There used to be a time when you couldn’t walk through the mall or turn on the radio without hearing hits like “In Da Club” and “Candy Shop.” While 50 Cent is no longer ruling the airwaves, he remains one of the biggest names in hip-hop. He said he would “get rich or die tryin’,” and he has enjoyed the better part of those options.
While he might now have cars, houses, and many businesses, 50 Cent’s path was a rags to riches story. As a child, he dealt with crime, violence, and grief and got in trouble with the law during his teens. After almost dying, 50 Cent decided to use his talents to rise to the top.
Hardships in Queens
Born Curtis Jackson in Queens, New York, 50 Cent didn’t have an easy start in life. His mom, Sabrina Jackson, was a 15-year-old single mom who did anything to make ends meet. They lived in a drug-afflicted neighborhood, so Sabrina started selling drugs long before she had 50 Cent.
According to the rapper, his mom didn’t see “welfare or Burger King as a real option.” Sabrina thought she was doing what she had to do to provide for her child. Unfortunately, it brought out the worst in his mom, and 50 Cent started to fear her and said he couldn’t escape.
He Preferred the Bullies
50 Cent said his mom was terrifying. He said he preferred facing school bullies to his mom. He would get pushed around at the park, but he could escape those people, unlike his mother. His mom was tough and didn’t tolerate her son showing any kind of emotional vulnerability.
Sabrina would yell at 50 Cent if he cried and questioned his masculinity even as a young kid. He wasn’t allowed to be sad and act like a child. He shared, “She would look at me on the floor and say, ‘Get up. Why are you over there crying acting like a little girl?’” Sabrina was cruel.
She Was Gone
When 50 Cent was only eight, his life changed forever. In 1983, Sabrina died in a fire at 23-years-old. He was in shock and didn’t understand because she was his only caregiver. When his grandmother told him Sabrina wasn’t coming back, he couldn’t comprehend those words. She was his whole life.
While it was ruled an accident, there has been speculation that Sabrina’s death involved foul play. She reportedly met a stranger who spiked her drink, took her home unconscious, and left the gas on, killing her. 50 Cent said his mom’s body was in a horrific state when she was found a week later.
His Grandmother Saved Him
Although Sabrina was tough, 50 Cent always remembers her positively because she was his mom. When she died, his grandmother, Beulah Jackson, took him in when no one else would, and she was the only person he could always count on. She legally adopted him when he was a child.
Beulah raised 50 Cent as if he were her own son. Sabrina was one of nine children, but none of them wanted to help 50 Cent after she died. While his grandmother was terrific, things weren’t always easy growing up at his grandparents’ home.
Throughout most of his childhood, 50 Cent felt a lot of unresolved grief. His grandparents’ house wasn’t always pleasant because family members made him feel unwelcome. His Aunt Sylvie, who had always been “the baby,” felt like 50 Cent took the attention away from her.
He thought that his grandma gave him so much attention because she would see Sabrina’s face every time she looked at him. Sylvie hated this as she was no longer the apple of Beulah’s eye. Sylvie hated him so much she allegedly killed his dog with cockroach poison.
Admittedly, 50 Cent never dealt with his mom’s death properly. He experienced poverty, neglect, and narcotics and was practically an orphan by age eight. He went through a lifetime’s worth of pain before he was even a teenager. It caused him to blame everything on his mom’s death.
He said, “If I wanted to go to the park, and it would start raining, it was happening because my mom wasn’t there.” 50 Cent found comfort by locking himself in his grandparents’ basement. He didn’t have to talk to anyone, and it was his way of running away.
Getting in the Ring
To get out his pent-up anger, 50 Cent started boxing when he was 11. A neighbor opened up a boxing gym near his home, and he started going regularly. He said, “When I wasn’t killing time at school, I was sparring in the gym.”
He was competitive in the ring, and it made him stronger. 50 Cent later compared boxing to the rap world because people battle it out for relevance and recognition in both. He said rappers condition themselves like boxers, so “they all kind of feel like they’re the champ.”
He Didn’t Know His Father
Besides losing his mother, 50 Cent grew up without a father either. He is still unsure about the identity of his biological father because Sabrina never told him when she was alive. Even when he got older, 50 Cent had no desire to meet his dad.
