50 Cent is one of the best-selling rappers of all time, with his 2003 debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, going on to break endless records for not only debut at No. 1 in over 15 countries but also shifting another 12 million copies worldwide, which was quite unheard of from a new artist — let alone a Hip Hop rapper.
His follow-up with 2005’s The Massacre was just as successful, earning “Fiddy” an RIAA-certified diamond plaque for crossing sales of 10 million units in the U.S. alone. All of the success that had come 50’s way wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Dr. Dre, who signed him to Aftermath/Interscope back in 2002.
But 50, real name Curtis Jackson, who once snagged himself a $60 million payday, would only release another two albums before deciding to leave the record label that made him a superstar. So what exactly happened, and did Dre and 50 remain friends?
50 Cent Leaves Aftermath Records
In February 2014, 50 Cent was adamant that he was going to continue making music but it wasn’t going to be under the control of Aftermath/Interscope after several disagreements had left to his projects getting pushed back on too many occasions.
In an official statement, the “Mandy Men” rapper confirmed that he had parted ways with his former record label, yet he insisted that the partnership wasn’t ending on bad terms.
"I have had great success to date with Shady/Aftermath/Interscope and I'd like to thank Eminem and Dr. Dre for giving me an incredible opportunity,” the father of two said. "I've learned so much from them through the years. I am excited to enter this new era where I can carry out my creative vision.
"Both myself and Shady Records are grateful to have had the chance to play a part in 50's career," Eminem then continued. "Shady simply would not be what it is without 50 Cent. I've developed a great friendship with 50 over the years, and that's not going to change. We know 50 will have success in his new situation, and we remain supporters of both him and G-Unit.”
50 then went on to announce his new deal with Capitol/Caroline/UMG, which is where he went on to release his fifth studio album in June 2014.
While it may have come as a shock to the Power executive producer, Animal Ambition wasn’t a commercial success — at least not as big as the numbers 50 Cent pulled with his previous four albums (which he dropped under Aftermath/Interscope).
AB sold a measly 46,000 copies in its first week in the U.S., thus earning a placement at number four on the Billboard Hot 200. In the second week, the project dipped to number 15, selling just 17,000 copies while another 10,000 units were bought in week three.
But while the album failed to do numbers on the charts, 50 Cent still released a few singles that did fairly well, such as “Smoke” and “Pilot.”
In March 2014, just one month after announcing his departure from Aftermath, the “Window Shopper” hitmaker sat down for an interview with MTV News to explain how remaining signing with the company became a conflict of interest for the deal he had in place with SMS Audio since Interscope was associated with Apple’s Beats.
Fiddy recalled how he couldn’t promote his own headwear line in music videos because it would be conflicting with Interscope’s business concerning Beats, which ultimately became yet another problem for the 45-year-old, on top of already having had his album release dates delayed on multiple occasions.
"Not that there wasn't a whole lot of support, but just an actual fear factor created from the aura of respect that Jimmy[Iovine] has within the Interscope system," Fif gushed.
"When you see Interscope turn into Beats Records, where everyone that you see is actually marketing Beats headphones — you don't even see a music video without Beats headphones in it."
Still, though, 50 Cent has continued to share a close relationship with Jimmy, the head at Interscope Records, along with his pals Dr. Dre and Eminem, who put him on the map and propelled him to become the superstar he is today.
In January 2020, Dre and Eminem were both present when 50 was awarded his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California.
He’d even given a speech at the event to talk about his bond with the New Yorker, sharing:
“Of all the things I don’t remember about 2002, I have a very clear memory of the first time I met 50,” he quipped. “One of the first things I noticed when he walked into the room was his presence. It just kind of felt like he’s going to be a star … He was the whole package.”
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