While it was Jay Z who famously
rapped, “I’m not a businessman, I’m
a business man ,” the lyric is certainly
not exclusive to just him. From
Russell Simmons to Sean “Diddy”
Combs and many others, Hip-Hop
has come a long way solely on the
strength of entrepreneurial spirits.
Additionally, music alone is obviously
not generating revenue like it used to
and so rap artists are constantly
looking to find new ways of making
money. One artist who did that, even
while his records were selling in the
multi-millions, was Curtis “50 Cent”
And considering his recent departure
from Interscope Records, it is now
important to acknowledge 50 for the
mogul that he is. He is definitely
responsible for some hit music, but
another thing that factors into his
monumental success is his
outstanding business acumen.
With the recent release of two new
songs leading up to Animal Ambition
on June 3, has put
together a list of 50’s 10 best
business moves (in chronological
order) – both in and out of the
recording studio. It proves that Fif not
only got rich instead of died trying,
but also that he has the corporate
savvy to continue to flourish for a
very long time.
10). 50 Cent is the Future (2002): 50
Cent took Ice Cube’s “Jackin’ for
Beats” approach and then elevated it
to the next level. Instead of just
rapping a few bars or a verse over
other artists’ instrumentals, he made
records. This showcased he could rap
over quality production as well as
write complete songs. In 2005, the VP
of A&R at Shady Records at the time
said, “50 Cent used the mix tape
circuit – he took all the hottest beats
from every artist and flipped them
with better hooks.” It hadn’t been
done so successfully, and the mix
tape game certainly hasn’t been the
same since.
09). G-Unit Clothing Company &
Reebok Deal (2003): With help from
Mark Ecko, the founder of Eckō
Unlimited, 50 founded the G-Unit
Clothing Company. At one time, Ecko
even compared their deal to “Nike
and (Michael) Jordan coming
together for Air Jordan.” However, in
2008, G-Unit Clothing and Ecko split
while 50 was able to retain full
ownership of the brand. In 2003, 50
also teamed up with Reebok and put
out G-Unit sneakers. According to a
tweet from 50 himself in November
2012, he sold over 5 million paris of
sneakers and made $80 million
dollars during his time with the
sports apparel and accessories
08). Beg for Mercy (2003): After the
blockbuster success of his Shady /
Aftermath debut, a follow-up from 50
Cent was in high demand. However,
instead of doing that, he opted to
release a proper G-Unit album first.
Even though none of the other G-Unit
soldiers had the star power 50
welded, the positioning and success
of G Unit’s Beg For Mercy helped
everyone else in the group. Lloyd
Banks, Young Buck, and Tony Yayo
eventually brought back plaques for
their solo work and ultimately added
to the G-Unit movement.
07). Formula 50 (2004): “I took
quarter water, sold it in bottles for 2
bucks / And Coca-Cola came and
bought it for billions, what the f**k?”
According to The Washington Post,
50’s then manager, Chris Lighty
(R.I.P.), had a business acquaintance
named Rohan Oza who worked for a
beverage company called Glaceau
which made Vitaminwater. And after
Oza saw 50 drinking Vitaminwater in
a Reebok shoes commercial, Lighty
and Oza came up with the idea of
using 50 Cent as the spokesperson for
a new Vitaminwater flavor called
Formula 50 because it contained 50
percent of the recommended RDA
(recommended daily/ dietary
allowance) of seven different vitamins
and minerals. But rather than a
conventional endorsement deal, 50
wanted to invest and he did. Then in
the spring of 2007, Coca-Cola bought
Glaceau for $4.1 billion – a company
which 50 had a 10% share. After all
other costs were deducted, the report
that 50 received $400 million really
turned out to be between $60 and $
100 million. Still not to shabby for a
former drug dealer from South
Jamaica, Queens.
06). (2007): In 2007,
50 Cent and Chris “Broadway”
Romero launched . It is
a site with original content as well as,
among other things, news, mixtape
downloads, and videos. According to
the site itself, “Each month, THISIS50
reaches over 3 million unique visitors
who look at nearly 20 million pages
of content.”
05). Cheetah Vision (2009): While it’s
not uncommon for rappers to star in
movies, Mr. Jackson is unique in that
he founded two film production
companies -G-Unit Films in ‘03 and
Cheetah Vision in ’09. While G-Unit
Films would eventually fold, Cheetah
Vision was more prosperous and
even landed a $200 million deal
which would be used to fund a 10
picture agreement. In addition to it
being a vehicle for 50 to expand his
acting resume, Cheetah Vision has
also gotten notable and well-
established acting talents such as
Robert De Niro, Bruce Willis, Forest
Whitaker, John Cusack, and Rosario
Dawson to star in their films as well.
04). SMS Audio (2011): 50 founded
SMS Audio and, within the same
year, bought out KonAudio with the
intention of rebranding KonAudio
using his name and star power. Over
that last few years, the company has
continued to consistently put new
headphones in the marketplace. This
past January, SMS Audio introduced
a Carmelo Anthony signature line and
Star Wars themed headphones as
part of a collaboration with
03). Street King (2011): After a trip to
Africa, 50 Cent partnered with Pure
Growth Partners and launched an
energy drink, Street King, with the
goal that proceeds from those sales
would be used to feed a billion kids in
Africa by 2016. “50 Cent and I share a
common vision,” Chris Clark
expressed, founder and CEO of Pure
Growth Partners, “To address the
world’s growing problems through
smart and sustainable business
02). Boxing Promotion (2012): When
50 first ventured into the boxing
business, he became a licensed
promoter and created TMT
Promotions with Floyd Mayweather,
Jr. However, after a few months,
Floyd and 50 parted ways and 50
formed a new company, SMS
Promotions, without Mayweather’s
assistance. Perhaps most notably,
SMS Promotions signed junior
middleweight James Kirkland in
October 2013 after he had been out of
action since March of the previous
year due to legal issues and a lawsuit
with his last promoter.
1). Swan Racing (2014): Just
recently, 50 got involved with
NASCAR when his SMS audio line
became an associate sponsor of
Sprint Cup Series team, Swan
Racing. “Swan Racing and its up-
and-coming drivers are the perfect
match for SMS Audio,” Fif announced
in a statement. “They are as
passionate for the sport of racing as
we are for our audio products, and
we’re confident that the music-loving
NASCAR fan base is going to enjoy
our headphones.”
What do you think of 50 as a mogul?
What do you think is his best
business move? Share your thoughts
in the comments section below!

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