“Technology is what’s changing the business. Gotta get with it. I take money no matter if it’s coins or dollars,” rapper-turned businessman 50 Cent said after reports that he would take bitcoin payments for his 2014 album Animal Ambition.
Having filed for bankruptcy with debts of $32.5m in 2015, it has been a whirlwind few years for the Candy Shop singer.
50 Cent net worth: ups and downs
50 Cent’s net worth peaked at $155m in 2015 according to Forbes’ annual Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists list. The popular rapper had featured on the list every year since it was first published in 2007.
However, a 2016 legal battle saw his worth drop by almost $200m in 12 months, leaving him bankrupt with $32.5m of debt. There were some claims of fabrication after pictures of the rapper posing with wads of cash were posted on image sharing platform Instagram.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, 50 Cent is currently worth $20m.
How 50 Cent made (and lost) his fortune
Discovered by hip-hop star Eminem, 50 Cent rose to fame as a musician in 2002 after signing a $1m record deal with rapper-turned-producer Dr. Dre.
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Within five years, hits such as In da Club and Candy Shop made 50 Cent into one of the biggest names in hip-hop. He branched out from music and tried his hand at acting (Get Rich or Die Tryin’) and video games (50 Cent: Bulletproof).
According to Forbes, the rapper was the market’s second highest earner in their inaugural 2007 Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, having made $32m over the previous 12 months.
Albums such as Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which sold 12m copies in its first six months, made 50 Cent a rich man. However, as is often the case with hip-hop’s top earners, most of his wealth came from business ventures.
Notably, 50 Cent partnered with enhanced water company Glacéau in 2004 to serve as the celebrity spokesperson for flavoured mineral water VitaminWater in exchange for a share of the company. Mentioning VitaminWater in numerous songs and interviews, the brand’s popularity grew with 50 Cent’s fan base.
This ultimately led Cola-Cola to shell out $4.1bn to acquire Glacéau in 2007. As a minority shareholder, the rapper reportedly earned $100m after tax.
He has since invested some of his money in Dutch alcohol brand Effen Vodka in the hopes of a repeat. Likewise, he signed a $78m deal with underwear brand FRIGO Revolution in 2014 to become its chief fashion designer.
Such deals saw his worth climb to $155m in 2015. However, he somehow found himself $32.5m in debt that same year.
50 Cent declared bankruptcy days after he was found guilty of releasing a sex tape online in June 2015, for which he was ordered to pay $5m to the victim. The previous year, Jackson had been ordered to pay $17m to headphone manufacturer Sleek Audio for copying their designs.
According to bankruptcy filings, the rapper was $32.5m in debt with estimates assets of $16m, leaving him $16.5m in the red.
The case has since been resolved. According to TMZ, the rapper agreed to pay off $23m in debts over five years back in 2016. However, it has left 50 Cent’s net worth diminished. Or, at least, so the rap star claims.