GREENWICH, Conn. — Rapper and actor 50 Cent on Tuesday made a passing reference to his breakfast earlier that morning, a meal the entrepreneur says he enjoyed in the company of an especially well-dressed Bengal tiger.
“Y’all see that Chiefs game last night?” the rapper, whose legal name is Curtis James Jackson III, asked his personal manicurist shortly before boarding a private flight to Thailand, where the Grammy® Award-winning recording artist planned to eat lunch before immediately returning to the United States. “My dashing tiger and I were discussing over our artichoke-scrambled eggs Benedict this morning if the Brady and Belichick era might be coming to a quick close. Sure looks that way.”
The multi-platinum performer’s tiger, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified as endangered in 2010, weighs roughly 535 lbs. and reportedly boasts a closet filled with custom-made imported Lanvin Paris suits, a wardrobe fashion insiders estimate is worth somewhere in the high six figures.
The rapper began eating breakfast with the fashionable and formidable felid in 2009 after winning the animal in a high stakes late-night poker game. Prior to the card game, the tiger belonged to Mexican business magnate and world’s wealthiest person Carlos Slim Helú, a longtime Jackson confidante whose net worth is in the neighborhood of $82 billion. Helú briefly reflected on losing the tiger in a 2012 interview with Forbes magazine.
“I honestly had forgotten I owned it,” admitted Helú, whose family routinely overnights at Jackson’s sprawling Connecticut estate when conducting business in the northeastern United States. “But a few hours before shuffling any decks, Curtis, the Koch Brothers, S. Robson Walton and I were discussing my Cigatam holdings over bowls of bird’s nest soup Fitty had just had flown in from China that morning. It was then that he suggested I put up my tiger in that night’s poker match. I embrace a good challenge, so I agreed to it. And I never saw the tiger at my home again.”
The story has become legend within the former crack dealer’s social circle, a relative who’s who of the world’s uber-wealthy that includes 86-year-old Hutchison Whampoa Chairman Li Ka-Shing and 74-year-old Mars candy heir Jacqueline Mars, with whom the 39-year-old Jamaica, Queens-born rapper reportedly had a torrid love affair in 2004. That tryst, which began shortly after the two met at the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup semifinal polo match in London, has long been rumored to be the inspiration behind Jackson’s single “Candy Shop” from his second commercial album. Released in 2005, the song peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking Jackson’s third chart-topping hit.
It’s a relationship many were surprised to see fizzle, with one notable exception, who admits to enjoying the apparent irony of a man women can never seem to tame routinely sharing his breakfast table with a once-fierce predator turned debonair domesticate.
“Curtis and I are cut from the same cloth,” said Reliance Industries Chairman and India’s wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani, who immediately restored his Facebook status to “Fitty’s Wingman” upon learning of the couple’s breakup. “Fitty might be able to train a tiger, but no woman will ever tame a tomcat like Curtis or Mukesh. We’re always going to be on the prowl.”