Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, originally appeared on the music scene in the early 2000s.
As a young star, the rapper was already a criminal in the eyes of the law, and his mother paid him a visit in what is known as “juvy” in America — the United States of America is the world’s leading prison state, with the greatest number of people of African origin imprisoned. “On the South Side you have to grow up faster. I made a lot of mistakes. I was already in juvie. I remember my Nana coming to see me, she is my angel… she loved me unconditionally,” he tweeted later, with the wisdom of an O.G. (Original Gangster).
Whether he believed in Jesus or not, the young Fiddy had a passion for music, and it was to be his savior — not only would 50 Cent survive multiple gunshot wounds, but he would go on to become the biggest hip-hop artist of the 2000s alongside his rival Kanye West, defeating the late 90s rap king, Jay-Z.
50 Cent was shot nine times in 2000. Bullets wounded his hand, arm, hip, both legs, chest, and face, leaving him with a dimple scar and a slur that can be heard frequently in his songs.
According to The Guardian, 50 Cent has long maintained that he was shot by a “low-level” narcotics dealer. However, according to court records from 2005, suspected drug king Kenneth McGriff attempted to murder 50 Cent when the rapper mentioned him in a song called “Ghetto Qu’ran.” McGriff apparently believed the single exposed too much about his business operations and ordered a hit on 50, according to Billboard.
Jackson visited the location where he was shot on an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter in 2012.
He recalled the shooting as follows:
“I came out like twelve-o-clock in the afternoon on May 24th.
“She was bent over planting flowers in the garden and I walked over here to get in the vehicle where my friend was waiting for me and a car pulled up on the side of us and a guy came out of the passenger seat of that car, came round behind it, and shot through the actual car.”
To the typical online reader, the fact that 50 Cent was shot nine times is mind-boggling. That is both absurd and God-fearingly incredible. How many angels did it take to save 50 Cent from “Many Men” that tried to murder him that day? 50 talks funny today since he got shot all over his body, including his teeth and jaw. This was a “massacre,” and 50 Cent escaped the bloodbath. In the previous decade, how many males have been shot and murdered in Chicago? It’s more than in Afghanistan… in the words of Prodigy from Mobb Deep — “There’s a war goin’ outside / no one is safe from”
After the incident, 50 Cent spent 13 days in the hospital, but he never felt the effect of the gunshots, telling Oprah Winfrey, “It doesn’t hurt as much as people imagine it hurts – because of the adrenaline. But it hurts after” – that is the suffering of a hip-hop soldier in today’s America, which is rife with gun violence.
“Going through that experience, when you get hurt that bad either your fear consumes you or you become a bit insensitive.
“There was a point where I was afraid… and then in the recovery process I got tired of being afraid. The only way to cover those emotions was to be a bit more aggressive. And to be angry about the situation opposed to how I was actually feeling at that point.”
In a 2014 interview with Hot 97’s 97 Seconds, the “Many Men” rapper discussed the assassination attempt, saying it left him “afraid” and “uncomfortable.”
“After the actual shooting, I went through a portion of me actually being afraid because I was hurt physically,” he said. “I was hurt bad. I was afraid and uncomfortable with being afraid and the only time I wasn’t afraid is when I was actively involved in actually looking for somebody connected to it.”
“I knew who did it shortly after,” 50 told Oprah. “The guy who actually shot me is dead and the guy who paid him to do it got life in jail.”
Following his release from the hospital, 50 began creating songs and releasing mixtapes on his own. His music eventually found its way to Eminem.
In an earlier interview, Eminem claimed, “When I first heard 50’s tape, I was just listening like a fan – and loving it” (via The Baltimore Sun). “I played his music for [Dr. ] Dre, and he gave it the green light. So I called 50, I said, ‘Man, if you are down with it, we would love it if you would come out here and work with us.’”
He signed a deal with Eminem’s Shady Records, Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment, and Interscope Records in 2002. The next year, he released Get Rich or Die Tryin’, a highly lauded debut studio album that included singles like “In Da Club” and “P.I.M.P.” The rest is history.