Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, entrepreneur, investor, and actor from New York City, New York. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) and The Massacre (2005). His major-label debut Get Rich or Die Tryin', has been certified nine times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 50 Cent also gained prominence with East Coast hip hop group G-Unit, of which he is the de facto leader.
Born in the South Jamaica neighborhood in the New York City borough of 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, Shady Records and Aftermath Entertainment. 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.