50 Cent, the American rapper whose hit albums include the multiplatinum Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and who pitched his background as a drug dealer as a useful guide for a business career, has filed for personal bankruptcy.
In a filing under his legal name, Curtis James Jackson III, in a Connecticut bankruptcy court on Monday, the rapper claimed to have $10m-$50m in assets and the same range in debts.
He added that he had between one and 49 creditors.
“This filing for personal bankruptcy protection permits Mr Jackson to continue his involvement with various business interests and continue his work as an entertainer, while he pursues an orderly reorganisation of his financial affairs,” said William Brewer III, Mr Jackson’s attorney.
The filing came on the same day Mr Jackson was due to testify about his finances at a trial stemming from a sex tape that a woman complained he posted online without her permission. A jury last week awarded the woman $5m in damages and was set this week to consider further punitive damages against Mr Jackson.
The rapper had in May tried to avoid the lawsuit by filing for federal bankruptcy on behalf of SMS Promotions, his boxing promotion company, but a judge ruled that the case should proceed.
Forbes pegged Mr Jackson as hip-hop’s fourth wealthiest artist this year behind Diddy, Dr Dre and Jay Z, with a net worth of $155m.
In 2007 he made $100m from the sale of his stake in Vitamin water, when the drinkmaker’s parent company, Glacéau, was acquired by Coca-Cola.
He holds stakes in Frigo, a luxury underwear brand, Effen, a vodka label, SMS Audio, a headphones maker, and has founded a record label, G-Unit.
The rapper has also tried to trade on his street smarts as a management guru.
In The 50th Law, a book of business advice co-written with Robert Greene, Mr Jackson called on his experience as a young hustler in Queens to offer insight on confronting fear.
“It takes constant effort to carve a place for yourself in this ruthlessly competitive world,” he wrote. “Your task is to resist the temptation to wish it were all different; instead you must fearlessly accept these circumstances, even embrace them.”