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Hip-Hop News: 50 Cent Finds Major-Label Success
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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
8/8/2003 5:55:51 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include 50 Cent.

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Gunplay and drug dealing are common topics in rap songs, but not every rapper has personal experience living the thug life.

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50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson July 6, 1976, in South Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., was raised by his grandparents after his mother was murdered at age 23. As is well-known by his fans, he was dealing drugs by the time he was 12, and seven years later he was running a local drug cartel.

Signed to Columbia Records, 50 Cent was about to make a video for his first single when he was shot nine times May 24, 2000. To this day, the rapper -- whose name comes from an infamous Brooklyn, N.Y., gangster -- carries a bullet fragment in his tongue and a hole in his jaw that gives him a distinctive slur.

After the shooting, he was dropped by Columbia and continued recording on his own, releasing mix-tape albums through the independent G-Unit label. "Guess Who's Back? (Full Clip)" collected his biggest mix-tape hits, including the controversial "How to Rob." Released in May 2002, that indie release has sold 316,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The underground success of these mix-tape albums led to Eminem (news - web sites) and Dr. Dre signing 50 Cent to Interscope-distributed Shady/Aftermath.

"Get Rich or Die Tryin'," 50 Cent's major-label debut, sold 872,000 copies in its first week, the best opening for any album this year. Sales have now reached 5.6 million, making it the top seller of 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Two songs from "Get Rich" have topped the Billboard Hot 100: "In Da Club," which spent nine weeks at No. 1, and "21 Questions," which led the list for four weeks.

50 Cent's latest Billboard Hot 100 entry, "P.I.M.P.," stands at No. 4 this issue.

Q: How did you become a rapper?

A: A friend of mine was having a conversation with Jam Master Jay, and I was able to kind of work my way into that conversation. He said he wanted to develop a new artist and I told him, "I rap, you know.".......

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