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(Washington Post) — By the summer of 2003, 50 Cent’s debut album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” had sold more than 5 million copies, and he was easily on his way to becoming a multimillionaire on these sales alone. But the rapper from Queens, who was born Curtis Jackson and had begun his career on the reputation of being shot nine times (a bullet was still lodged in his tongue), wasn’t content to remain a recording artist. And his young manager, Chris Lighty, himself a Bronx street kid turned businessman, was well-positioned to exploit 50’s stardom by creating multiple income streams. Lighty had come out of the Def Jam fold and managed such stars as Missy Elliott and LL Cool J. With Lighty, 50 Cent created the “G-Unit” brand, including a record company, a clothing company and a sneaker deal with Reebok’s RBK line. The G-Unit Clothing Company was a joint-venture deal, with hip-hop-influenced designer Marc Ecko fronting the money, handling the manufacturing and distribution, and splitting the profits fifty-fifty with 50.

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