He was born Curtis Jackson and hails from Queens, New York. The name 50 Cent is derived from 1980s Brooklyn robber, Kelvin Martin, who also used the name 50 Cent. Jackson commented on his name choice, "I'm the same kind of person 50 Cent was. I provide for myself by any means."
He had a record deal with Sony/Columbia Records in 1999-2000, but was shot on May 24, 2000, just before the record's release. He was hit nine times, mostly in the legs, but also in the jaw. Shortly after the shooting, Columbia refused to release the record, citing an alarmingly high amount of bootlegs of the unreleased CD, and dropped 50 from the label.
50 sold crack for years before and during his time with Columbia Records. At some times, he made $5,000 every day. At other times, he wound up in jail for extended stays.
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