Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, entrepreneur, investor, and actor from New York City, New York. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003) and The Massacre (2005). His major-label debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’, has been certified eight times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 50 Cent also gained prominence with East Coast hip hop group G-Unit, of which he is the de facto leader.
Born in the South Jamaica neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, Jackson began drug dealing at the age of twelve during the 1980s crack epidemic. After leaving drug dealing to pursue a rap career, he was shot at and struck by nine bullets during an incident in 2000. After releasing his album Guess Who’s Back? in 2002, Jackson was discovered by rapper Eminem and signed to Interscope Records. With the help of Eminem and Dr. Dre, who produced his first major commercial successes, Jackson became one of the world’s highest selling rappers. In 2003, he founded the record label G-Unit Records, which signed several successful rappers such as Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo.
Throughout his music career, Jackson has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and won several awards, including a Grammy Award, 13 Billboard Music Awards, six World Music Awards, three American Music Awards and four BET Awards. He has also pursued an acting career, appearing in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in 2005, the Iraq War film Home of the Brave in 2006, and Righteous Kill in 2008. 50 Cent was ranked as the sixth-best artist of the 2000s by Billboard magazine. The magazine also ranked him as the fourth top male artist and as the third top rapper behind Eminem and Nelly. Billboard magazine also ranked him as the sixth best and most successful Hot 100 Artist of the 2000s and as the number one rap artist of the 2000s. Billboard ranked his album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ as the twelfth best album of the 2000s and his album The Massacre as the 37th best album of the 2000s. 50 Cent is currently working on his sixth studio album, Street King Immortal, which is to be released in 2014.