Curtis James Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper and actor. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) and The Massacre (2005). Get Rich or Die Tryin' has been certified eight times platinum by the RIAA and has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. His album The Massacre has been certified five times platinum by the RIAA and has sold 11 million copies worldwide.
Born in South Jamaica, Queens, Jackson began drug dealing at the age of twelve during the 1980s crack epidemic. After leaving drug dealing to pursue a rap career, he was shot at and struck by nine bullets during an incident in 2000. After releasing his album Guess Who's Back? in 2002, Jackson was discovered by rapper Eminem and signed to Interscope Records. With the help of Eminem and Dr. Dre, who produced his first major commercial successes, Jackson became one of the world's highest selling rappers. In 2003, he founded the record label G-Unit Records, which signed several successful rappers such as Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo.
Jackson has engaged in feuds with other rappers including Ja Rule, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Cam'ron, Rick Ross, and former G-Unit members The Game and Young Buck. He has also pursued an acting career, appearing in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin' in 2005, the Iraq War film Home of the Brave in 2006, and Righteous Kill in 2008. 50 Cent was ranked as the sixth best artist of the 2000–2009 decade by Billboard magazine. The magazine also ranked him as the fourth top male artist and as the third top rapper behind Eminem and Nelly. Billboard magazine also ranked him as the sixth best and most successful Hot 100 Artist of the 2000–2009 decade and as the number one rap artist of the 2000–2009 decade. Billboard ranked his album Get Rich or Die Tryin' as the twelfth best album of the 2000–2009 decade and his album The Massacre as the 37th best album of the 2000–2009 decade. His fifth studio album, Black Magic, was released in 2011.
Jackson has founded two film production companies: G-Unit Films in 2003 and Cheetah Vision in 2008. Cheetah Vision produces low budget action thrillers for foreign film markets across the world. When G-Unit Films folded, he focused on Cheetah Vision and the company obtained $200 million in funding in 2010. In 2010, Jackson revived G-Unit Films, renaming the company to G-Unit Films and Television Inc. The company has joint ventures with Will Packer's production company Will Packer Productions and Universal Television. In over 18 months, Jackson has sold projects to six different networks. Among them was Power, a STARZ drama in which he not only co-stars but also serves as co-creator and executive producer. Power debuted in June 2014 and was renewed for a second season after one episode. Power's August 2 season finale garnered the high ratings through the season, more than doubling the premiere and it generated 71% of the African-American viewership of any scripted premium series since 2006. Jackson serves as a co‐star, co-creator and executive television producer of the STARZ network drama where he signed a 2-year contract with representation coming from the Agency for the Performing Arts. Ratings have been a success for Starz. with the second-season premiere being the highest-ever season with 1.43 million people tuning in live. Jackson also serves as an executive television producer for Dream School for SundanceTV, a series that follows fifteen high school dropouts as they are taught by a series of celebrity "teachers".
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