SOME MORE FACTS...
His big opportunity came in the form of the late Jam Master Jay,
who signed 50 Cent to his JMJ label in 1996.
Of the late Jam Master Jay, 50 Cent says, "Jay taught me about
bars, Jay taught me how to write hooks and what was the purpose. And Jay taught me how to write and make rap records. He made
me want to really rap and do this."
After catching the attention of the Trackmasters, in 1999 50
Cent signed a deal with Columbia Records for $250,000.
In just over two weeks, he recorded thirty-six songs, some of
which ended up on his Columbia debut LP Power of a Dollar, deemed by Blaze Magazine as a classic.
With the Columbia deal, he received a $65,000 advance. $50,000
went to Jam Master Jay and $10,000 went to an attorney.
This is what 50 Cent says he did with the remaining $5,000: "I
bought crack cocaine with it. How else you gonna provide for yourself? I did thirty-six songs in eighteen days for Columbia.
Then I had eight months go by with no work going on."
In the summer of 1999, his first single was released. It was
the comedic, and now classic, single "How To Rob," which jokes about jacking the hottest music celebrities of that time, including
Mariah Carey, Master P, Timbaland and Jay-Z.
Not everyone thought it was funny, though. Jay-Z, the late Big
Pun, Sticky Fingaz and Ghostface Killah all replied to the song.
In defense of "How To Rob," 50 Cent says, "When robbery's not
out of the question, it's kinda easy for a song like that to fall into your thought pattern. Bigger artists have bigger diamonds.
Kids in the hood is looking at the TV, going, 'Damn it, look at that shit he got on!' Rappers have egos, so I was anticipating
them being upset. But I didn't care, 'cause it had been a year since the deal with Columbia, and I'm still selling crack."
After a few of the lampooned celebrities complained, Columbia
shelved the album.
In the spring of 2000, 50 Cent was shot in the face, hand and
legs by a man with a nine millimeter at close range. He survived a total of nine bullets.
One of the bullets lodged in his lower gum. There's still a gaping
wound where several of his rear teeth used to be.
The shooter has since moved on to the next life, but we're not
sure why or how.
After the shooting Columbia got really nervous and dropped 50
Cent like a hot potato.
According to 50 Cent, beef started with Ja
Rule and Murder Inc. when Ja Rule was robbed by a neighborhood acquaintance of 50 Cent's.
In response to this robbery 50 Cent had this to
say: "Put it like this, if you grew up where I grew up, you gonna know people who rob people." When asked about the ongoing
beef with Ja Rule, 50 Cent says, "He's pop. What makes him envy me is, I can sell records the way he would like to sell records.
People don't wanna hear that story from him. He jumping around on TV too long in the rain with Mary J. Blige."
He was allegedly stabbed during a recording-studio
scuffle with Ja Rule's posse.
That's not a dimple on 50 Cent's left cheek. It's
a bullet wound.
After Columbia released him, 50 Cent started
selling his music straight to bootleggers.
Many or the covers of his bootleg CDs feature
50 Cent brandishing some sort of firearm.
These bootlegs gained him many fans, including
Eminem, who, on a Los Angeles radio show, declared 50 Cent his favorite rapper.
After a label bidding war, 50 Cent signed
with Eminem's Shady/ Aftermath for a reported amount of $1 million.
His first single for Aftermath, "Wanksta,"
first appeared on the 8 Mile soundtrack.
50 Cent once said that Ja Rule was the inspiration
50 first received mainstream press in November
2002, when police questioned him in the days following the murder of Jam Master Jay.
A three man security detail isn't enough
to protect 50 Cent. He wears a bullet-proof vest religiously, as does both members of his G-Unit crew.
50 Cent's SUV is also bulletproof... and bombproof.