hospital. Meanwhile, the police caught the attacker, dead. A certain Darryl Baum tried to kill the rapper, but he did so on the instructions of the crack king Kenneth McGriff, who wanted revenge on the rapper for the song Ghetto Qu'ran describing his criminal past. McGriff received a life sentence.
Guess Who’s Back
After the attack, the rapper moved to Canada, where he recorded around 30 songs for various DJs. Some were so good that his producer Sha Money XL decided to release them on the 50 Cent Is The Future mixtape. Subsequently, 50 Cent released the compilation album Guess Who's Back, which ended up in the hands of Eminem. The rapper handed over the recording to Dr. Dre, head of the Aftermath Entertainment label, and he signed 50 Cent. A new era is here.
Shortly after, 50 Cent recorded his first debut Get Rich Or Die Tryin' and immediately found himself in the spotlight. The studio debut sold 872,000 copies in the first week alone in the United States, and the tracks from the album ruled the world charts for a long time. In Da Club, Wanksta, P.I.M.P. or 21 Questions - these are songs that 50 Cent fans still love today.
The rapper then released one album after another and mostly celebrated great successes. Beg for Mercy sold over 3 million units, The Massacre became the second best-selling record of its year with over 4.8 million units, and Curtis has over 3 million fans at home. In 2010, 50 Cent won a Grammy Award for his collaboration on Eminem's song Crack a Bottle.
50 Cent as a producer, actor and director
Apart from music, the rapper has always been close to acting. In 2005, he voiced his own character in The Simpsons, then starred in the feature film Get Rich or Die Tryin', and a year later fans could see him in the post-war drama Home of the Brave. Since 2015, he has devoted himself more to film production than to music. He founded the production company G-Unit Film and Television Inc., under which series such as Power, The Oath or Black Mafia Family were created.
In 2017, the BET station also included 50 Cent's own talk show called 50 Central on television screens. During 2020 to 2021, he produced the series Power Book II: Ghost, For Life, and Power Book III: Raising Kanan. His next spin-off Power Book IV: Force is set to premiere this year. 50 Cent thus became not only a successful rapper, but also a producer. His own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was even unveiled in January 2020. In the same year, 50 Cent also published the non-fiction book Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter.
The rapper spoke out against gay people and autistic people
50 Cent is undoubtedly one of hip-hop's most successful moguls, but his behavior in his personal life is hard to put on a pedestal. In the past, the rapper has dissed his peers including Jay-Zo, Will Smith, Ja Rul and many more. In addition, he also leaned into all gay people in 2004.
"I'm not a faggot. I don't like gay people around me, I'm not comfortable with it, as well as their thoughts. I'm not biased. I just don't want to be friends with gay people, we have nothing in common," he said in an interview with Playboy.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation immediately responded to the statement, calling 50 Cent a homophobe and urging him to get to know LGBTQ+ people. "He'll discover he has more in common with us than he thinks," according to GLAAD.
The rapper also made homophobic remarks about popular influencer Perez Hilton, who proudly supports LGBTQ+ people. On his blog, he got angry over 50 Cent's homophobic statements, and the rapper's reaction was not long in coming. “Perez Hilton called me a moron, so I had my homie shoot a gay wedding. It wasn't his but I still felt better,” 50 Cent tweeted.
Another wave of controversy descended upon the rapper when he posted a video on his social networks verbally attacking an autistic boy. It happened in May 2016, when 50 Cent was waiting for his plane, and to cut a long time, he verbally assaulted a recent high school graduate, Andrew Farrell. After receiving criticism for the video, the rapper apologized, saying he thought Farrell was high and didn't think he might be living with autism. "It was certainly not my intention to offend you, I wish your family only the best," the apology read.
It didn't take long, and just two years later, 50 Cent was once again being looked down on by the whole world. The rapper downplayed the sexual assault that actor and American football player Terry Crews spoke about. "He came up to me, grabbed my private parts and was smiling. (…) We left, I was afraid to hurt him because I would go to jail," the actor described the behavior of one of the Hollywood moguls. In response, 50 Cent posted two photos of Crews on his Instagram account, captioned: “Lol what the f*ck is going on here man? Terry: I froze with fear. They should take me to jail.” While Crews ignored the post, people turned their backs on the rapper.
Despite the multiple controversies, and not having released a solo album since 2014, 50 Cent is still standing prominently among the legends of hip-hop.
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