Friday, January 11, 2013

50 Cent -- "In da Club" (2003)

If you watch how I move
You'll mistake me for a player or pimp
Been hit with a few shells 
But I don't walk with a limp

In 2000, Curtis James Jackson III -- better known as "50 Cent" -- was an up-and-coming young rapper whose career was just about to take off when he was shot nine times while he was sitting in a car outside his grandmother's house in Queens.  The assailant was allegedly Daryl "Hommo" (short for "Homicide") Baum, a Mike Tyson friend and bodyguard, who was himself killed three weeks later.

50 Cent's career did take off a couple of years later when Eminem heard one of his mixtapes.  Eminem introduced 50 Cent to Dr. Dre, who signed him to a record deal and helped produce his heavily-hyped major-label debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin'.  

That album hit the Billboard album chart at #1, and sold 872,000 copies in the first four days of its release.  Twelve million copies of Get Rich or Die Tryin' were sold by the end of 2003, which explains how 50 Cent ended up being worth $150 million (according to Forbes magazine).  

"In da Club," the first single off the album, was #1 on the Billboard "Hot 100" for nine weeks.  The lines quoted above refer to the 2000 assault on 50 Cent -- he modestly says he was "hit with a few shells."  

50 Cent, Dr. Dre, P. Diddy, Jay-Z:
a billion dollars' worth of rappers
Some people have said that 50 Cent was not shot nine times, but only three.  If you ask me, three times is still about four times more than I would ever want to be shot.  But three certainly isn't as impressive as nine, and rappers have been known to engage in a bit of hyperbole from time to time.

As some of you more studious "Hip Hop 101" students already know, 50 Cent is often referred to as "Fitty" or "Fiddy."  During an interview on CNBC's business news program, Power Lunch, 50 Cent explained that he got that nickname from the way Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy) pronounced "fifty."  (Sharon is British.)

Click here to watch Fitty's Power Lunch interview. 

50 Cent was on that program to promote one of his many business ventures.  He has a clothing company and signed endorsement deals with Reebox, Right Guard, and a condom company.  (I don't think 50 Cent's "Magic Stick" condoms are still for sale.) 

But his big killing came when he created a vitamin water for Glacéau called "Formula 50."  Coca-Cola later purchased Glacéau for over $4 billion, and the word is that 50 Cent took home $100 million (after taxes) from his ownership stake in the company.

50 Cent is quite a Renaissance man.  In addition to his business activities, he's written an autobiography, a novel, and a graphic novel.  He's appeared in several major motion pictures, and has started a production company of his own.  He made a cameo appearance on The Simpsons, had an MTV reality show, and did the voiceover for the protagonist in the 50 Cent: Bulletproof video game. 

Last but not least, Fitty got a license to be a boxing promoter in 2012, and has signed up several boxers (including a couple of Olympic medalists and the former IBF featherweight champ).

"Magic Stick" condoms
50 Cent is famous for his feuds with other rappers.  He has had so many feuds that Wikipedia has an article titled "50 Cent feuds."  Click here to read that article.

His first major feud, which began in 1999 and lasted well over a decade, was with Ja Rule.  It's better known as the "G-Unit vs. Murder Inc." feud -- G-Unit was 50 Cent's record label, and Murder Inc. Records was Ja Rule's label.  

Fitty also feuded with Fat Joe, Nas, Jadakiss, Chamillionaire, Master P, Cam'ron, The Game, Lil Wayne, Young Buck and Slim the Mobster.  Rap feuds are often fought with dueling diss songs, and 50 Cent and the rappers he has feuded with have produced dozens of diss songs over the years.  

One of 50 Cent's best feuds is his feud with Rick Ross.  Ross started it in 2009 because he said 50 Cent looked at him the wrong way at the BET Awards.  But Fitty said later that he didn't even remember seeing Ross there.  A lot of the diss songs about Ross that 50 Cent released were based on the claim that Ross had been a correctional officer -- which was somewhat inconsistent with Ross's drug dealer persona.

Rick Ross
50 Cent may have been hitting below the belt when he leaked a sex tape featuring Ross's baby mama.  (Fitty added a soundtrack of himself providing commentary during the tape.)

50 Cent also had a memorable feud with Sean Combs (a/k/a "Puff Daddy" and "P. Diddy").  Fitty's song "Hip-Hop" alleged that Combs knew more than he was telling about the Notorious B.I.G.'s murder.  The two supposedly made peace, but the feud broke out again in 2010 when 50 Cent said Diddy's music sucked.  

Their feud reignited at a 2012 awards celebration when the two were seen arguing backstage.  50 Cent was overheard calling Combs a "b*tch n*gga" over and over.  Combs reportedly said "I got too much money for this" as he walked away.

Here's the official music video of "In da Club":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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