We gon’ party like it’s your birthday… Since he bullied his way onto the scene back in 1999 with the fiery tongue-in-cheek stickup-kid single, “How to Rob” (Power of A Dollar, In Too Deep Soundtrack), hip-hop’s self-proclaimed bad guy has left quite an impressionable mark on the game. From racking a number of multi-platinum plaques (Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, The Massacre, etc.) and accolades (13 Grammy Award nominations, selling 1.14 million copies of The Massacre in a week), to participating in a slew of business deals here and there (Glacéau’s purchase by Coca-Cola for a reported $4.1 billion), starring in a couple of high-profiled feuds (Ja Rule & Murder Inc., Fat Joe, etc.) and also building arguably one of the industry’s most dynamic powerhouses, G-Unit, Curtis “50 Cent”Jackson has made a career off of making game-changing moves. As we celebrate the G-Unit general’s 36th born day, XXLMag.com decided to take a trip down memory lane lining up 36 of the most entertaining moments of his career, including the good, the funny, and some just plain wrong. The future is now… — Ralph Bristout
50 met the late, great Run-D.M.C. DJ in 1990s, and JMJ, helped the then fledgling rapper hone his talents by teaching him the difference between rapping for the sake of rapping, versus song structure.
After Power Of the Dollar was put on permanent hold by Columbia a couple of years prior, Fif released this 18-track compilation in April 2002. Eminem would soon hear the record and, Yeah, you know the rest.
Released in 2002, Fif’s first official mixtape found him jacking your favorite rappers’ beats making his own songs over them, thus becoming a game-changer. The beginning of a new era in the mixtape game...
In 2002, 50 inks a recording deal with Eminem and Dr. Dre and becomes part of the Shady/Aftermath family (via Interscope), for a reported $1 million.
Fif's ascencion to superstardom coincided with Murder Inc.'s downfall. As he gained popularity, Fif didn't miss an opportunity to take shots at his rivals way be it via records like "Back Down" or highly entertaining interviews. The Inc. never recovered.
The Grammy-nominated, Dr. Dre-produced breakout hit that sparked the 50 Cent takeover, “In Da Club” peaked at no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for nine weeks.
Fif’s Shady/Aftermath/Interscope debut hit stores on February 4th, 2003, selling an estimated 872,000 in the first four days beating Snoop’s record with Doggystyle, which sold 803,000 copies its first week back in ’93.
On February 10th, 2003, Universal Music Publishing Group signed the Shady/Aftermath signee to an exclusive worldwide publishing deal.
In June 2003, shortly after finding much success with Jay-Z’s S. Carter line, Reebok signs 50 to a 5-year endorsement contract for his G-Unit Collection.
50 purchases Mike Tyson’s Farmington, Connecticut mansion (approximately 50,000 sq. ft. with 52 rooms) for a reported $4.1 million in 2003.
Fif turned heads when he arrived at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards with actress Vivica A. Fox as his date. The two reportedly dated briefly, but the romance ended on a bad note— prompting the two stars to feud for years. They reconciled in 2009 and Vivica even appeared in Fif's video for "Do You Think About Me."
50 is granted his G-Unit Records imprint through Interscope, signing Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck to record deals. Beg For Mercy, Hunger for More, Straight Outta Cashville and Thoughts of a Predicate Felon, are released with eventual platinum certifications.
From books (G-Unit Books), film (G-Unit Films), clothing to charity programs (G-Unity), not to mention the record sales and more, it’s certainly more than music for Curtis and his Guerilla Unit.
With the Murder Inc. feud still fresh, Fif launched a preemptive strike against Jadakiss, Nas and Fat Joe for appearing on Ja Rule’s “New York.” He’s since squashed his beef with D-Block, is still at odds with Nas and occasionally still jab Joey Crack when he feels like it.
Fif’s sophomore LP, released March 5, 2005, sells 1.14 million copies in four days, staying atop the Billboard 200 for six weeks.
Directed by Jim Sheridan, Fif’s semi-auto-biographical film hit theaters November 2005, eventually grossing over $46 million worldwide.
Co-authored by kris ex, 50 releases his first memoir titled From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside via MTV Books.
After purchasing stock in Glacéau (the makers of Vitamin Water) in 2004, and even getting his own flavor (Formula 50), the company was purchased by Coca-Cola in 2007. “I took quarter waters sold it in bottles for two bucks, and Coca-Cola came and bought it for billions, what the fuck?,” raps 50 on “I Get Money.” Yep.
Why a best moment you ask? Despite the signing never actually taking place, 50 was able to bring Pastor Ma$e back to his former alias…for a brief moment, of course.
Rumors that 50 Cent and Ciara were dating surfaced when the two collaborated on Cici's "Can't Leave 'em Alone" in 2006. The relationship was never confirmed and the two alleged love birds briefly quarreled over Twitter earlier this year.
Who could forget that infamous phone call between Fif and Cam live on Hot 97’s “The Angie Martinez Show” February 1st, 2007. Hey Allan Grunblatt, “Put Cam on the phone!”
Not literally of course but the fiery conversation led to Fif making money off of Cam's jab, "Cuuuuuuuurtis!" by having it be the title for his third studio album.
Kanye and Fif’s bout on the Soundscan remains one of hip-hop’s most commercially-friendly rap rivalries. Although he lost to Kanye’s 957,000 units in-a-week, Curtis still managed to sell 691k from jump.
With the stakes at an all time high during the 2007 soundscan showdown against Kanye West, Fif's "Follow My Lead" video featuring Robin Thicke leaked. Legend has it that an angry 50 ripped a flat screen off the wall at the G-Unit offices and threw it.
In May 2008, after footage surfaced of 106 & Park hostess Rocsi blatantly calling 50’s Curtis album “garbage,” Fif went on-air to let off some steam. Not really a best but, still is hilarious.
Stars alongside Al Pacino and Robert De Nero for this underwhelming crime thriller released on September 12th, 2008.
On the heels of his Vitamin Water deal, 50 topped the Forbes list in 2008 after taking in $150 million.
In March 2008, 50 launches online communities, “Thisis50.com” & “BooBoo.tv.”
In 2009 Fif joined Diddy and Jay-Z as one of few rappers with his own fragrance when he released Power By 50 Cent.
50’s take on Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power debuted at No. 4 on The New York Times Best Sellers list in 2009.
Fif added Rick Ross to his growing list of enemies when the rotund rapper inexplicably picked a fight by dissing him on 2009's "Mafia Music." A high entertaining feud ensued between the two. Knowing know bounds, 50 connected with Ross’ baby mother and bought her furs in a clip that was published online. Really foul, but funny.
Fif had the internets going nuts in May of 2010 when he leaked photos of his dramatic 60 lbs weight loss for the movie Things Fall Apart.
Fif took Twitter by storm when he began writing on the social networking site regularly in the summer of 2010. The Queens MC became a fan favorite with his brutally honest and hilarious tweets. This year the tech savvy rapper/actor teams up with UberSocial (formerly UberTwitter) to release Uber50, a new twitter theme for the BlackBerry.
Rumors surfaced that 50 and talk show host Chelsea Handler were an item in late 2010. Though both parties denied the gossip, photos of the two out on the town quickly surfaced. A flick of the two in bed together later leaked on Twitter. Handler eventually confessed to the union.
Despite the controversy, 50 allegedly earned $8.7 million in January 2011 promoting a stock over Twitter.