Ten years have passed since 50 Cent encouraged us to party like it’s our birthday year-round. Can you do an upside down sit up yet? With impressive co-signs and a never-ending slew of public beefs, 50’s expanding resume has helped redefine the modern hip-hop era.
In honor of Get Rich or Die Tryin’s anniversary, as well as the brand-new edition of Behind The Music–remastered to included everything from personal loss to unexpected hookups–we’re remembering the incomparable come-up of the New York MC. Separating cred-building fantasies from stone cold facts, here are some things we learned about the definitive hustler from Jamaica, Queens. Read more…
1. His relationship with Chelsea Handler was even more fun than he thought it would be.
A potty mouth professional talker who’s made a killing off chronicling her bedroom activities and a hip-hop superstar known to reveal his statue-like build in concert? Nah, we totally expected you two to sit at home and knit together. (Yeah right.)
2. He’s a fan of beefs… even manufactured ones.
Noting that feuds are an integral part of hip-hop culture, 50’s rise has been heavily linked to 1999 buzz track “How To Rob.” An expression of his frustration with the music industry at the time, it inspired response tracks by DMX, Fat Joe, Wu-Tang Clan, and even Jay-Z, and helped establish the Queens boy as an artist instead of merely a street king. But he’s also concerned with the faux beefs, too. In 2007, 50 orchestrated a publicity stunt around the release of his Curtis and Kanye West’s Graduation that had the tongues of fans and media members wagging. “Kanye West gets the trophy, 50 Cent gets the check,” he explained. Everybody wins!
3. Eminem was this close to being on the unseen 50 Cent MTV’s Fanatic.
Between his nervous greeting to an impromptu reevaluation of his own skills (“He didn’t really say too much and I was kinda wondering, like, ’Does this guy like me?'”) Eminem was on some serious “fan s–t” when he first laid eyes on 50 IRL.
4. 50’s work also made his mentor want to turn off his mic for good.
“I literally wanted to quit rapping at that point.” EMINEM WANTED TO QUIT RAP BECAUSE OF 50. Thank goodness that didn’t happen.
5. “In Da Club” helped 50 and G-Unit reach that Justin Bieber status.
Fans flooding the streets in tears, money flying in the air, half-naked women waiting in your hotel room. “Between 2003 and 2005 I think I’d seen a representation of every kind of p–sy God makes.” The American Dream, my friends.
6. A hustler’s spirit never dies.
Laugh all you want, but 50’s Vitamin Water deal has raked in an estimated $100 million to date. Street cred, schmreet cred. “The Vitamin Water deal is just good business,” he said.
7. He owes his creative awakening to Rick Ross.
If not for the pointless, one-sided beef (“it’s a battle that has no motivation”) the world would have never met Pimpin’ Curly, and who even knows about 50’s burgeoning movie career.
8. He’s proof that Mary and Joseph aren’t the only special ones.
To help answer young Curtis Jackson’s questions about his absent father, his mom Sabrina told him he was the product of an “immaculate conception.”
9. In the criminal justice system, he’s the poster boy for rehabilitation.
Having gotten an early start selling drugs in the neighborhood, 50 was arrested for heroine and cocaine possession when he was just 17 years old. Instead of serving a full sentence, he went through six months of military-style boot camp, known as the Shock Program. It may not have been long enough to do what its name aspires, but it did send a message. “I slipped back into my ways after the actual program, but it worked because I’ve never been incarcerated since,” he said.
10. He’s an out-of-the-box thinker
When 50 decided to really give music his all, he wouldn’t settle for simply sending demos into the abyss that is the U.S. postal service, approaching former Sony Music executive Cory Rooney outside of a barber shop in Queens. It worked.
11. He sees former protege Game’s disrespect as the “ultimate betrayal.”
Mimicking the way Eminem brought him up under Shady Aftermath, 50 poured everything he had into (The) Game’s debut album, even giving him choice tracks to help make an impression. The public criticism that followed, and Game’s failure to give 50 proper writing credit, hurt Curtis’ feelings on a personal and professional level.
12. He may have been involved in a physical altercation with Ja Rule, but it was nothing his own first aid kit couldn’t handle.
Ja Rule’s crew ambushed 50 at the The Hit Factory in 2000–what some will call “retribution” for the theft of Ja’s chains that forever changed the relationship between the two Queens artists. Despite the drama and big names involved, 50 walked away from the studio scuffle needing only three stitches. “I got worse riding my pedal bike,” he explained.
13. 50 Cent and G-Unit embrace the conspiracy theories.
From his infamous nine-bullet shooting to manager Chris Lighty’s 2012 alleged suicide, things are open to interpretation until conclusive evidence presents itself. “To this day I still don’t believe that he killed himself,” 50 said of his former manager.
14. Having an absent father has made him want to be the best dad he can be.
“I didn’t believe anyone would take care of him if I didn’t take care of him,” 50 said of his son, Marquis, whom he had at 22. Becoming a father quickly led him to stop dealing drugs and focus on music full-time.
15. 50 believes great love is rooted in great friendship.
With “trust issues” and a complicated past, 50 has yet to find the right woman. Potential candidates should note, he’s looking for “priceless friendship” first and foremost.