An orphan at eight, crack dealer at 12, rapper at 21 and shot nine times aged 24, it’s quite frankly a miracle Curtis ‘ 50 Cent’ Jackson is alive today, let alone worth an estimated $ 270 million. But since surviving a barrage of bullets in 2000 and making his name in the rap and movie world, 50 Cent now enjoys even more success as a wily investor.
If the launch of Jackson’s own music and fashion label ( GUnit Records and G- Unit Clothing, respectively) was a common rap move when he did so in 2003, his alignment with VitaminWater was a particularly inventive one. Largely teetotal after a sketchy upbringing in the company of alcoholics, Fiddy was the perfect celebrity to endorse the avoured water in 2004, for the simple fact he drank it himself. But, rather than be VitaminWater’s poster boy, Jackson became a shareholder, even working with the company to create a new grape- avoured product, Formula 50.
So when parent company Glaceau sold VitaminWater to Coca- Cola in 2007 for $ 4.1 billion, 50 Cent earned himself an estimated $ 100 million from the deal. Impressive though the gure may be, Jackson himself wasn’t satis ed – a testament to his entrepreneurial nature. “I was focused on the fact that $ 4.1 billion was made,” said Fiddy. “I think I can do a bigger deal in the future.”
Since then, Jackson has launched his own electronics company ( SMS Audio), partnered with Right Guard to create Pure 50 RGX Body Spray, and has vowed to provide a billion meals to the World Food Programme through sales of his latest soft drink venture, SK Energy.
And like a hip- hop Gordon Gekko, 50 Cent’s current empire is all about variety. Stocks and shares, real estate, books, a self- starring video game and even his own lm production company, Cheetah Vision. In 2008 there were even rumours Jackson was looking to trademark his own brand of platinum.
“I’ve got a diverse portfolio,” Fiddy deadpanned at the time.