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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Rapper 50 Cent leads 2003 sales
50 Cent
50 Cent survived being shot nine times in 2000
Controversial rapper 50 Cent has cemented his status as music's hottest property after his album was confirmed as the United States' biggest-selling CD of the year so far.

More than four million copies of Get Rich or Die Tryin have been sold in the US since its release two months ago.

The 26-year-old rapper, from Queens, New York, rose to stardom after being discovered by Eminem.

But he has been criticised for lyrics about drugs and gun violence, and his background selling crack cocaine and involvement in gang feuds.

His album was certified four-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, meaning it has sold four million copies.

When it was released, it sold 872,000 copies in its first week and 822,000 the following week, making it one of the most successful rap albums in history.

Drug career

The rapper rose up from the streets and said his mother was a crack dealer and was killed when he was eight.

He added that he took up the "family business" of drug dealing aged 12.

The rapper escaped death when he was shot nine times in 2000, and has said there are still people who want him dead.

His first musical mentor, Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, was killed by gunmen in October 2002.

In January, 50 Cent was arrested after guns were found in his vehicle in New York.

He was hotly-tipped for stardom after winning BBC News Online's Sound of 2003 poll to find the artists most likely to make it big in the next 12 months.

Rock group reign

Get Rich or Die Tryin is currently at number four in the US chart.

Rock group Linkin Park knocked it off the top spot on Wednesday after their new album, Meteora, sold 810,000 copies in its first week.

Another new release, Celine Dion's One Heart, went to number two with sales of 432,000.

In third place was pop compilation Now That's What I Call Music 12.

Rapper 50 Cent storms US chart
13 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
50 Cent: The $1m rapper
23 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
Rapper wins Sound of 2003 poll
24 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
Rapper 50 Cent 'arrested over guns'
02 Jan 03  |  Entertainment

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