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July 6, 1976
50 Cent biography
50 Cent is being touted as the hottest rapper in the music industry.
But when you tell him this, the twenty-seven year-old will quickly deny it by saying the man
who signed him, Eminem, is the hottest rapper. |
More so than any other music since the blues, hip-hop is all about stories.
And its stories are both criminal minded and grand, making them enthralling and unbelievable,
but also making them only as interesting and convincing as the teller.
That's why, despite being blackballed by the industry, without a major-label recording contract,
heads still gravitated to Jamaica, Queens' realest son, 50 Cent, like the planets to the sun.
Grimy, streetwise and absolutely fearless, 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson,
has dealt with more in his 26 years than most deal with in an entire lifetime.
Raised without a father, 50 lost his mother when she was found dead of
before he was a teenager and the orphaned rapper was taken in by his grandparents.
After a crash course in street life on the infamous New York Avenue, now known as Guy R.
Brewer Blvd., 50 amassed a heavy rep and a lengthy rap sheet.
It wasn't until his son was born that 50 entered the rap game with the intent to win.
He signed with JMJ, the label of Run DMC DJ, Jam Master Jay, and began crafting his skills.
When the platinum hit makers The Trackmasters took notice of 50 and signed him to Columbia Records
in 1999, his breakthrough seemed inevitable. They shipped 50 to upstate New York and locked him up
in the studio. In just over two weeks, 50 cranked out 36 songs, which resulted in Power of a Dollar,
which Blaze Magazine deemed a classic.
The album produced a sarcastic stick-up anthem
called "How to Rob" which blew through the roof and playfully depicted
a ruthless up-and-comer detailing how he would rob famous artists like Master P and Timbaland.
The song became an underground hit but not everyone was impressed. Jay-Z, Big Pun, Sticky Fingaz
and Ghostface Killah all replied to the song. "It wasn't personal. It was comedy based on truth,
which made it so funny," claimed 50 Cent.
Amidst the controversy and a potential
breakout cut, "Thug Love" with Destiny's Child, heavy bootlegging tainted Columbia's
position on the controversial 50 and they pulled the album.
Then, in April of 2000,
50 was shot nine times, including a nine millimeter bullet to the face. He spent
the next few months recovering and Columbia Records promptly dropped him from the label.
Despite a lack of backing and money, 50 teamed up with new business partner
Sha Money XL and produced over 30 new songs with the sole purpose of creating a buzz on the underground tip.
The recordings spread through New York on black market CDs and mix-tapes like a virus and the rapper
eventually released the new material independently on the makeshift LP, Guess Who's Back?
Beginning to attract interest, and now backed by the G-Unit crew, 50 kept grinding out more songs.
With a red, white and blue bootleg called 50 Cent is the Future circulating, the 50 Cent spark was
turning into a five-alarm fire. In the midst of a major-label bidding war between Jive, Universal
and J, according to reports, Eminem began proclaiming repeatedly that 50 Cent was his favorite rapper.
After consulting with Dr. Dre, Eminem ended up signing 50 to his Shady/Aftermath label, reportedly for
over a million dollars. 50 has made it clear, though, that it wasn't the money that lured him
to the Shady side of the tracks; it was the opportunity to work with the "dream team."
In the wake of the deal, 50 Cent was becoming hailed as the most anticipated newcomer in almost a decade.
Never one to miss an opportunity, 50 quickly released a track called "Wanksta"
which found a home on Eminem's multi-platinum 8 Mile soundtrack.
With several huge hits already under his belt, 2003 could be 50's year.
Promising an LP up to the snuff of rap classics like Illmatic, Ready to Die and Reasonable Doubt,
50 has big footprints to follow. But with production from both Dre and Eminem, an infectious,
rugged flow and a vicious sense of humor, 50 Cent just might Get Rich or Die Trying.
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