Born Curtis James Jackson III, 50 Cent endured substantial obstacles throughout his young yet remarkably dramatic life before becoming the most discussed figure in rap, if not pop music in early 2000. Following an unsuccessful late-’90s run at mainstream success and a successful run on the New York mixtape circuit, Eminem signed 50 Cent to a seven-figure contract in 2002 and helmed his quick rise toward crossover success in 2003.The product of a broken home in the rough Jamaica neighbourhood of Queens, 50 Cent lived everything most rappers write rhymes about but not all actual experience: drugs, crimes, imprisonments, stabbings, and most infamously of all, shootings. Of course, such experiences became 50 Cent‘s rhetorical stock-in-trade. He revelled in his oft-told past, he called out wannabe gangstas, and he made headlines. He even looked like the ideal East Coast hardcore rapper: big-framed with oft-showcased biceps, abs, and tattoos as well as his trademark bulletproof vest, pistol, and iced crucifix. But all-importantly, 50 Cent may have fit the mould of a prototypical hardcore rapper, but he could also craft a catchy hook. As a result, his music crossed over to the pop market, appealing to both those who liked his roughneck posturing and rags-to-riches story as well as those who liked his knack for churning out naughty singalong club tracks. During his career, 50 Cent has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and won several awards, including a Grammy Award, thirteen Billboard Music Awards, six World Music Awards, three American Music Awards and four BET Awards. He has pursued an acting career, appearing in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), the Iraq War film Home of the Brave (2006) and Righteous Kill (2008). 50 Cent was ranked the sixth-best artist of the 2000s and the third-best rapper (behind Eminem and Nelly) by Billboard. Rolling Stone considers Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and “In da Club” to be in their lists of “100 Best albums of the 2000s” and “100 Best songs of the 2000s” at numbers 37 and 13 respectively.