His early traumas led to great anger and emotional weakness as he got older. 50 Cent had trouble expressing himself and only knew how to be angry at the world. As he became an adult, it was more obvious to him that he was emotionally stunted.
Following in His Mom’s Footsteps
Despite the tragic outcome of his mom’s life, 50 Cent followed in her footsteps and started dealing crack when he was only 12. The only people with financial freedom in his life were drug dealers, so he thought that was his way to get rich.
He would lie to his grandparents, claiming he was in an after-school program, but he was actually dealing drugs. 50 Cent said his mom’s unconventional profession helped them live in modern luxury, but his grandparents couldn’t afford things, so he hustled to make money.
Living a Double Life
By day, 50 Cent was a hard-core drug dealer, and by night, he was his grandmother’s baby. He had no regrets about selling drugs at a young age because it felt like the only way for his younger self to get by in the brutal world he lived in.
It felt like his only option at the time because 50 Cent had become accustomed to the lifestyle his mom provided when she was alive. He wanted to provide for himself by any means but never let his grandparents find out. 50 Cent didn’t want to disappoint Beulah.
Although he tried to hide his “job” from his grandmother, that became impossible when he was arrested at 15. He brought guns and drug money to school and got caught by the metal detectors. 50 Cent could no longer hide what he was doing from Beulah.
50 Cent was arrested again for selling drugs to an undercover cop three years later, and they found cocaine, heroin, and a gun in his home. He was sentenced to three to nine years in prison, but he only served six months in a boot camp and earned his GED.
Becoming 50 Cent
In the mid-‘90s, 50 Cent began rapping in his friend’s basement, where he used turntables to record over instrumentals. His friend introduced him to Jam Master Jay of Run DMC, who was then establishing Jam Master Jay Records. Jay taught him everything about making records.
Around this time, he adopted the name 50 Cent, inspired by a 1980s Brooklyn robber known by the same name. 50 Cent chose this because he was the same kind of person and would provide for himself by any means, even if it meant stealing.
Rising to Fame
50 Cent’s first appearance was on Onyx’s song “React” for their 1998 album Shut’Em Down. He credited Jay for helping him improve his skills and produce his first unreleased album. However, 50 Cent left Jam Master Jay in 1999 when he was signed to Columbia Records.
They sent him to an upstate New York studio, where he produced 36 songs in just two weeks. Eighteen of those songs were included on his album Power of the Dollar in 2000. 50 Cent’s popularity was growing quickly because of his somewhat controversial lyrics.
While Columbia Records had hundreds of popular artists under their label, 50 Cent wanted to set himself apart and be relevant. Big names like Jay-Z, DMX, and the Wu-Tang Clan started responding to his tracks, and Nas invited him on tour.
His hit single “How to Rob,” which comically described how he would rob famous artists, was set to be released with “Thug Love,” a collaboration with Destiny’s Child. Unfortunately, just days before he was scheduled to film the music video, 50 Cent was horribly injured.
While selling drugs helped him make money, 50 Cent got mixed up with the wrong people because of it. In May 2000, his life almost ended. He and a friend were in a car near his grandparents’ home when a car drove by, and someone pulled out a gun.
His grandmother witnessed the brutal attack. 50 Cent was hit nine times in the hand, arm, hip, both legs, chest, and left cheek. He spent almost two weeks in the hospital recovering from his injuries, and he was lucky to be alive.
Road to Recovery
The shots to his legs broke 50 Cent’s bones, and he had to learn to walk again. The attack also left him with permanent scars, and a bullet fragment that got lodged in his tongue affected his speech pattern and rap style.
Initially, he thought the attacker was a drug dealer, but it turned out to be a three-person hit squad. 50 Cent became a target after releasing a diss track about Kenneth McGriff, a powerful drug lord. One of the attackers, Darryl Baum who was Mike Tyson’s bodyguard, was killed three weeks later.
He Lived in Fear
50 Cent was lucky to have survived the almost fatal attack, but it left him with more than just physical scars. He started to rely more on bodyguards and bulletproof vehicles for his safety. He also feared that his girlfriend, Shaniqua Tompkins, and their son were in harm’s way.
He worried there would be another attack. 50 Cent explained, “When you get hurt as bad as I did, you become afraid of everything because you know it can happen at any time. I got shot in the afternoon in broad daylight.”
