NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Using a Twitter feed to pump a penny stock in his portfolio doesn't make hip-hop businessman 50 Cent less of a novelty. The investors who took his advice did.
Days after 50 flirted with market malfeasance and SEC scrutiny by using his Twitter account to encourage 3.8 million followers to invest in H&H Imports ( HNHI.OB) -- the company that produces his Sleek line of headphones, for which he holds roughly 7.5 million shares and warrants for more than 20 million more -- the question isn't why he would do such a thing, but why investors would go along with it, increasing H&H stock value by nearly 300% (or more than $50 million) in one day and extending 50 Cent's influence from MTV and BET to CNBC.
It's been more than half a decade since 50 Cent's only job title was "rapper." Now, among other things, he's drawing SEC attention for touting stocks on Twitter.
The smarmy answer is that he's a celebrity and the lemmings will jump off any cliff he points to, but the truth is Mr. Curtis Jackson's been right about these sort of investments before. It's been more than half a decade since 50 Cent's only job title was "rapper" -- and even longer since his resume included "crack dealer" -- and his extracurricular business dealings have arguably influenced his brand as much as his 2003 debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin and the single In da Club or its multiplatinum followup The Massacre and tracks such as Candy Shop and Just A Lil' Bit. In 2003, following in the footsteps of Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons and his Phat Farm clothing line and rapper/producer Sean "Diddy" Combs' Sean John label, 50 Cent teamed up with designer Marc Ecko to launch his G-Unit Clothing line. Two years later, he licensed himself and his G-Unit crew to former Vivendi Universal video game company and now-dormant Activision ( ATVI) subsidiary Sierra Entertainment for 50 Cent: Bulletproof -- a Grand Theft Auto-style run-and-gun game for Sony's ( SNE) PlayStation and Microsoft's ( MSFT) Xbox that eventually yielded the Middle East-based war games followup 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand released by THQ ( THQI). That same year, 50 Cent starred in his first feature film, the semi-biographical Get Rich or Die Tryin', spawning film production companies G-Unit Films in 2007 and Cheetah Vision in 2009 -- the latter of which secured $200 million in funding last year and is set to release its 50 Cent-starring first feature Gun.