“There’s no Plan B. I never had a job. I went straight from selling drugs on 134th Street to recording”

“I was financially in a bad place. The Columbia deal left me with five grand after I’d paid everyone, so if I wasn’t still moving crack the record couldn’t have been made. And the things I was saying wasn’t half as much a risk as just living in my ‘hood. You could just be in the wrong place, wrong time…”

Curtis was in the wrong place, outside his grandmother’s, on May 24, 2000. A car pulled alongside his as he prepared to head of a tattooist, a gunman sneaked around to 50’s side and sprayed him in his hip, hand, calf, chest, cheek and leg with bullets.

Somehow 50 won’t say much about who is was, except to insist it was street business, not music – despite last year’s murder of his mentor, Jam Master Jay.

“My son is six and watches a lot of television. But when he watches someone getting shot now he says, ‘Switch if off, daddy – it ain’t real, you been shot nine times and you still alive.’ I just have tell him that I wasn’t normal. That when it’s your time to go, it’s your time. It wasn’t my time.”

It’s 50’s time now, though. Getting shot tuned his voice – the bullet pierced his cheek, removed his tooth and permanently slurred his speech – but more importantly, it focused his mind.

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