50 Cent Tickets for Sale

In many ways the ideal East Coast hardcore rapper, 50 Cent endured substantial obstacles throughout his young yet remarkably dramatic life before becoming in early 2003 the
most-discussed figure in rap, if not pop music in general. Following an unsuccessful late-'90s run at mainstream success (foiled by an attempt on his life in 2000) and a successful run on the New York mix-tape circuit (driven by his early-2000s bout with Ja Rule), Eminem signed 50 to a seven-figure contract in 2002 and helmed his quick rise toward crossover success in 2003. The product of a broken home in the rough Jamaica neighborhood of Queens and, in turn, the storied hood's hustling streets themselves, 50 lived everything most rappers write rhymes about but never actually experience: drugs, crimes, imprisonments, stabbings, and, most infamously of all, shootings; all of this before he even released his debut album. Of course, such experiences became 50's rhetorical stock-in-trade. He reveled in his oft-told past, he called out wannabe gangstas, and he made headlines. He even looked like the ideal East Coast hardcore rapper: big-framed with oft-showcased biceps, abs, and tattoos as well as his trademark bulletproof vest, pistol, and iced crucifix. Furthermore, his distaste for flossing stunner-rappers and materialistic women -- yet somewhat paradoxically coupled with his appetite for guns, drugs, and wealth -- made him a welcome alternative to the bling-bling sect in the early 2000s.

50 Cent (pronounced "Fiddy Cent") is an immensely popular US rap artist. Once almost unknown outside his hometown of New York, he became the first artist signed to Eminem's record label Shady Records who was scouted before knowing Eminem. He appeared on the 8 Mile soundtrack with an accompanying song and video that immediately went into heavy rotation on BET, MTV, and radio stations across the country. In the opinion of many observers his continued success seems guaranteed by his large underground fan base and the "mad street cred" he has gained by appearing on almost every major mix tape sold in New York in the past few years.

Interscope Records is very determined to sell 50 Cent as the "real deal", as the success of an artist in gangsta rap depends on his street cred and reputation. In this respect 50 Cent has a clear advantage over almost every other mainstream rapper. His mother was killed in a drug deal, he was a drug dealer himself, he has been shot nine times (nine bullets in one shootout), he overcame enormous disadvantage, and he built a large rap empire in New York city before ever signing a major record deal.

50 Cent was born Curtis Jackson in the late 1970s in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York to a single mother who was forced to deal drugs in order to provide for him. When he was aged eight his mother was violently killed in a drug deal gone bad and he was taken in by his grandparents and became accustomed to the workings of the street and how to make money illegally. 50 Cent (who gets his name from gangster 50 Cent of Fort Green Projects in Brooklyn, New York) thought of rap as only a hobby until the birth of his baby boy. Between his many run-ins with the law and his new role as provider, 50 decided it was time to pursue rapping seriously as a career.

He met up with Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC fame and was signed to his label JMJ. 50 Cent was intent on learning the rigors of producing palatable rap music: how to count bars, the basics of song structure and importance of good production. Despite learning all this, 50 saw that he wasn't going to get to where he wanted to go with JMJ, and left the label in search of someone who could help him achieve his dream of rap stardom. He teamed up with the all-star hip-hop production duo Track Masters who recognized 50 Cent's talent for incisive lyrics and signed him to Columbia Records in 1999. Although he looks back on this time with displeasure (his biography refers to it as being "locked up in the studio"), the 18 days spent in a studio in Upstate NY produced 36 tracks which later became his breakthrough album Power of the Dollar. Although never officially released, the album was heavily bootlegged, judged a classic by Blaze Magazine, and the humorous ode to robbing a slew of industry rappers (Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, DMX, various members of the Wu-Tang Clan, even his producers Track Masters, and many more) was an instant hit for New York radio.
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Despite the heavy bootlegging and having to use his $2500 advance from Columbia for purchasing crack to sell to continue financing his rapping, things were looking up for 50 Cent. He had a hit single that hip-hop heads couldn't get enough of and struck an unpleasant chord with mainstream artists causing controversy. In the world of underground hip-hop there's no such thing as bad publicity. Many of them came back with their own dis songs, only helping to make 50 Cent more famous. Despite his shaky financial position, 50 Cent was beginning to make enough money from performing concerts to make a decent living. In April 2000, however, tragedy struck when 50 Cent was shot nine times, including a 9mm bullet to his jaw. What might have killed a lesser man only made 50 Cent stronger, more determined, and gave 50 a reputation in the streets as an OG (original gangster). He was dropped from his label and after months of recovery, 50 split his hours evenly between the gym and the studio. These many hours spent working out post-recovery has given him the chiseled out of stone look he has now. Despite no label or financial backing, 50 kept recording music with his new friend and business partner Sha Money XL, releasing more than 30 tracks on various mix tapes with the sole intent of creating a buzz. In May 2002, 50 Cent independently released an entire album of new material called Guess Who's Back? Not content with one hot album, 50 Cent and his crew G-Unit (which includes three rappers and himself) collaborated on the bootleg album 50 Cent is the Future, which featured 50 and his crew rapping entirely over beats already made famous by mainstream artists.

Guess Who's Back? and 50 Cent is the Future were heard by a very impressed Eminem who brought the rapper to Dr. Dre's attention. The good doctor liked what he heard and endorsed the idea of signing a deal, and working with 50 Cent on an album. Eminem was quick to get onto New York's hip-hop radio circuit with the message that 50 Cent was his favorite rapper at the moment. After a meeting with Interscope and Eminem in Los Angeles, 50 Cent quickly signed a deal with Interscope/Aftermath (Dre's label)/Shady (Eminem's label) to release a record. Before starting production of his new album with Eminem and Dre, 50 quickly released another bootleg album of his raps over stolen beats entitled No Mercy, No Fear with the only 'original' production being Wanksta, a veiled dis aimed at 'industry' rapper Ja Rule. Although 'Wanksta' was never meant as a radio single, under the barrage of 50 Cent albums and the buzz over Eminem's words of praise and subsequent deal with 50 Cent; Wanksta quickly became the most requested song on New York radio. Capitalizing on the appropriated song's success, it was added it to Eminem's hit movie soundtrack 8 Mile and had it's own video released, quickly entering heavy rotation on MTV, BET, MuchMusic, and radio stations around the country.

With the buzz built, a hit single that just wouldn't go away, and legions of rap fans foaming at the mouth to get 50's new CD, 50 Cent was destined for great things, or at least plenty of dough. In its first week of release, 50's first major label debut Get Rich or Die Tryin' sold 872,000 units as stores struggled to keep up to the demand. In fact, not only was the album certified gold in it's first week and platinum the next, but it broke the record for first week sales of any major label debut in the entire SoundScan era. On June 12, 2003 Get Rich or Die Tryin' was certified five times platinum (i.e. has sold 5,000,000 albums) by the RIAA.

With a clear vision to remain focused on his explosive career, 50 Cent has recently collaborated on tracks with some of hip-hop's finest artists, including label mates Eminem and Dr. Dre. He has signed a deal with Interscope Records to sign and develop artists under the imprint G-Unit Records. Naturally, the first rapper slated to release an album under this label will be none other than a member of 50's very own crew, G-Unit's Lloyd Banks.
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