As a teen, he followed the lead of his mother and began hustling.The crack trade proved lucrative for 50 Cent, until he eventually encountered the law, that is, and got arrested repeatedly in 1994. C.'s Jam Master Jay, who gave him a tape of beats and asked him to rap over it.
It's around this point in time that he traded crime for hip-hop. Impressed by what he heard, Jay signed the aspiring rapper to his JMJ Records label.
Not much resulted from the deal, though, and 50 Cent affiliated himself with Trackmasters, a commercially successful New York-based production duo known for their work with such artists as Nas and Jay-Z.
This willingness to rap openly and brashly and the attention it attracted came back to haunt him, however.
His first post-success brush with death came shortly after the release of "How to Rob," when he was stabbed at the Hit Factory studio on West 54th Street in Manhattan. On May 24, 2000, just before Columbia was set to release Power of the Dollar, an assassin attempted to take 50 Cent's life on 161st Street in Jamaica, Queens (near where Jam Master Jay would later be fatally shot two and half years later), shooting him nine times with a 9mm pistol while the rapper sat helpless in the passenger seat of a car.
Born Curtis James Jackson III on July 6, 1975, and raised in Southside Jamaica, Queens, New York City, 50 Cent grew up in a broken home.
His hustler mother passed away when he was only eight, and his father departed soon after, leaving his grandmother to parent him.
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Though he would later struggle with the nature of his fame as well as market expectations, 50 Cent endured substantial obstacles throughout his young yet remarkably dramatic life before becoming the most discussed figure in rap, if not pop music in general, circa 2003.
As a result, his music crossed over to the pop market, appealing to both those who liked his roughneck posturing and rags-to-riches story as well as those who liked his knack for churning out naughty singalong club tracks.
And too, 50 Cent didn't forget about his posse.
Before Get Rich dropped, though, Eminem debuted 50 Cent on the 8 Mile soundtrack.