50 Cent Curtis James Jackson III grew up in the South Side of Jamaica, Queens, New York in poverty-stricken circumstances. When he was eight years old, his mother was murdered in her home in a drug deal, and 50 Cent moved in with his grandparents. He soon became immersed in the drug trade, hustling around his native neighborhood by the name of "Boo Boo." Later he was shot at 9 times (3 hit) and stabbed. By embracing that reputation, 50 Cent built a large following in New York before ever signing a major record deal. This was exemplified in 1995, when he featured in the video for 'Incarcerated Scarfaces' by Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan.
50 Cent met up with Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC and was signed to his label to write all of his music. After leaving Jam Master Jay, he teamed up with the hip-hop production duo Track Masters. 50 Cent was signed to Columbia Records in 1999. The controversial single "How to Rob", an ode to robbing a slew of industry rappers, was a hit on the radio. The next single, "Ghetto Qu'ran", started a feud with the drug kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff who was the leader of the New York gang called the "Supreme Team." In the song he says, "'Preme was the Business man and Prince (Supreme's cousin) was the killer." 50 had once worked with McGriff and the Supreme Team and they were not pleased about him leaving the business. His debut album Power of the Dollar was shelved, and subsequently 50 Cent left Columbia Records shortly after being shot on May 24, 2000.
Eminem first heard 50 Cent on one of his mixtapes, which he brought to Dr. Dre's attention. Eminem expressed interest in the rapper on MTV. After numerous negotiations with various record labels, 50 Cent officially signed to Interscope Records. The rapper was also the first to sign onto a joint effort between Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. Interscope marketed 50 Cent as the "real deal", and his appearance on the 8 Mile Soundtrack ("Wanksta") immediately went into heavy rotation on BET, MTV, and radio stations across the country.