50 Cent raffles off jewelry in G Unit CDs. Four buyers of his posse's ''Beg for Mercy'' will win a diamond medallion worth $12,500

By Gary Susman
Updated October 24, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

The first single from ”Beg for Mercy,” the debut CD of 50 Cent’s crew G Unit is the aptly titled ”Stunt 101,” which must be the class where they taught the rapper how to stage promotional gimmicks like this one. He announced Thursday that, among the first 1 million copies of the CD (in stores Nov. 18), are four copies that contain ”golden tickets,” each one redeemable for a diamond-studded spinning medallion valued at $12,500. Guess he should change his name to 50 Thousand Dollars.

”Everybody knows when I do something I got to do it bigger than anyone else out there,” 50 said in a statement. ”I’m givin’ away 50 grand worth of diamonds and a chance to become part of my crew. The streets have been loyal and I just wanna show my appreciation and give a little something back.”

50 is not the first Eminem protégé to try this Willy Wonka-esque tactic, apparently designed to get fans to purchase the CD instead of pirating it off the Internet. Last month, among 500,000 copies of Obie Trice’s debut CD ”Cheers,” there were three golden raffle tickets that promised the winners an all-expense-paid trip to Detroit to watch Eminem record his next album. In four weeks of release, ”Cheers” has sold about 472,000 copies, according to SoundScan.