It Changed Him
In an interview with Hot 97, 50 Cent shared that the shooting gave him overwhelming anxiety. He struggled to deal with his negative emotions, which brought out an angry side of him. 50 Cent was overcome with paranoia, and he said it changed him as a person.
He was constantly thinking about the possibilities of something bad happening again. When he got out of the hospital, he stayed in the Poconos with Tompkins and their son because it felt safe. 50 Cent started working out to develop a muscular physique that made him feel powerful.
Blacklisted by the Recording Industry
During his hospital stay, 50 Cent signed a publishing deal with Columbia Records. However, he was quickly dropped from the label and blocked from the industry because of his song “Ghetto Qu’ran.” He couldn’t work in US studios, so 50 Cent had to go to Canada.
With business partner Sha Money XL, 50 Cent recorded over 30 songs for mixtapes to build back his reputation. He used the mixtape circuit to his advantage by taking popular beats and mixing them with improved hooks. 50 Cent’s popularity took off when he released Guess Who’s Back in 2002.
Eminem to the Rescue
After the incident with Columbia Records, 50 Cent was burned by almost every US record label. However, in 2002, his luck changed when Eminem heard his Guess Who’s Back CD. Eminem was impressed and invited 50 Cent to fly to LA and meet Dr. Dre.
Despite other labels not wanting him, Dr, Dre signed 50 Cent to a $1 million recording deal. Under the contract, he released No Mercy, No Fear, which featured the new track “Wanksta.” The song appeared on Eminem’s 8 Mile soundtrack. Violator Management and Money Management Group also signed him.
A Tragic Loss
Although he never had a father, Jam Master Jay was a much-needed male role model in 50 Cent’s life. They might have stopped working together when 50 Cent got signed to Columbia, but they were still very close. Sadly, his relationship with Jay was short-lived.
In 2002, Jay was shot dead near where 50 Cent had been attacked. Police initially believed Jay was targeted to get to 50 Cent, but the rapper denied that. The case remained unsolved for almost two decades before two men were charged with Jay’s murder in 2020.
Channeling His Pain
Jay was the first person to ever truly believe in 50 Cent as an artist. He taught him everything there was to know about writing and producing a song. When Jay was murdered, it was another significant loss in his life, so 50 Cent channeled all his pain into his music.
He released his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in February 2003. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The lead single, “In Da Club,” set a Billboard record as the most listened-to song in radio history within a week.
50 Cent’s first album was a massive hit, and you couldn’t find a mainstream radio station that wasn’t playing his songs regularly. Due to his success, he started G-Unit Records under Interscope, signing Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck, and The Game.
While Get Rich or Die Tryin’ broke many records, 50 Cent’s second commercial album, The Massacre, was even more lucrative. Featuring singles like “Candy Shop,” “Disco Inferno,” and “How We Do,” the album was number one on the charts for six weeks. It sold 1.14 million copies within a few days.
Beef With Kanye
In 2007, 50 Cent released his third album, Curtis, inspired by his life before Get Rich or Die Tryin’. But it wasn’t as lucrative as his first two albums. The problem was that Kanye West released his Graduation album on the same day.
It became a highly publicized sales battle between 50 Cent and Kanye. The competition between their albums was blamed for the commercial decline of “gangsta rap” and the “bling era” style that previously dominated mainstream hip-hop. It marked a time of change in the industry, and he had to adapt.
Trouble at Home
While his career was taking off quickly, 50 Cent’s personal life wasn’t great. He wasn’t around much for his son Marquise because he was always working or flying somewhere to record music. Additionally, his relationship with Tompkins fizzled out by 2008.
When Marquise was born, 50 Cent wanted to be the father he never had, but music and fame took over his life. After his breakup, 50 Cent told MTV News that Tompkins wasn’t letting him see their son. She also sued him for $50 million, but the judge threw out her case.
Losing a Friend
50 Cent had already been through so much in his life, but tragedy struck again in 2009 when his friend Lowell Fletcher (Lodi Mack) was murdered. The two were good friends, and it is believed that Fletcher’s murder was payback for a long-running feud.
Industry exec James Rosemond and 50 Cent’s crew were at odds for a while and kept making jabs at each other. It culminated in the killing of Fletcher, earning Rosemond life in prison for hiring the men to shoot 50 Cent’s friend. 50 Cent referred to Rosemond as a “rat.”
