50 Cent

Curtis Jackson—rapper, entrepreneur, TV producer—adopted the moniker 50 Cent from Kelvin Martin, an infamous Brooklyn stick-up kid who used the same name. Selling drugs from age 12, 50 led a rough life as he entered the rap game with a co-sign from Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC. In 1999, he released “How to Rob,” a song that jokingly described how he would relieve an array of A-list rappers of their prized possessions. On May 24, 2000, 50 was shot nine times in South Jamaica, Queens. Two years later, he reemerged with Guess Who’s Back?, a project that caught the attention of Eminem and that would help 50 sign with Shady/Aftermath. He continued his mixtape run, releasing a series of projects alongside Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, the original members of G-Unit, before dropping his studio debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, on February 6, 2003. The album included “In Da Club” and “Back Down,” a diss toward Ja Rule, with whom he’d beefed throughout his career. In 2005, he starred in a biopic named for the album. He went on to release a collection of projects and produce Power, a television series in its sixth season.

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