By Theo Bark, The Boombox
In some ways, 50 Cent's life story reads like any other MC's. He sold drugs, got shot, became the biggest rapper in the world, made unbelievably successful business deals and went on to act alongside his favorite gangster movie stars. While virtually every rapper has made similar claims, from Nas to Jay-Z, 50's story is unique in that it actually happened, and can be supported by the public record.
The 37-year-old native of the South Jamaica neighborhood in New York City's Queens, was born Curtis Jackson and began selling drugs at 12, received a six-month jail sentence at 16, launched a late, not-especially-noteworthy rap career at 21, then his desperate 1999 single "How to Rob" earned him the ire of his would-be peers and nine bullet wounds. Surviving the attack, 50 began recording mixtape tracks in Canada, as no U.S. recording studio would have him. He was shunned by the industry, while his popularity soared. His story excited fans, and he soon signed a reported $1 million record deal with Dr. Dre and Eminem, with whom he released his record-breaking Aftermath debut "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."
Though he was now one of rap's most popular figures, the former hip-hop pariah bore a hefty grudge, engaging in highly publicized beefs with Ja Rule, Fat Joe, Nas, Jadakiss, former G-Unit rappers Game and Young Buck, Diddy, Cam'ron, Lil Wayne and finally, Rick Ross, whom he ridiculed for having been a corrections officer.
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