With his newfound fame and fortune, 50 Cent wanted to give back to the person who helped him the most. In 2005, he bought his grandparents a beautiful home. Besides his family, 50 Cent wanted to make a change in the world, so he launched a philanthropic initiative.
In 2011, he teamed up with Pure Growth Partners to create Street King with the goal of providing food for one billion starving people in Africa by 2016. A portion of the proceeds from each energy drink purchase would go towards a daily meal for an underprivileged child.
Throughout his life, 50 Cent loved boxing, which helped him as a teenager. While he wasn’t getting back in the ring, he became a licensed boxing promoter in 2012, forming TMT (The Money Team) with Floyd Mayweather. He got his license in New York and was in the process of getting one in Nevada.
TMT signed two Olympic medalist fighters and unveiled plans to challenge the box-office dominance of MMA. Unfortunately, a few months after forming the company, 50 Cent and Mayweather went separate ways. He founded SMS Promotions and took his boxers with him.
Major Money Troubles
50 Cent once said, “I don’t think there is such a thing as too rich.” In 2015, he had a net worth of $155 million, but he had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy that very same year. The rapper claimed to have assets and debts between $10 million and $50 million.
However, 50 Cent’s money troubles started before 2015. He once couldn’t afford to pay the $800 monthly rent on his then-girlfriend’s home. How could a man with a multimillion-dollar income find himself struggling for money? There were a few reasons for that.
Much of 50 Cent’s financial troubles were caused by disputes in his personal and professional life. In 2015, his feud with Rick Ross cost him $5 million after leaking Ross’ girlfriend’s sex tape. 50 Cent’s music career declined around 2014 when his album barely sold 200,000 copies.
To make matters worse, 50 Cent had to pay Sleek Audio $16 million after he was accused of stealing their headphone designs. His lawyers told the court that legal fees and judgments exceeding $20 million were the cause of his bankruptcy filing.
More Legal Fees
After his split from Tompkins, 50 Cent started dating model Daphne Joy. She gave birth to his second son, Sire, in 2012. The following year, 50 Cent was accused of domestic violence by Joy. She claimed he kicked her and messed up her bedroom during an argument.
50 Cent pled not guilty to domestic abuse and vandalism, and the case was dropped. However, he still had to pay Joy $7,100 in damages and serve three years of probation. If he had been convicted, 50 Cent would have faced up to five years in prison.
The Biggest Loss of All
After his mom died, Beulah was the most important woman in 50 Cent’s life. She took him in and raised him with the little money she had. No one else could compare to her, which is why it was so devastating when she passed away in 2014.
Beulah was diagnosed with cancer and had a stroke. 50 Cent rushed to the hospital to be by her side before she died. He had seen many people die in his neighborhood, but none of them caused him as much grief as losing his grandmother. He said she was the only consistent person in his life.
A Longstanding Feud
50 Cent has gotten into feuds with many people, including Rick Ross and The Game, but none of them compare to his dislike for Ja Rule. Before signing with Interscope Records, 50 Cent got into a public spat with Ja Rule and his label, Murder Inc. Records.
Ja Rule claims their feud started during a Queens video shoot when 50 Cent didn’t like seeing the other rapper get more attention from the neighborhood. Their crews got into a fight at a recording studio in New York, resulting in 50 Cent getting stabbed and needing stitches.
They Didn’t Stay Silent
The 50 Cent-Ja Rule feud lasted for over a decade, and these two didn’t keep their hatred private. They made diss tracks about each other, and Ja Rule targeted Eminem and Dr. Dre because they were 50 Cent’s associates. When Ja Rule talked about Eminem’s daughter, it was bad news.
Eminem teamed up with 50 Cent to respond to Ja Rule’s diss track, and it became clear that 50 Cent emerged victoriously. The two claimed they were done fighting in 2011, with Ja Rule stating they wouldn’t collaborate, but they weren’t friends.
Was It Really Over?
While they called a truce in 2011, the 50 Cent-Ja Rule feud reignited in 2015 when Ja Rule gave his opinion on Twitter about the feud between Meek Mill and Drake. 50 Cent responded with photos and comments on Instagram, taking sides with Drake.
Then, in 2018, Ja Rule called out 50 Cent on Twitter again. In response, 50 Cent bought tickets for the first four rows of Ja Rule’s concert so they would be empty. Maybe their fight will never truly end, but it seems that they are staying quiet about each other these days.
