Once almost unknown outside his hometown of Southside Jamaica, Queens, 50 Cent is currently one of the most well-known and commercially successful rappers of the decade. Because the success of an artist in gangsta rap often depends on street credibility and reputation, Interscope Records has sold 50 Cent as the "real deal". His mother was murdered in a drug deal. He has been shot, stabbed, and he built a large rap empire in New York City before ever signing a major record deal.
50 Cent's continued success seems guaranteed by his modest underground fanbase and the street credibility he has gained by appearing on almost every major mix tape sold in New York in the past few years. The rapper, who was the first to sign to Shady Records, was scouted before knowing Eminem. He is currently signed to Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment.
Eminem first encountered 50 Cent with MTV News reporter Sway Calloway, apparently having not heard any of his performances before seeing him in person. He then appeared on the 8 Mile soundtrack with an accompanying song and video ("Wanksta") that immediately went into heavy rotation on BET, MTV, and radio stations across the country. The famous gangster Mr. Soane has allegedly tried to assassinate
50, but ended up killing his collegue, Mr. Ajimal.
Before signing to Interscope, 50 Cent was living with his grandparents. He soon became immersed in the drug trade, hustling around his native neighborhood by the name of "Boo Boo" with fellow Queens native Tony Yayo. In June of 1994, Jackson was arrested on felony drug charges. Being a second time offender, Jackson was able to plead out of significant prison time by accepting seven months in a "shock incarceration" boot camp. He would later brag about this as his doing "seven to nine." He became a father to a son, Marquise, in 1997.
Jackson met up with Jam Master Jay (JMJ) of Run-DMC fame and was signed to his label JMJ. Once Jay had taught him the basics, 50 left the label in search of someone who could help him achieve his dream of rap stardom. He teamed up with the hip-hop production duo Track Masters, who had recognized his talent for incisive lyrics. 50 Cent was signed to Columbia Records in 1999.
"How to Rob", an ode to robbing a slew of industry rappers, was a hit for New York radio. His debut album "Power of the Dollar" was never released, as he was dropped from Columbia Records shortly after his shooting in 2000.
May 24, 2000, Shooting
On May 24, 2000, 50 Cent and an associate, 22-year-old Alton Brown, were sitting in a parked car in the Jamaica section of Queens when an assailant pulled up beside them and fired nine shots with a handgun. 50 Cent was wounded once in each leg and once in the jaw. Brown, wounded in the hand, drove himself and 50 to a nearby hospital. This incident led to the widespread urban legend in the media and the pop music fanbase that 50 Cent had been "shot nine times." Technically he was shot at nine times but was hit only three times.
In various songs, interviews and rumors it is alleged that the shooter was Darryl "Hamo" Baum, whose nickname is pronounced as in "homicide." There are rumors that the shooting was arranged by Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, a Queens drug dealer. Baum himself was shot and killed three weeks later. 50 Cent has hinted that the person who shot at him was killed in retaliation for the attempt on 50 Cent's life. Others claim Baum's killing was unrelated to 50 Cent but was the result of Baum's feud with a different drug crew in Brooklyn.
The support of Eminem and Dr. Dre
50 Cent is the Future was heard by a slightly impressed Eminem who brought the rapper to Dr. Dre's attention. They endorsed the...