Gunfire at Management Firm Probed

Times Staff Writer

Police were searching Friday for the masked gunmen who opened fire Thursday night in the Manhattan offices of Violator Management, which represents such rap stars as 50 Cent, Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes.

Although nearly a dozen employees were present at the time of the shooting, nobody was injured. The assailants fired about six shots into the lobby area before fleeing.

Investigators are trying to determine how many gunmen took part in the shooting and whether it is linked to a rash of violent incidents surrounding 50 Cent, sources said.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has been feuding for several years with executives and artists at Murder Inc., a unit of Island Def Jam, which is owned by Vivendi Universal, the largest music firm in the world.

50 Cent, who recently signed a record deal with Eminem and Dr. Dre, inflamed the East Coast rap world after releasing a 1999 song that mocked some of New York's biggest rap stars.

Two years ago, 50 Cent was stabbed and shot in the New York area, allegedly by rivals in the hip-hop world.

Executives at Murder Inc. have been implicated in at least one assault against 50 Cent in a Manhattan studio, according to a police affidavit.

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