Close to 20 years after the release of his landmark hip-hop debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, American rapper 50 Cent is showing no signs of losing popularity in Israel.
Shortly after his July 4 show at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena was announced in April it had already sold out, and a second show was added for the following night.
The shows are part of his world tour, which opened in London on June 10 and also saw him perform in several other European countries including Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, before arriving in the Holy Land at the end of the tour.
The artist announced the show on Instagram and Twitter in late April saying, “Tel Aviv, Israel! It’s going down Monday, July 4th at the Menora Mivtachim Arena. We’re going to have a good time!”
“Tel Aviv, Israel! It’s going down Monday, July 4th at the Menora Mivtachim Arena. We’re going to have a good time!”50 Cent
He later announced on Twitter that he was adding another show “since the first show sold out in 12 hours.”
50 Cent is no stranger to Israel. He performed here in 2006 and was last in Israel in 2013 to promote his headphone company.
Born in Queens in 1975, Curtis Jackson III was selling drugs at the age of 12 before he began pursuing a music career. In 2000 he produced an album titled Power of the Dollar, but days before it was set to be released, he was shot nine times while sitting in a friend’s car.
Two years later he was discovered by Eminem, releasing his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in 2003. Produced by Eminem and Dr. Dre, the album catapulted 50 Cent into the industry and he received his first Grammy for the album.
He’s since released seven more albums and 57 singles including hits such as “Candy Shop,” “P.I.M.P” and “In Da Club.” He’s sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and in addition to his Grammy, he’s won 13 Billboard Music Awards, six World Music Awards, three American Music Awards and four BET Awards.
He’s also acted in 29 films, published several books and been involved with numerous business ventures.
In February he was brought on as a surprise guest during the Super Bowl Halftime Show and performed his 2003 hit “In Da Club” alongside other hip-hop stars Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dog and Kendrick Lamar. Like in the original music video, 50 Cent was hanging upside down in a medical lab during the beginning of the performance.
Known for his sharp tongue, the rapper has also been involved in several feuds with a number of fellow artists including Ja Rule and Madonna.
Evidently, he’s also riled the loosely-knit BDS movement, which slammed the announcement of his shows. Other pro-Palestinian supporters said his performances in Israel were shameful.
50 Cent “is shameless! Israel is the most racist antiblack entity. You will be shamelessly singing to Zionists/white supremacists,” wrote one pro-Palestinian Twitter user.
However, those proclamations seem to have done little to dissuade the rapper from returning to one of his strongest fan bases outside the US.