On June 29, 1994, Jackson was arrested for selling four vials of cocaine to an undercover police officer. He was arrested again three weeks later, when police searched his home and found heroin, ten ounces of crack cocaine and a starting pistol.
Although Jackson was sentenced to three to nine years in prison, he served six months in a boot camp and earned his GED. He has said that he did not use cocaine himself. Jackson adopted the nickname “50 Cent” as a metaphor for change. The name was inspired by Kelvin Martin, a 1980s Brooklyn robber known as “50 Cent”; Jackson chose it “because it says everything I want it to say. I’m the same kind of person 50 Cent was. I provide for myself by any means.”