50 Cent, pseudonym of Curtis James Jackson III (New York, July 6), is a US rapper, actor, entrepreneur and record producer. He became famous after the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003) and The Massacre (2005), through the record labels of Eminem and Dr. Dre, Shady Records and Aftermath, subsidiaries of Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope Records. Urban legend describes him as a pain in the ass, the classic self-filled character who never misses an opportunity to fight. Whether he does it to follow the dictation of his true nature or just to raise the classic fuss, good only to provide ample gossip material to the press, this will be left to the judgment of each individual reader. Surely there is the aggressive use of his lyrics, like the one contained in the song that gave him fame; that “How to Rob”, (literally “How to steal”), where the rapper imagines to rob, in fact, the greats of the Rap scene (such as Jay-Z, Big Pun, Sticky Fingaz, and others). The song easily becomes a catchphrase, the kids have fun “rapping” it, while the radios, natural megaphones of the phenomenon, broadcast it at full blast. Good for him, a little less for the aforementioned rappers, who don’t seem to have taken it with too much self-irony.
On the other hand, Curtis Jackson can only laugh about all this, as one would expect from someone born and raised in Queens, one of the most infamous neighborhoods in America, where robbery, murder, and crime are the order of the day. Curtis is running around the streets at an early age, he’s got a crush and a raw deal, what does it matter if someone’s mad at him? The singer seems to be going back to the old motto “many enemies, much honor”. Legend has it that he was already dealing crack at the age of twelve years, and then in and out of prison several times, in perfect New York “gangsta” style.50 Cent began his career at the court of Jam Master Jay – former Run D.M.C. – with whom he recorded the first mixing tapes, while his recording debut took place in 2000 with the album “The power of dollar” (a title that is all a program). In the same year, however, the rapper suffered a frightening attack: nine gunshots fired at close range pierced his body. One of them, aimed directly at his throat, is the singular and heroic cause of the unmistakable vocal tone that today we can hear in his records.
A few years later, 50 cents later, he enters the stable of Eminem and Dr. Dre (two other not very recommendable elements), who launched him on the market with the single “Wanksta”, one of the main tracks of “8 Mile”, the autobiographical film of the good Eminem.
Then comes the second studio album, “Get rich or die tryin'”, gone like bread in a few months. It seems to have sold something like two million and a hundred thousand copies only in the first three weeks of release, especially thanks to the single “In da club”, a hip-hop song that has depopulated the charts of half a globe. Also noteworthy, in terms of musical intensity and sales volume, is the new single “21st questions”, which has definitively imposed it in the hearts of young people.
After a life of hardships, sacrifices, and misery, it seems that the lucky 50 Cent has come out of the dangerous tunnel of crime and street life.
1999: Power of the Dollar
2003: Get Rich or Die Tryin’
2005: The Massacre
2009: Before I Self Destruct
2014: Street King Immortal
2014: Animal Ambition