From South Jamaica to Worldwide Fame
Born in the South Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, began his journey towards a musical career in 2000. He produced Power of the Dollar for Columbia Records, but the album was shelved after he was shot just days before its planned release.
A Meteoric Rise
50 Cent’s rise to fame began in earnest in 2002 when his mixtape Guess Who’s Back? caught the attention of superstar rapper Eminem. Soon after, he was signed to Shady Records, under the umbrella of Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records.
50 Cent’s debut major-label album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003) was a commercial smash hit. The album spawned the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles “In da Club” and “21 Questions” (featuring Nate Dogg) and achieved a remarkable 9× Platinum certification from the RIAA.
The Birth of G-Unit Records
In the same year, 50 Cent founded G-Unit Records, signing his G-Unit associates Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo. As the de facto leader of the East Coast hip-hop group G-Unit, he continued his streak of success.
His second album, The Massacre (2005), featuring the hit single “Candy Shop” (featuring Olivia), replicated his previous success. 50 Cent’s musical direction evolved with his fifth album, Animal Ambition (2014), and he is currently working on his sixth studio album.
A Multifaceted Talent
Not just a music artist, 50 Cent has made a name for himself in the world of television and film. He executive-produced and starred in the hit television series Power (2014–2020) and is set to produce its upcoming spin-offs. As an actor, he appeared in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), the war film Home of the Brave (2006), and the crime thriller Righteous Kill (2008).
Awards and Accolades
With sales of over 30 million albums worldwide, 50 Cent’s achievements are numerous. He has won a Grammy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, thirteen Billboard Music Awards, six World Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and four BET Awards.
Billboard ranked 50 Cent as the 17th best rapper of all time in their ’50 Greatest Rappers’ list (2023) and named him the sixth top artist of the 2000s decade. Rolling Stone ranked Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and “In da Club” in its lists of the “100 Best Albums of the 2000s” and “100 Best Songs of the 2000s” at numbers 37 and 13, respectively.
As 50 Cent continues to make waves in the entertainment industry, his impact on music, television, and film is undeniable. His journey from the streets of South Jamaica to worldwide fame is a testament to his talent and tenacity.