His lockjaw delivery makes him look as gangsta as Marlon "the Godfather" Brando, but 50 Cent is no actor, folks. In fact, his unique articulation has to do with a hole in his jaw, the result of having taken a bullet in the face (along with eight other shots taken to the rest of his body). He managed to defeat the odds by leaving the street hustle behind before it was too late, transforming his life of crime into a profession in rhyme. Whether rapping about the streets, the clubs, or even certain candy shops, 50 has quickly emerged as one of hip-hop's most dominant and talked about superstars to date.
Born Curtis Jackson, the New York native was raised in a drug-infested area of South Jamaica, Queens, and so, naturally, he was introduced to the negative side of the ghetto at an early age. 50 never knew his father, and his mother was a crack cocaine dealer and addict who was murdered in her own home by an unknown assailant at the age of 23. Only 8 years old at the time, 50 moved in with his grandparents, where he eventually followed in the footsteps of his mother by the age of 12. In tenth grade, he was arrested and given juvenile probation for possession of narcotics. 50 dropped out of school shortly thereafter. He continued his hustle, but the law caught up with him again, this time twice in a matter of three weeks. Perhaps these arrests put things in perspective for young 50, because soon after, he began to show an interest in writing rhymes with a few of his buddies. One of his crew introduced him to the late Jam Master Jay of Run-D.M.C., who showed 50 the ropes and produced a few unreleased tracks for him.
Never losing focus, 50 moved on and recorded another album, Power of the Dollar, this time with Columbia Records. But two months before he was set to debut in 2000, he suffered those infamous nine point-blank gunshot wounds and was dropped from his label as a result. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however. Although the Power of the Dollar album was shelved, its catchiest single, "How to Rob," was featured in countless mix tapes circulating across the East Coast. And they inevitably made it to the West Coast and onto the Internet. The song became a turning point in 50's career. In it, he paints portraits of how he'd stick up random celebrities, from Mariah Carey to members of the Wu-Tang Clan to even Jay-Z. The single sparked not only controversy within the industry but also extreme popular demand from hip-hop fans.
His budding popularity, legendary invulnerability to bullets, and expertise in verbal assaults earned him the right to sign with Eminem and Dr. Dre in 2003. In doing so, he's sold more albums in two years (Get Rich or Die Tryin' and The Massacre) than most artists in any music genre can dream of selling in their entire careers. GameSpot recently filmed exclusive interviews with 50 Cent, the G-Unit, and the producer of the upcoming video game 50 Cent: Bulletproof. Watch the videos in this special feature for the latest on the world's premier rapper and his new video game. Sign me up to receive email updates on the latest news, contests and videos for 50 Cent and other Interscope Records artists.
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