Passage from a new 50 Cent book titled 50 X 50. Link

If you want to understand me, you’ve got to understand Queens. Visually, it’s the most suburban part of New York City. It’s got long, quiet streets with freestanding houses placed between modest front and backyards. I’ve read magazine interviews where rappers say their ‘hood is like every other ‘hood. That might be true for some of them, but if they’re from New York City, they’re probably lying. Anyone who’s ever been there will tell you, New York is totally different from the rest of the country. The buildings, the streets – just the number of m-s packed together – there’s nothing like it. There’s no part of Compton that looks like Harlem. There’s no zone in Atlanta that could get mistaken for Bed-Stuy. It’s just not gonna happen. In the rest of America they build out. In New York, they build up.

There’s only one part of New York that you could say looks and feels like nearly every other ‘hood in America, and that’s the south side of Queens. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Queens is generic or that it doesn’t have its own flavor. I’m just saying that if you look at Queens the way n-s look at things – is there dope dealing? Do people drive cars? Do people live in little one-story houses like me? The answer is yes, if you’re talking about Queens and just about any other ghetto in America. I’ve always thought that was part of the reason I can write music that appeals to people outside the five boroughs better than any other New York rapper. How you live influences your mind state, and people are able to empathize with my mind state because even though it’s different than theirs, they get where it came from.

So I guess I should thank my grandparents, Curtis and Beulah Jackson. They’re the ones that moved my family to Queens in the ’50s from Ackerson, S.C.

When they bought their house in 161st St. in Jamaica, the same house I got shot in front of 40 years later, the streets weren’t even paved. Dirt roads in New York City. I think they built the roads when my mom was a child, in the ’60s, because by the time I was born in 1975 our street looked pretty much how it does today.

Until I got my first check from “Get Rich or Die Tryin,'” that house was the biggest asset that anyone in my family ever had. To my grandparents, that house meant the world.