Sharp inhales of breath (and not the blunt-smoking kind) were heard across the hip-hop world yesterday as news emerged that 50 Cent had filed for bankruptcy. That's 50 Cent, certified platinum-selling artist, boxing promotor, movie star and the same guy who made an estimated $50-100 million from his endorsement of Vitaminwater back in 2007.

While it's not out of the question that Fiddy's insatiable taste for fur, diamonds and novelty sports cars has driven him to the poor house, the far more likely reason he's filed such a claim is the recent decision by a New York court to hold him liable for $5 million worth of damages in a case of privacy violation. The case in question concerns a sex tape made by one-time arch-rival Rick Ross' ex-girlfriend Lastonia Leviston, which 50 reposted on the internet complete with "hilarious" bespoke running commentary.

But is he really broke? Technically, by filing for what is known as Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Mr. Curtis James Jackson III is now classified as a "debtor in possession.” This means he still has full control over his business and estate while he makes the necessary financial arrangements to "repay" his various creditors, and the move prevents any sudden moves on his finances that might impede that – such as a court reparations order. Conveniently, in the forms submitted to court, Curtis has ticked the box that lists both his assets and his debts as between $10 to $50 million.

In effect, it's like he's pulled an emergency brake on the train of justice and right now the big bad conductor is coming down the carriage to find out if there's a good reason he raised the alarm. That gives him just enough time to throw all his valuables out the window and start a quick fire under one of the seats, in the hope he'll be allowed to get off and run to the hills of safety with something left intact.

If not and the bankruptcy courts call his bluff, Jackson's Chapter 11 could be converted to a Chapter 13 – whereby a regular amount of his monthly earnings is deducted to pay off his creditors – or a much more severe Chapter 7, in which case he could be forced to liquidate all his assets in order to pay off everything he owes at once... exactly like Mike Tyson did when Fiddy bought his house.

Still, even with that hanging over him, it doesn't seem to have harmed his sense of humor...

Times are hard out here LMAO #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO #SMSAUDIO

A photo posted by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Jul 13, 2015 at 9:43pm PDT

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