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Caution: Gangstas reading

As reported in yesterday’s The Globe and Mail print edition, 50 Cent, the multi-platinum selling rapper, wants to get young African American men interested in reading. (The article is available for purchase online or free to subscribers.) 50 Cent, real name Curtis James Jackson III, officially launched his G-Unit Books, an imprint of Pocket Books/MTV Books, today. While his contribution to the writing seems to be limited to brainstorming sessions with the actual authors, 50 Cent’s lifestyle is still the key attraction of the books.

While the purpose, according to Louise Bruke, the executive vice-president and publisher of Pocket Books, is to increase literacy, many people are concerned about the books’ message, which follows the glamorization of violence, drugs and sex found in the rapper’s songs. So when trying to attract new readers, what is more important: quality content or continuing interest?