No trouble at 50 Cent concert
New York rapper 50 Cent performed in Toronto in front of 5,000 fans on Tuesday night under the surveillance of a special police task force.
US rapper 50 Cent. (AP Photo)
The event was free of problems despite the raging controversy about the potential for violence at his concerts. The artist has been under scrutiny in Canada recently for glamourizing drugs, guns and gangs.
"I listen to that and I'm not going around killing people," said Andre Malais, 23, a university student. "It's entertainment."
Fans were patted down, videotaped and sent through metal detectors. Concert organizers decided to beef up security, using plainclothes police inside and outside the Ricoh Coliseum in downtown Toronto.
In November, Liberal MP Dan McTeague asked Immigration Minister Joe Volpe to bar the rapper from entering the country. McTeague accused the entertainer of promoting gun violence.
The issue is of special significance in Toronto right now because the city has suffered from 50 gun-related homicides so far this year. The rapper's concerts have previously been marred by violence. In 2003, a Hamilton man was gunned down at a Canada Day concert in Toronto and a year later, another man was shot after 50 Cent performed in Montreal.
50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, was granted a temporary resident's permit, necessary because of his criminal record. He started his Canadian tour in Vancouver on Dec. 3.
While performing hits like What Up Gangsta and Gunz Come Out, 50 Cent mocked Canadian officials who refused to allow several members of his musical entourage to enter the country because of various legal problems.
"We went on tour everywhere else, but they stopped us from bringing them to Canada," said the rapper to a chorus of boos.
The 30-year-old entertainer, who wears a bullet-proof vest and has been shot nine times, wraps up his tour Wednesday in Ottawa.