When Curtis was eight, someone took this mum home, drugged her, closed the windows and turned on the gas. She was just 23. Curtis moved in with his grandparents and although they tried to look after him, he was known in the neighborhood as Sabrina’s son. He soon had lots of notorious friends, friends who when he was 12 gave him three grams of cocaine to sell. He never looked back.
“You try telling a 12-year-old kid that’s not doing good in school that if you do good in school for eight more years you can have a car. And then that kid’s curiosity leads him to his neighborhood where he finds someone who’s bought that same car. He finds out that kid got the car after hustling for sic months, not studying for eight years. He’s like, ‘Damn, this feels like the route I want’.”
It wasn’t all plaint sailing, of course. Curtis wound up on probation for crack possession and then in prison too. But 50 Cent is an adaptable person, and it was inside that he recruited a gang of thieves from Brooklyn to maintain his drug-dealing patch. He employed them to rob his rival dealers, letting them keep all the jewellery as long as he got the drugs. He’s give his customers the stolen drugs as a gift to encourage them back, and all this robbing made his competitors carry guns which made them more attractive to the local police. 50 Cent soon became the most reliable dealer in his neighborhood.
“You do what you gotta do. I tell kids the outcome of all this: you get killed or you go to jail from selling drugs. But when you’re in a situation where you feel like that’s the way you’re going to get what you want, you rationalize it and say, ‘That’s what happens, but it ain’t going to happen to me.'”
Even 50 knew his time on the streets was coming to an end when he was arrested twice in three weeks in 1994. It was then that he kicked his get-out plan into gear, his plan to be a rapper. In 1996, a friend introduced him to the late Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC.
Jay took him to Columbia Records where he recorded an album, ‘Power Of The Dollar‘. As the release date approached, 50 felt that there was no anticipation surrounding the record. So he recorded ‘How To Rob‘, a tune that detailed how he’d mug any number of other artist. The tune leaked to radio stations and exploded.
“For an artist like me, there’s no Plan B. I never had a job. I went straight from selling drugs on 134th Street to recording. My album was coming out and there was no buzz. So I did ‘How To rob’ to create that buzz. If you hear someone rapping about how they gonna rob you favorite artist it’s gonna make you stop and go, ‘What did he say?’ And for me, it wasn’t out of the question.”