An orphan from the inner city grows up to become a drug dealer and finds his passion in a music career. A SUV full of inner city gangbangers rides up to a check cashing place. They enter through the back door pretending to deliver takeout food. They don't wear masks. They even identify themselves as the “Majestic's Crew.” Two of the gang members, Marcus (played by 50 Cent) and Bama (played by Terrence Howard) have a fight over whether they should kill the people during the robbery. Other people in the building pull out hidden weapons and even up the fight. They fire on the gang and make them leave. Once they get away, the gangbangers burn the stolen SUV to destroy the evidence. Marcus gets back to the neighborhood in his own car. Markus is shot when he leaves his car with the bag of money.
Flashback to the childhood of Marcus when his story first began. Marcus is practicing rap at the age of eight. His mother finds him practicing at three A.M. She makes him promise to treat the girls right. Marcus sees his mother fight over the corner where she sells drugs for the major drug dealer named Majestic (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Marcus gives his rap tape to a girl named Charlene. Her parents find the tape, are shocked when they listen to the lyrics of the music, mostly about sex and love, and send her away. Later in the night, Marcus' mom dies in a fire set by an arson to cover her murder. Marcus hopes his father will show up at the funeral but he does not. Marcus does not know who his father is.
Marcus ends up living with his cousins. There is not enough room in the bed and Marcus is thrown on the floor. Marcus throws a pot of water on the boy who threw him out of the bed the night before. Marcus is given a place in the basement where he can sleep alone.Marcus starts selling drugs at the age of ten. Marcus fights off three punks for the right to sell on a corner. Majestic notices Marcus and picks him up in the middle of the fight. Marcus tells Majestic he sells drugs to get money for sneakers and for a gun. Marcus buys a .357 magnum on the street for $250. He lives with his grandfather. His grandfather finds the gun. He gets busted for drugs at school. He moves out of the house. He lives in run down warehouse. He sells cocaine but he does not make much. Majestic shows him and other gang members how to make crack cocaine. The street crews fight over territory. Marcus carves out his territory from the Columbians. Marcus starts his on drug-selling street crew. They sell crack but they don't smoke it. All they care about is getting paid and getting laid. They shoot the Columbians. The Columbians shoot them. The black mafia boss (played by Bill Duke) shows up to make the peace between the black gangs and the Columbians and all the war is temporarily over.
Marcus makes enough cash to buy a Mercedes car. When he takes his new car back to the neighborhood, he is a hero. He finds his girlfriend Charlene (played by Joy Bryant) from when he was a young boy. She has grown into a fine woman. Justice (played by Tory Kittles), Keryl (Omar Besnon Miller), and Antwan (played by Ashley Walters) work for Marcus. He introduces them to his Charlene. He tells her, he is a gangsta rapper. She finds it hard to believe. Majestic goes for a ride with Marcus in his new car. Marcus takes Charlene to the nightclub. She is not impressed by the gangsta style. The Columbians come in and shoot up the place injuring one of the gang. Charlene goes back with Marcus to his place. It is a mess. But she remembers how much she loved him from childhood. They make love. The next day, they find out in the hospital, the guy who was shot is paralyzed. Marcus takes a gun and goes with his gang to shoot the Columbians. He shoots one Columbian guy, but does not kill him.
Marcus and his gang are arrested for drugs. Marcus goes to jail. The Columbians try to stab him in the prison showers, but Marcus with the help of another black man is able to fight them off. This is how he meets Bama for the first time. Bama's help is how he is saved from being killed in jail. Marcus is put in solitary confinement. While Marcus is in jail, on the outside the black gang shoots a policeman in front of the house of the Black Mafia Boss to frame him for the murder. He is sent to jail for this. This gives Majestic a chance to take over the black mafia from the boss who goes to jail. The Columbians declare war on Majestic. The come into a recording studio and kill part of Majestic's crew. Majestic has to make peace with the Columbian mafia leader named Delgado (played by Lenno Britos), which he does. Again, it is only a temporary truce.
When Marcus gets out of prison, he decides not to go back to the drug gang. He wants to be a rapper instead. He hooks up with Bama who is a bit crazy. Bama wants to be his manager. Bama is really high strung and quick to get angry. Darlene has a baby by Marcus. Marcus starts singing and he is really good. Majestic tries to get him under a recording contract, but Marcus with the help of Bama refuses to sign the contract. Majestic comes to the hospital and threatens the baby and Darlene.
Marcus writes a song about Magestic killing the police officer. Majestic stops him from getting a record deal. Bama convinces Marcus to rob the check cashing place where the Columbians are laundering their money, which we saw in the beginning of the movie. Marcus is in the street again like at the beginning of the movie after he returned home from the robbery. He has been shot and is ready to be killed. His grandma comes running out and scares the shooter away. Marcus see his life flash before his eyes. He is taken to the hospital in the back of a pickup truck. He dies. They revive him with electrical paddles to restart his heart. While he is unconscious, he remembers his mother, and he remembers he was born on the Fourth of July. Marcus survives the shooting, even though he was shot nine times.
Marcus has a hard time with his recovery and almost gives up. Charlene cannot stand being around him in this condition. She takes their baby and tries to leave. Marcus stops her before she can leave. He tells her he is sorry. Marcus recovers enough to make love to Charlene. Marcus goes back into the recording studio but his voice is not the same. He slurs because he has a fragment of a bullet still lodged in his mouth which cannot be removed. But he gets over it and gets his music chops back to the level where he starts to get popular again.
Marcus goes to prison and talks with the Black Mafia Boss and he is told by him Majestic killed his mother because of jealousy. It is possible that the Black Mafia Boss is the father or Marcus, but it is just as possible the father of Marcus is Majestic. Marcus is set to play a concert in the neighborhood controlled by Majestic. This is a major challenge to Majestic's authorit over the neighborhood. Magestic surprises everyone by coming backstage to speak with Marcus before his show. Majestic admits he killed the mother of Marcus. They have a physical fight. Majestic draws a knife. Bama shoots Majestic but does not kill him. Majestic begs Marcus to kill him, but Bama shoots him instead. Bama kills Magestic with a number of shots. Marcus goes on stage to perform, starting his new life as a rap music star.
Best part of story, including ending:
This movie shows the story of how the gangsta rap movement came from the streets.
Best scene in story:
The scene when Bama and Marcus are handcuffed and laid out on the floor of the prison after they successfully fought off the attack on Marcus' life in the prison showers is especially good because they instantly become close friends.
Opinion about the main character:
Marcus seems to finally, at the end, be able to deal with the fact there was not a man who was the father in his life and the death of his mother when he was a child. He follows he desire to make music and succeeds in spite of all the obstacles.