Rapper-turned-businessman 50 Cent has come a long way since his days of hustling as a teen in the streets of South Jamaica.
The Guy Brewer Street Menace, who was not known for taking direction from anyone, did harken to one voice: his grandfather. The “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” rapper spent most of his youth living in his grandparents’ household, and while he didn’t have the closest relationship with his grandfather, he took heed to the lessons his elder offered because he was a provider and valued “tradition.”
Live Within Your Means
According to a resurfaced interview, one lesson Mr. Jackson taught him was how to temper expectations in the home — a tool that helped Curtis Jackson Sr. and his wife, Beulah Jackson, live within their means.
“I grew up with my grandparents. We were living on my grandfather’s income. He was real old-fashioned. He is a representation of tradition for me,” 50 Cent recalled. “He would just come and give my grandmother this check and I never understood that growing up.”
A precocious 50 Cent asked, “You just gonna give the whole check?”
Years later, the wise grandfather would explain that he gave her the whole check so she could see exactly how much money was coming in and out of the house. By doing this, it allowed the two to share the responsibilities of balancing the necessities of the house with the personal desires of those under the roof.
The “Power” executive quoted his grandfather saying, “I gave your Mama the check and stopped her from looking at things I couldn’t give her. Because she was aware of what was really there, it made my responsibilities her responsibilities.”
The elder Jackson said if 50’s grandmother needed some black pumps she would be fine with some that weren’t designer because she understood the limited finances that her husband, the sole provider, had to offer her.
Understand Your Financial Situation
The lesson he gleaned was “If you understand where you’re at financially, you make the logical decision versus if you didn’t have an understanding [because he was handling things], then you could feel deprived. It could feel like there’s something else out there that you’re not experiencing.”
This was a lesson hard learned by the rapper. Though many of his basic needs were met, he still wanted more. Prompting him to first become a street hustler, and later build his empire as a rapper, music executive, marketing genius, actor, spirit owner, and now television and film executive.
Some Lessons Learned, Others Ignored
According to various sources, 50 Cent has an estimated net worth between $40 million and $52 million, amassed through various ventures.
He made his first million in 2002 when he signed as a recording artist to Eminem’s Shady Records at the age of 27. As a rapper, he made over 5 studio albums, selling over 30 million copies worldwide. He also started his own G-Unit records, where he signed other chart-topping artists like Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Mobb Deep, and more.
In 2004, while riding the wave of his meteoric rise as an artist, he inked two deals that many consider revolutionary: Reebok and VitaminWater.
With the VitaminWater deal, 50 Cent did a genius cross-promotion move. He placed the water in his Reebok commercials and print ads. In 2004, Glacéau, the owners of VitaminWater, offered him a minority stake to rock with the brand and eventually gave him his own grape-flavored, vitamin-enriched Formula 50, according to ABC News.
As luck would have it, the company would later sell to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion and the rapper, who once watched his grandfather hand over all his money to his grandmother earned an estimated $100 million in one exchange.
In 2015, this all would come crashing down. 50 Cent would declare bankruptcy, stating he even owed his grandfather $1,737.33.
Eight years later he is redeemed and back riding high. Things have changed. The multi-hyphenate has moved from the Northeast, he doesn’t dress as flashy anymore, sits in big boardrooms for his award-winning spirit brands and hit television shows, and has lost his beloved grandmother.
What is still the same is he and his grandfather are going strong. For his 42nd birthday, he took his OG to Puerto Rico. While there, the two went to a strip club. 50 said in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel he “made it rain” when he went to the club. Not his gramps. He doled up one single bill at a time.
Still teaching 50 how not to waste money.