50 Cent's mug shot from his 1994 incarceration for drug charges. Curtis James Jackson III grew up in neighborhood known as South Jamaica, located in Queens, New York. Under poverty-stricken circumstances, his mother was murdered in her home in a failed drug deal which led to the rapper being raised by his grandparents. Immersed in the drug trade, the rapper began hustling his native neighborhood under the name of "Boo Boo." This reputation helped build 50 Cent a large following in New York before ever signing a major record deal.
Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC detected talent in the rapper and signed him to his label, for a brief time. After leaving Jam Master Jay, 50 Cent began working with hip-hop producers the Track Masters. While signed to Columbia Records, his career took off after the release of the successful, but controversial single "How to Rob". This single was an ode to robbing a number of industry rappers.
The next single, "Ghetto Qur'an", led to a feud with a drug kingpin known as Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, founder of a gang known as the "Supreme Team." The song goes indepth about the business of the drug trade and exposed the names of many in the business. The debut album Power of the Dollar was shelved due to the controversies surrounding the rapper, and also led to the infamous shooting and feuds with numerous rappers affiliated with McGriff.
After releasing mixtapes independently, Eminem showed interest in working with the rapper. When Eminem brought this to Dr. Dre's attention, it contributed to 50 Cent signing a deal with Interscope Records. 50 Cent was also the first to sign onto a joint effort between Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. Under Interscope, the label marketed 50 Cent as the "real...