Watch a rare 1998 freestyle from 50 Cent
(Credits: Alamy)

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Watch a rare 1998 freestyle from 50 Cent

50 Cent is well-known as an early-2000s rapper who exploded onto the scene in 2003 with his debut alum, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. Few had heard of him before this, and he was not a prevalent figure in the mainstream. Although the emcee (real name Curtis Jackson) reached dizzying heights of fame after the turn of the millennium, that’s not to say he wasn’t making music during the ’90s.

In the late 1990s, Jackson was under the wing of the iconic DJ Jam Master Jay. As the former DJ of Run-DMC, he had a wealth of connections in the business and made it his mission to help Jackson acquire industry contacts. By way of networking, in 1999, due to his indisputable prominence and popularity in New York, 50 Cent ended up signing a deal with the renowned Columbia Records.

Jackson’s large following had been acquired merely through mixtapes, and Columbia executives were deliberating about the sum of advance so the young emcee to start working on an album. However, his criminal past and ongoing tribulations made him somewhat of a liability for the record label, which was hesitant to invest in him. However, this would only last for a while. According to the emcee, he was rushed and coerced into releasing his debut album, Power of the Dollar. Still, he and his project got shelved following his near-fatal shooting. 

Jackson thought it was game over for him after he got dropped. Still, luckily for the Queens musician, another artist had their eye on him. This was Eminem, and in 2001, the ‘Stan’ rapper offered 50 Cent a deal with Shady Records and Aftermath Entertainment.

This was Jackson’s seismic turning point, and the rest is history. However, while he was releasing mixtapes as an underground emcee under the wing of Jam Master Jay, a cameraman caught a freestyle he performed while in a cypher alongside Noreaga. You can see the rare footage in the video below.