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50 Cent turns new leaf with children's book

He rose to fame with graphic songs detailing the drug use, shoot-outs and violence of his "thug life". Now 50 Cent has turned a new leaf by writing a children's book designed to discourage bullying. The rapper, 35, who began dealing crack aged 12, will publish Playground, a semi-autobiographical story next January.

It is the tale of a 13-year-old bully who learns to mend his ways after witnessing the harm he has caused, according to the Penguin Young Readers' Group.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, grew up in the New York neighbourhood of Queens. The rapper, who now has a teenage son, said: "I had a strong desire to write because I wanted to explore how a kid becomes a bully. I drew on events from my own childhood and adolescence, but was excited to see the story take on its own life."

Despite his current stance against bullying, he has pursued public feuds with rivals over the years, taunting the rapper Rick Ross in lyrics and trading insults with former protégé, Game.