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50 Cent branches out into book publishing

November 15, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Rap performer 50 Cent will start a line of books published by Simon & Schuster based on his rhymes about drug dealing, street crime and expensive cars.

The publisher will pair with parent company Viacom Inc.'s MTV division to issue a series of graphic novels and novellas starting in 2007 geared to young black readers, Pocket Books Publisher Louise Burke said Monday.

50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson, will be an advisor for the books, she said.

The series seeks to exploit 50 Cent's popularity with young, urban music listeners, a group whose appetite for books about the rapper's life was tested with the August release of his autobiography, "From Pieces to Weight."

That book, which chronicled his life as the son of a small-time drug dealer and his feud with rapper Ja Rule, spent eight weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, Burke said.

"Although music is what draws them, they are interested enough in the lifestyle of rap stars that they will come to any project they endorse," said Burke, who said she envisions six books in the series, called G-Unit Books.

The rapper's semiautobiographical movie, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," from Viacom's Paramount Pictures and MTV, has grossed $17.7 million since its premiere Wednesday.

50 Cent, 30, has come under fire from conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly, who asked supporters to boycott Reebok's line of G-Unit sneakers.

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