Boasting the requisite swagger and a knack for infectious lyrics, rapper John "Fabolous" Jackson made a name for himself with several hit singles, plenty of face time on MTV, and at least one well-doc...
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Born John Jackson on Nov. 18, 1977, Fabolous was raised in Brooklyn's Brevoort Houses by parents of black and Dominican heritage. His big break came in 1998 with a live freestyle performance on DJ Clue's influential hip-hop radio show in New York City. Clue saw promise in the novice performer, so began featuring him on a variety of mix tapes and singles - most notably the No. 11 single "Superwoman (Part II") by Lil' Mo - before signing him to his start-up label, Desert Storm. There he was teamed with a stellar line-up of producers and artists, including Ja Rule, The Neptunes, Timbaland, and the go-to vocalist of the moment, Nate Dogg, who performed on Fabolous' 2001 debut single, "I Can't Deny It." The single rocketed up the Billboard Hot 100 chart and laid the groundwork for his debut album, Ghetto Fabolous (2001). Despite having the misfortune of dropping on Sept. 11, 2001, the album debuted at No. 4 on the Top 200 charts before eventually attaining platinum status. It also opened doors to a variety of star-making opportunities for the young artist, including going on tour and opening for superstars like Jay-Z and Nelly, and appearing in television commercials for Reebok.
The year 2002 proved to be an equally stellar time for Fabolous, with a rash of guest appearances on tracks by Bow Wow and others, as well as collaborations with P. Diddy and Jagged Edge. He also contributed a song to Electronic Arts' video game "NBA Live 2003." The eventual soundtrack compilation that included this song achieved platinum status in sales and became the highest-selling video game soundtrack to date. The following year saw the release of his sophomore album Street Dreams, which, despite yielding two more Top 10 singles - "Can't Let You Go" (with Lil' Mo) and "Into You," (which was released in two separate versions, one with actress/singer Ashanti, and the other with Tamia) - the album received less critical praise than its predecessor. However, 2003 was marred by a pair of weapons charges against the singer, both of which were later dismissed. Fabolous' third album, Real Talk, (2004) fared even worse, with just one Top 10 single, and only a gold certification in sales.
In 2005, Fabolous became the latest real life figure to earn his own superhero alter ego when Marvel Comics bestowed the honor upon him and the "Joint Chiefs" - Atlantic Records' hip-hop roster, including Fat Joe, Trick Daddy, TI, and Twista. In 2006, Fabolous left Atlantic for the venerable Def Jam Records, which released his latest album, From the Bottom to the Top. He also released a mix tape, Loso's Way, which featured his brother, fellow rapper Paul Cain. Fabolous' film and television appearances had been occasional at best; most of his onscreen credits were as himself for a variety of hip-hop specials and documentaries, including "Scarface: Origins of a Hip Hop Classic" (2003) and MTV's "Cribs" (2000- ). In 2005, he made a surprising appearance on the reality series "The Apprentice" (NBC, 2004- ) and its CBS clone "The Cut" (2005). The following year, the rapper-actor showed up in The Game's odd confessional feature, "Stop Snitchin, Stop Lyin" (2006). That same year, Fabolous made his acting debut in a supporting role as a gunman in "Scary Movie 4."
In an ironic turn of events, Fabolous was himself shot by an unidentified gunman later in 2006 after leaving a New York restaurant owned by Sean "Diddy" Combs. Hit in the thigh, the rapper spent the next several days recuperating in an area hospital. From Nothin' to Somethin', the rapper's fourth studio album and his first with Def Jam Recordings, hit stores in 2007 and included the single "Make Me Better" - Fabolous' biggest hit of career at that time. He followed with 2009's Loso's Way, a musical homage the 1993 Al Pacino crime-thriller "Carlito's Way." It became Fabolous' first album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. In two separate incidents, both generated by comments made by Fabolous on Twitter, the rapper entered into verbal battles with fellow entertainers Soulja Boy and Ray J in 2010 and 2011, respectively. In the latter instance, the war of words ended with Fabolous being punched in the face by an inebriated Ray J at a Las Vegas nightclub. In 2012, Fabolous released his long-delayed sequel album, Loso's Way 2: Rise to Power.
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