Song: “In Da Club” by 50 Cent
Reached #1: March 8, 2003 (his first, 9 weeks)
My roots are in Queens, New York. I was born in Hollis just a couple of months before JFK was shot, and moved to Queens Village early on. Both were, at the time, middle-class neighborhoods. Even then, one area that one wasn’t comfortable in was Jamaica – which is where young Curtis Jackson was born (in 1975) and raised, and where I was sent to high school (in 1977). Clearly, if I ever crossed paths with Jackson, he’d have been in a stroller – not that I would have gone out of my way to cross paths with anyone while going to and from Jamaica High School.
Fast-forward a bit, and by 2000 (when I was comfortable settled in Richmond), Curtis Jackson was running drugs, something he’d been doing for more than a decade. In his front yard, he was ambushed by an “unknown” shooter, who put 9 bullets into him. Somehow, Jackson survived – but the “unknown” shooter (who everyone claims was a former bodyguard of Mike Tyson’s) wound up seriously dead a couple of weeks later. Jackson signed his first recording contract while in the hospital.
Jackson said he took his street name – 50 Cent – from a notorious Brooklyn thief who used the nickname to indicate that he’d steal from anyone, no matter how much (or little) they had. Jackson took the angle that it meant he’d provide for his family using any means necessary. Fortunately, he found his means when he was introduced to Eminem and set up to do an album with Dr. Dre – and “In Da Club” was the featured single of 50 Cent’s first commercial album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The irony of the whole thing? 50 Cent’s current residence, which he’s trying to sell, is in Farmington, Connecticut. It’s a mansion formerly owned by… Mike Tyson. Small world, eh?
Tomorrow, a band named after an Oldsmobile…
Other songs that reached #1 on March 8:
1975 – “Have You Never Been Mellow” by Olivia Newton-John (her second, 1 week)