In the tenth grade, he was caught by metal detectors at Andrew Jackson High School: "I was embarrassed that I got arrested like that ... I was telling my grandmother [openly], 'I sell drugs.'" 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.After using a walker for six weeks, Jackson was fully recovered after five months. With business partner Sha Money XL, Jackson recorded over thirty songs for mixtapes to build a reputation.When he left the hospital he stayed in the Poconos with his girlfriend and son, and his workout regime helped him develop a muscular physique. In a Hit Quarters interview, Marc Labelle of Shady Records A&R said that Jackson used the mixtape circuit to his advantage: "He took all the hottest beats from every artist and flipped them with better hooks.Jackson was shot in the hand, arm, hip, both legs, chest and left cheek.Jackson recalled the shooting: "It happens so fast that you don't even get a chance to shoot back .... I was looking in the rear-view mirror like, 'Oh shit, somebody shot me in the face! In his autobiography, From Pieces to Weight: Once upon a Time in Southside Queens, he wrote: "After I got shot nine times at close range and didn't die, I started to think that I must have a purpose in life ... Give me an inch in this direction or that one, and I'm gone".He executive produces the show Power, which airs on Starz.During his career Jackson has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and won several awards, including a Grammy Award, thirteen Billboard Music Awards, six World Music Awards, three American Music Awards and four BET Awards.
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Jackson had similar commercial and critical success with his second album, The Massacre, which was released in 2005.
He released his fifth studio album, Animal Ambition, in 2014 and is working on his sixth studio album, Street King Immortal.