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50 cent

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Born in the South Jamaica section of Queens, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson has lived in New York City all his life. Raised by his grandparents after his father ran out and his mother was shot when he was only eight. Growing up, the Queens rapper originally wanted to be a heavyweight boxer, but eventually fell back on rapping. DJs had taken it upon themselves to release two Best of 50 Cent mix CDs, before he had even signed to a major label. 50 Cent hit the scene with "How To Rob" and he's been on a rampage ever since dealing with bootleggers, label back stabbing and other platinum selling artists trying to get at him physically. In 1999 his album Power of the Dollar, was heavily bootlegged and Trackmasters/Columbia never released it. Supposedly, Trackmasters weren't comfortable with him being caught up in the streets and getting shot three days before filming the video for "Thug Love," (with Destiny's Child) -- his first single. 50 was shot three times that night, two shots hitting him in the head, the bullet that struck his face he carries as a reminder of what happened. That event led to the fall out with Columbia and negotiating his release from their grasps. He still showed love and rhymed over a Trackmasters produced remix of "I'm Gonna Be Alright" on J-Lo's latest album, but rivals at Murder Inc. had 50 cut from the track which could have launched the rapper. This all changed in one night when Eminem said on a radio show that "50 Cent is definitely my favorite rapper right now, he's the only one keeping it real." The very next day a bidding war started on 50, ending when 50 signed to Eminem's very own label Shady/Aftermath. 50 Cent's fame has exploded, being produced by Dr. Dre and Eminem and finally making his debut album "Get rich or Die Tryin'." 50 has full access and advantage of the streets through mix-tapes; that's his forum because he controls it. 50 Cent is the most anticipated artist of 2003. It's well deserved because he's "been patiently waiting."

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