Counterfeit 50 Cent

Rapper 50 Cent testifying in a lawsuit over a sex tape. He filed for bankruptcy protection last week.
Rapper 50 Cent testifying in a lawsuit over a sex tape. He filed for bankruptcy protection last week.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK• 50 Cent may put on the lavish lifestyle of a rap tycoon, but he says the bling-bling is all returned to the store.

The rapper, who has filed for bankruptcy as he faces potentially huge penalties in a lawsuit over a sex tape, has testified in court that his ostentatious displays of wealth are all a show.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III, said his flashy cars and jewellery were all borrowed and his own possessions included a Casio rather than Rolex watch, said reports from Tuesday's court session in New York.

"It's like music videos, they say action and you see all these fancy cars but everything goes back to the dealership," he was quoted saying by the New York Post.

The New York Daily News said 50 Cent told the court that he did not place a US$1.6 million (S$2.2 million) bet on Floyd Mayweather's fight against Manny Pacquiao, despite publicly claiming to do so.

50 Cent said in a statement to the court that he is worth US$4.4 million, even though Forbes magazine this year estimated his wealth at US$155 million.

The rapper is seeking bankruptcy protection, which could shield him from payouts, after a jury ordered him to pay US$5 million to a woman who appeared in a sex tape that went online in 2009.

50 Cent - posing in a wig as his alter ego Pimpin' Curly - narrates the woman's sexual encounter and mocks fellow rapper Rick Ross, her former partner.

The rapper reportedly apologised in court to the woman, who could seek far more money in the form of punitive damages.

He lives in a Connecticut mansion once owned by boxer Mike Tyson and is best known for Get Rich Or Die Tryin', both the 2003 album and the 2005 movie.

He has also been an active businessman who earned an estimated US$100 million in 2007 by selling a stake in energy drink VitaminWater and has invested in mining in South Africa.

But last year, he was ordered to pay US$16 million to Sleek Audio after being accused of leaking its trade secrets.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2015, with the headline 'Counterfeit 50 Cent'. Print Edition | Subscribe