50 Cent Biography: Life and Career of the Rapper and Actor

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Born July 6th, 1975 in Queens, New York, 50 Cent spent his early adolescence in the streets but soon became interested in rap. Shortly after he survived multiple gun shot wounds, his music got him blacklisted by the American music industry. 50 Cent moved to Canada, where his talent shone through and got him discovered by Eminem. His first two records attained enormous success and made him one of rap's biggest stars. Meanwhile, he branched out into acting and also built a reputation for feuding with fellow rappers. He continues to make music and act today. In this video, takes a look at the life and career of 50 Cent.
You can find him in da club. Welcome to, and today we’re learning more about the life and career of 50 Cent.


Curtis James Jackson III was born July 6th, 1975 in Queens, New York. His single, teenaged mother raised him until her death in 1983, when the eight-year-old went to live with relatives. During this turbulent period, Jackson split his time between boxing and selling drugs. Following his arrest for bringing drugs to school, he was sent to a correctional boot camp. Shortly thereafter, he assumed the alias 50 Cent.

50 Cent

In the mid-‘90s, 50 Cent met Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay, and under his tutelage learned the basics of songwriting. After recording several tracks, 50 Cent was officially introduced to the public when he appeared on Onyx’s 1998 single, “React.” By decade’s end, he was signed to Columbia Records and working on his solo debut.

“How to Rob”

50 Cent immediately started making a name for himself with the gangsta rap track “How to Rob.” While critics praised its wittiness, the single also elicited negative feedback from rappers who were referenced in the song.

Shot Nine Times

Things took a turn for the worse in 2000: Fiddy was attacked and shot nine times, but miraculously survived to make a full recovery.


While in the hospital, he got more bad news: after the song “Ghetto Qur’an” leaked from his yet-to-be-released Power of the Dollar album, 50 Cent was let go from his label before the record could drop. Not only that, because he called out several influential drug traffickers in the song, 50 Cent was boycotted by the American recording industry.

Mixtapes in Canada

He then went to Canada to focus on making mixtapes. People took notice of 50 Cent once he released the Guess Who’s Back? compilation and his first mixtape with his hip hop group G-Unit, 50 Cent Is the Future.


His luck improved further when Eminem heard one of his tapes, and helped him land a record deal. What followed was Fiddy’s second mixtape, No Mercy, No Fear, as well as a top twenty single from the “8 Mile” soundtrack.

Stellar Debut

In 2003, 50 Cent’s solo debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, became an instant classic: adored by fans and hailed by critics, it premiered at the top of the Billboard 200 and sold over 800 thousand copies in the first four days. The hip hop album produced two chart-topping hits, and a number three single.


Later that year, 50 Cent founded G-Unit Records and signed his G-Unit crew, including Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck, to the imprint.

Successful Second Album

2005’s The Massacre was another hit and sold over a million copies in its first week. The Grammy-nominated disc sat atop the Billboard 200 for an impressive six weeks and spawned his third number one smash.

“Curtis” and Kanye West

The arrival of Fiddy’s third album coincided with the release of Kanye West’s third effort. The two rappers engaged in a sales competition leading to the 2007 release date, but 50 Cent lost when Curtis landed at number two, behind Graduation. Fiddy’s album sold over 200 thousand fewer copies than his rival’s, but it did include a top five single.

Declining Sales

Unfortunately, 50 Cent’s album sales continued declining: 2009’s Before I Self Destruct sold a meager 160 thousand copies in its first week, despite hitting the fifth position on the charts.

“5 (Murder by Numbers)”

Meanwhile, 50 Cent was working on the dance-inspired record Black Magic, but decided to shelve the project. He returned to his hip hop roots, and after many delays, 5 (Murder by Numbers) was finally scheduled for a 2012 street date.

Outside Interests and Acting

Outside music, 50 Cent became an entrepreneur by starting his own clothing company, book imprint, reality show and two film production companies. On top of several voice-over roles on TV and in video games, he carved himself an acting career in films like “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” “Righteous Kill,” “Streets of Blood,” and “All Things Fall Apart,” though many of his movies tanked.


50 Cent’s musical ability was crafted on the streets and honed in the studio. Through it all, his dedication to being the best has never waned. Despite the feuds he’s had with different artists, we love 50 Cent like a fat kid love cake.