Kanye West, Akon and Ludacris all played Dubai earlier this year – but it was 50 Cent who blazed the trail when he performed here about three years ago.
The hip-hop superstar is back and due to take to the stage tonight at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre from 9pm. Emirates Business brings you a guide to all things Fiddy.
Who is 50 Cent?
—OK, seriously, where have you been hiding the past few years? Curtis James Jackson III aka 50 Cent is a 32-year-old rapper from the United States. He is buddies with Eminem, and rose to fame with the release of his 2003 breakthrough album Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
Do I know any of his songs?
—You may not have any of his albums, but we bet you know at least one of his songs. Does Go shorty it’s your birthday, we’re gonna party like it’s your birthday ring a bell? That’s his biggest hit to date, In Da Club.
You may also be familiar with the rapper’s latest tune featuring Justin Timberlake, Ayo Technology.
So what’s he been up to recently?
—50 Cent has just made history by becoming the biggest star to perform in Kosovo, after playing a sold-out gig to 25,000 people last week.
Speaking before the show, the tough rap star addressed threats of violence that were aimed at him as he travelled through Europe, stating he would never consider cancelling a show. He said: “I haven’t missed a show date in my career.”
Is this 50 Cent’s first time in the Middle East?
—Nope, and 50 Cent has performed in several other Arab countries as well. He previously went to Iraq to perform for American troops deployed there.
However, his biggest concert to date in the region was in Beirut last year, where he was supported by Lebanese bombshell Haifa Wehbe.
OK, I’m ready to go to the concert, but I only have time to listen to one album. Which one should I buy?
—This year’s Curtis, which features collaborations with Akon, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. It is 50 Cent’s latest studio album, meaning he’ll probably perform a lot of its songs tonight.
Singles from the album include Straight to the Bank, Amusement Park, and of course, Ayo Technology.
That album name rings a bell. Wasn’t it in some kind of battle?
—Yes. Kanye West released his album, Graduation, on the same day as 50 Cent’s CD (September 11 in the United States, and a week later in the UAE).
50 Cent famously claimed that he would retire from music if West beat him in album sales. Despite the fact West did win in the first week, Fiddy played the claims down later on.
Now it is rumoured that it was a marketing ploy the duo drummed up to push sales of their albums.
What happened in the UAE?
—50 Cent actually beat Kanye West in the UAE in the first week of release, which probably explains why West was not in the best mood during his trip to Dubai in October.
Who’s supporting 50 Cent tonight?
—Emirati hip-hop duo Desert Heat will be opening the show. Plus, there are rumours that two other artists from his record label, G-Unit Records, will be making an appearance, so we could be expecting Young Buck or Lloyd Banks.
A female celebrity artist is also rumoured to be making an appearance.
How much are the tickets and where can I get them?
—Tickets cost Dh195, Dh295, and Dh695, and are available from Virgin Megastores as well as www.boxofficeme.com. For more information, call 04 391 4555.
But I wanna hang with 50 Cent!
—Just for you, the after-party will be at Dubai Marine’s Boudoir nightclub.
29 - the number of songs 50 Cent has released worldwide since 2003
377 - the number of weeks 50 Cent’s biggest hit, In Da Club, spent on the US music charts
21m - the number of albums 50 Cent has sold worldwide
$32m - what the rap superstar is estimated to have earned in the past year. In comparison, Jay-Z makes $34 million, while P Diddy trails behind with $28 million. It’s a hard life, eh?