Get Rich Or Die Tryin’: 50 Cent’s Biggest Business Ventures

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    If it makes dollars, then it makes 50 Cent, <em>get it?</em> From the gritty borough of Queens to the boardroom, you can be sure if you ask about 50, they’ll tell you he’s about his bread—and you can’t blame him. From clothing lines, to Vitamin Water to even his own brand of condoms, one thing’s constant in Fif’s life: cents. In the midst of his new role as executive producer on the Starz series <em>Power</em> (premiering June 7) and his forthcoming independent album, <em>Animal Ambition</em>, <em> XXL</em> gives a run down of the many business ventures that 50’s succeeded in through ownership, partnership and one-off deals.—<em>Andrew Asare </em>
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    <h2>Ownership—Like owning your own home, there’s power in holding the keys and the purse strings to your establishment; here’s a list of business ventures 50 held (and still holds) proprietorship on.</h2>
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    <h2>G-Unit Reebok Sneaker and Apparel </h2><p>Surpassing Hov’ on the kick game, when 50 partnered with Reebok for his own G-Unit sneaker line in 2002, 50 made a good penny—about $<a href="http://www.sohh.com/2012/11/50_cent_unlaces_his_g-unit_sneakers_i_ma.html">80 million</a>—with a product line that included fresh-white laced footwear to those inescapable “Wanksta” G-Unit sweats, Fif had the “vendetta,” taking down all rapper clothing line. </p>
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    <h2>G-Unit Records</h2><p>50 may have severed ties with Interscope, but G-Unit Records still moves like a well-oiled machine. Riding off the success of “Wanksta,” in 2003 50 gave birth to G-Unit Records. Upon its inception, it operated as a subsidiary of, and was distributed through, Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records. The label’s acts over the years have earned RIAA certifications of "Platinum" or higher on 7 of its 16 released albums. </p>
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    <h2>Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden</h2><p> In an unlikely partnership with actress/singer Bette Midler, 50’s G-Unity Foundation showed interest in opening a community garden in Queens, in 2008. The organization reports that 50 granted $150,000 over a two-year period to restore Baisley Park. The garden features flowers, a vegetable garden, a community area where people can have BBQs and other leisure activities. </p>
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    <h2>Video Games</h2><p>Nothing beats a realistic representation of 50 Cent in a video game. In 2005, <em>50 Cent: Bulletproof</em> followed 50’s search for vengeance against hitmen who tried to murder him. While the game received lukewarm reviews, a sequel, <em>50 Cent: Blood On The Sand,</em> was released in February 2009. Unlike <em>Bulletproof</em>, <em>Blood On The Sand</em> received favorable reviews among video game critics.</p>
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    <h2>Thisis50.com </h2><p>Why wait to premiere new music and video on another publication when you can do it on your own? Since 2007, <a href="http://www.thisis50.com/">Thisis50.com </a> not only serves as a hotbed of original content from 50, the site offers downloads from other artists and exclusives, reaching over 3 million unique visitors a month.</p>
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    <h2>Television: <em>Dream School</em></h2>Premiered in October on Sundance TV, <em>Dream School</em> is a reality TV series following 15 high school dropouts who get mentored by celebrity “teachers” that are experts in certain subjects. Fif was the executive producer alongside Jamie Oliver. The series was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program.<p><iframe width="670" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/D0wjR3OqKOQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p>
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    <h2>G-Unity Foundation</h2><p>50’s all about the money, but he’s also about the kids, too. With the philanthropic G-Unity Foundation, Fif emphasizes the critical importance of supporting academic institutions with offering support to nonprofit organizations with after school activities and educational initiatives. </p>
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    <h2>Cheetah Vision</h2><p>Like the swift move of a cheetah in the African Sahara on its prey, 50 set his eyes on his feast of green paper when he launched his film production company Cheetah Vision in 2009. Partnering with then TMT signee Floyd Mayweather, Fif is responsible for <em>Before I Self Destruct </em>starring Clifton Powell and <em>All Things Fall Apart</em> starring Mario Van Peebles and Lynn Whitfield. In 2012, he scored another deal with $250 million and 10 films. </p> <p>This April, 50 announced his anti-bullying book <em>Playground</em> will be adapted into an animated series on Fox.</p>
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    <h2>Boo Boo TV</h2><p>Who needs WorldStarHipHop when you got BooBoo TV? The viral sensation now three years old caters to both ratchet-ness of hip hop and urban pop culture—including customized channels from BBTV Sports to The Candy Shop, BooBoo TV is 50’s way of still keeping his eye on the streets. </p>
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    <h2>Partnership—There’s power in numbers and 50’s surely aware of this. From multi-billion dollars water companies to legendary actresses take a look at the partnerships Fif has profit from. </h2>
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    <h2>G-Unit Apparel With Ecko</h2><p>Established in 2003, teaming up with Marc Ecko, of Ecko Unlimited 50 gave streetwear the guerilla appeal with G-Unit Apparel. Though 50 and Marc parted ways, the G-Unit CEO was given creative control—sans marketing Marc Ecko made sure 50 still had that power that Michael Jordan had for his Air Jordans, 50 Cent maintains full ownership of the line. </p>
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    <h2>Publishing</h2> <p>From <em>Pieces To Weight: Once Upon A Time In Southside Queens</em> to <em>The Ski Mask</em>, 50’s not only slick with lyrics on wax, but on paper he’s even better with on paper—and bankable, too—with his <em>G-Unit Books</em> imprint on Time Warner. The publisher behind his <em>50th Law</em> with Robert Green, other separate entities include his workout guide <em>Formula 50</em> co-authored by heath journalist and editor-in-chief at Bodybuilding.com Jeff O’ Connell, as well as his anti-bullying book <em>Playground.</em></p>
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    <h2>Formula 50 / Vitamin Water </h2><p>Perhaps his most profitable business venture ever, 50 made more than a couple few bucks when Coca-Cola purchased Glacéau’s Formula 50 Vitamin for $4.1 billion, receiving over $100 million from the deal after taxes—yes, <em>after</em> taxes.</p>
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    <h2>SMS Audio</h2><p>Though 50’s former label Interscope Records might have seen it as a <a href="http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/03/50-cent-banned-using-sms-audio-interscope/"> conflict of interest,</a> 50 had no problem going into the audio business much like his mentor Dr. Dre with SMS Audio. Founded in 2011, “Studio Master Sound” not only helped 50 expand his venture growth, it also pocketed him $177K in <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/earshot/50-cent-headphones-qvc-389567"> nine minutes according to <em>The Hollywood Reporter</em>. </a></p> More fun facts: All Disney products are manufactured by SMS Audio, as well as <em>Star Wars</em> audio products. Striving for perfection.
