The renowned rapper, 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has an intriguing backstory behind his stage name. Unlike his contemporaries such as Wu-Tang Clan who drew inspiration from kung-fu movies and comic books or Nas and Tupac who used variations of their real names, 50 Cent’s alias was inspired by a local hero.
Kelvin Martin, a drug dealer and robber from Brooklyn, New York, was known by the nickname 50 Cent. The stories of Martin’s exploits reached Queens, where Jackson was raised. There are varying accounts of how Martin earned his nickname; some say it was due to his willingness to rob anyone regardless of the amount they carried, while others attribute it to a dice game where he turned 50 cents into $500.
Sadly, Martin was shot dead at the age of 23. However, his legacy lived on as he inspired Jackson’s stage name. Despite his early life struggles, Jackson survived and went on to sell 11 million copies of his debut album under the name 50 Cent. In previous interviews, Jackson has stated that he chose the name 50 Cent as it encapsulates everything he wanted to convey about himself – a person who provides for himself by any means necessary.