NEW YORK, NY – On August 23, 1994, 50 Cent was jailed following a string of drug charges, including criminal possession of heroin and crack cocaine.
The rapper had originally been busted on June 29 after allegedly selling four vials of cocaine to an undercover police officer. He was arrested again three weeks later when police searched his home and found heroin, 10 ounces of crack cocaine, and a starting pistol.
50 Cent, who was born Curtis Jackson on July 6, 1975, in Queens, began selling drugs at just age 12 during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic.
After his 1994 arrest, he was sentenced to three to nine years in prison. He ended up serving only six months in a boot camp, where he earned his GED. Jackson later adopted the nickname “50 Cent” and said that it was a metaphor for change. Get it?
He stopped selling drugs when his music career began, but his criminal associations continued to haunt him.
On April 24, 2000, Jackson was shot at close range by a gunman holding a 9mm outside his grandmother’s former home in South Jamaica, Queens. The assailant fired nine times, and Jackson was shot in the hand, arm, hip, both legs, chest, and left cheek.
Jackson spent nine days in the hospital. The alleged attacker, Mike Tyson’s bodyguard Darryl Baum, was killed three weeks later.
In 2002, Jackson was discovered by Eminem and, with the help of him and Dr. Dre, Jackson became one of the world’s best-selling rappers and released his first major label album Get Rich or Die Tryin‘. The album’s lead single “In da Club“ instantly became a nightclub anthem and massive hit. Since then, Jackson has had huge commercial and critical success and released five studio albums.
Jackson is also known for his highly successful business career, which includes the “G-Unit” brand he founded with Chris Lighty. He now lives in Farmington, Connecticut, and in 2015 his net worth was estimated at $155 million.
But despite his mainstream success, the rap world feuds and violence continued: James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond, a rival hip-hop manager who doubled as a cocaine trafficker, had “a series of violent conflicts” with Lighty, according to a U.S. District Court filing.On October 25, 2013, Rosemond was sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking and other financial crimes associated with his position as head of a multi-million-dollar cocaine-selling organization.
Rosemond was also charged in 2013 with ordering the 2009 murder of Lowell Fletcher, an associate of both Lighty and Jackson. Fletcher, who was convicted of attacking Rosemond’s son, was murdered two weeks after his release from a New York state prison.
Rosemond was eventually convicted of this murder, and sentenced to life plus 20 years for the killing. Lighty committed suicide in 2012.
Jackson’s empire now includes artist and talent management and investment in TV and film production, footwear, apparel, fragrances, liquor, video games, mobile apps, book publishing, headphones, and health drinks and dietary supplements. He is thought to have walked away with a figure somewhere between $60 million and $100 million for his deal with Vitaminwater alone. In addition, he executive produces and stars in the show Power, which airs on Starz.
Main photo: 50 Cent (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson) [NYS DOC]