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    <h2>Retail: Steiner Sports</h2><p>Capping off his success with Vitamin Water/Glaceau in 2007, Mr. Jackson went into the business of branded apparel retail—literally with a custom-branded 50 fitted cap—when he signed a multi-year contract with Steiner Sports in 2008.</p>
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    <h2>SK Energy Drink </h2><p>Who needs 5 Hours of Energy when you can feel like a Street King? Teaming up with Pure Growth Partners, 50 Cent took his acquired wealth through Vitamin Water and in 2011 developed Street King, a flavored energy drink that helped Fif enter in another <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomalleygreenburg/2013/03/27/50-cents-next-beverage-bonanza/"> $2 billion annual market for energy drinks</a>.</p>
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    <h2>TMT Promotions/ SMS Promotions</h2><p>A newer, more clean version of Don King emerged as 50 Cent expounded on his multi-million dollar empire when he acquired his boxing promoting license, launching TMT Promotions in 2012. TMT, short for The Money Team, saw Fif partnering with boxing champ Floyd Mayweather and signing major hitters such as Zab Judah and Billy Dib. After parting ways with Mayweather in the founding year, 50 went with a new moniker, SMS Promotions. </p>
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    <h2>Hygiene: Pure 50 RGX Body Spray</h2><p>While rappers maintained a philosophy of “gettin’ fresh,” with iced-out chains 50 took that mentality, literally to the head—and to the bank—partnering up with deodorant brand Right Guard for Pure 50 RGX Body Spray. </p>
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    <h2>Hang w/ 50 Cent</h2><p>Funkmaster Flex is not the only one who’s got his hands in the world of social media marketing as 50 Cent proves he can “hang” just as well. Teaming up with SXSW in March, 50 launched <em>Hang w/,</em> the live-streaming video social media platform featured exclusive footage allowing users to “hang with” each other via live video and simultaneous chat. Users follow other users who interest them, and the system sends a notification every time someone in a user’s “following” network goes live. Giving his fans an exclusive look on the social media tip, 50 brought his fans behind the scenes and give the opportunity to those who couldn’t make it a chance to experience a SXSW concert. </p>
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    <h2>Swan Racing & SMS Audio</h2><p>In February 2014, 50 Cent teamed up with Nascar’s Swan Racing to feature his SMS Audio headphones for the team’s No. 26 and No. 30 Toyota Camrys during the 2014 and 2015 Spring Cup Series seasons. Part of the deal includes Swan-branded SMS headphones for drivers Cole Whitt and Parker Kilgerman. “Swan Racing and its up-and-coming drivers are the perfect match for SMS Audio,” stated 50 in a press release. “They are as passionate for the sport of racing as we are for our audio products, and we’re confident that the music-loving NASCAR fan base is going to enjoy our headphones – whether at track or at home.”</p>
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    <h2>One-off Deals—In business, sometimes you only get one-shot, but in 50’s case, you have multiple chances to be even more successful. Here’s a look at one-off deals where’s 50’s not only made a quick buck, but a quick headline. </h2>
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    <h2>G-Unit Porno (one-off) </h2><p>After being in <a href="http://youtu.be/0K1yUFSRABA">“so many place and seeing so many faces,"</a> it was only right for 50 and Lloyd Banks to bank document their experiences after signing a new deal with Jenna Jameson's Digital Sin interactive with “Groupie Love,” a behind-the-scenes look at his G-Unit lifestyle while sex scenes featuring top adult film stars are intercut into the footage. The film won two AVN Awards in 2004.</p>
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    <h2>Television: <em>The Money And The Power</em> </h2><p>While Diddy was <em>Making The Band</em>, 50 was teaching budding entrepreneurs the art of the hustle with the reality series <em>50 Cent: The Money and The Power.</em> Though the MTV series lasted just for a season, the <em>Apprentice</em>-styled show not only helped boost up TV ratings for MTV but dropped a few gems from 50’s book, which he was also promoting, <em>The 50th Law.</em> </p>
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    <h2>Magic Stick Condoms</h2><p>A one time deal in 2008, sharing his “exclusive sh*t” to the world for a good cause, the freak to the core teamed up with prophylactic magnet Durex Condoms to launch his own brand, Magic Stick. Magic Stick rubbers not only helped riled, horned-up, nymphomaniacs “speed it up and straight beat it up,” a portion of sales were donated to HIV awareness. Now that’s how you use a promotional tool.</p>