Not an Easy Relationship
Although 50 Cent wanted to be a good father to Marquise, his broken relationship with Tompkins got in the way. There was a lot of distance between them when Marquise was growing up, which created resentment. In 2017, Marquise released a rap track called “Different.”
In Marquise’s song, he wrote, “Lost my pops, he’s still alive.” To add fuel to the fire, Marquise posted a picture with Kenneth McGriff’s son, the man linked to 50 Cent’s shooting. 50 Cent commented on the post that if the two “got hit by a bus, I wouldn’t have a bad day.”
They Don’t Talk
50 Cent admitted that he didn’t want to maintain a close relationship with Marquise, blaming his son’s privileged upbringing on their estrangement. He claimed to try his best to connect with his son, but it didn’t work. They just couldn’t get along.
The rapped said, “Marquise still manages to feel deprived when he’s had everything. You love the person, and he looks at you as if you are the enemy.” In 2020, 50 Cent dodged the question when someone asked if he still loved Marquise during an Instagram Live session.
Rolling in Cash
Before he filed for bankruptcy, 50 Cent made a massive deal with Coca-Cola. When he teamed up with Glaceau to create Vitamin Water, he became a minority shareholder. In 2007, Coca-Cola purchased Glaceau for $4.1 billion. 50 Cent earned $100 million from the deal after taxes.
Although he no longer has an equity stake in the company, 50 Cent acted as a spokesperson for Vitamin Water long after the sale. He has sung about it in his songs, and he used the flavored water in some of his music videos.
Not an Oscar Winner
He might have had success in the music business, but 50 Cent was not made for acting. In 2005, he made his acting debut in the drama Get Rich or Die Tryin’, named after his 2003 album. It was loosely based on his life.
Despite hiring an acting coach, the film was a box office flop. Many critics used the film’s title to make negative puns while reviewing the movie. Samuel L. Jackson also said the movie wasn’t good, and they had to work together a year later for Home of the Brave.
While his first movie was a flop, 50 Cent redeemed himself in his show Power. He not only stars in the STARZ drama, but he was also the co-creator and executive producer. The series premiered in 2014 and was renewed for a second season after the first episode.
The show ran until 2020, but the network renewed it for a spinoff. 50 Cent’s show was such a hit that it had four other spinoff series. He showed everyone that he could act, and his first movie just wasn’t his best work. Clearly, he improved over the years.
What Is 50 Cent’s Net Worth?
Although he’s had some serious money troubles over the years, 50 Cent’s current net worth is $30 million. While it is nowhere near what it used to be, he still earns a lot from his many businesses. Throughout his career, he has been involved with several companies.
The rapper was once a minority shareholder in Effen Vodka, created Sire Spirts, and founded SK Energy. 50 Cent has also been involved with video games and was in talks with a South African billionaire about launching a line of 50 Cent branded platinum.
Who Is 50 Cent Married To?
50 Cent has never been married, but he has dated many women throughout his time in the spotlight. He had children with Tompkins and Joy, but he has also been linked to many A-listers. He reportedly dated Ciara from 2007 to 2013 and was briefly linked to Vivica A. Fox in 2003.
The rapper hasn’t been in the public eye as much as he once was, but there was a rumor that he dated Chelsea Handler in 2010. 50 Cent is currently dating model Jamira Haines. They have been together since 2019, so maybe there will be wedding bells in the future.
Mind Your Business
50 Cent used to be one of the biggest names in the music industry, but there was a period when no one even thought about him during the 2010s. It might have something to do with a 2016 incident at the Cincinnati Airport.
He noticed an employee was acting strange and assumed he was on drugs. 50 Cent started recording the man and openly mocked him. The video went viral, and people learned that the employee, Andrew Farrell, was autistic. 50 Cent faced a lot of backlashes, and his brands were removed from stores.
Making a Comeback
In recent years, 50 Cent has come back into the spotlight. He started to make a comeback in 2020 when it was announced that he would produce two shows for STARZ: an anthology about hip hop and a biographical drama about sports agent, Nicole Lynn.
Although he had to scrap his Street King Immortal album after spending a decade working on it, 50 Cent confirmed that he has new plans to release more music. He will also be starring in the upcoming The Expendables film. Additionally, he gave fans a surprise performance at the 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show.