The career of rapper John "Fabolous" Jackson could be seen as a series of rebirths. He seemingly sprang from the ether when he received co-signs via the then-popular DJ Clue in the late '90s and scored the hit single "Can't Deny It" in 2001. However, throughout the '00s he was constantly reintroduced on record as an artist on the cusp of another major breakthrough. Jackson achieved a measure of success early on, but he never attained the fame of his superstar peers.

On paper Jackson had all the qualities that should have made him a post-Biggie/Tupac superstar: a Brooklyn-born rapper who could quip street-style punch lines yet could also sound at ease on pop records. He made his major label debut in 1997 when he was 20 years old by appearing on DJ Clue's The Professional "mixtape." He rapped under the name "Fabolous Sport," and quickly made a name for himself by appearing on an album alongside many of the hip-hop superstars of the day, like Jay-Z, Nas, DMX and Missy Elliott.


By 2001 he had dropped "Sport" from his name and released his debut solo album, Ghetto Fabolous. The album charted on the strength of three moderately successful singles, "Can't Deny It," "Young'n (Holla Back)" and "Trade It All" and sold over 1 million copies. His 2003 follow-up, Street Dreams, produced two more hit singles, "Into You" and "Can't Let You Go," and sold over 1 million copies. Between 2004 and 2009, his three subsequent albums sold less (two went gold), but he consistently appeared on mixtapes and other R&B and hip-hop stars' music. In 2010 he scheduled a follow-up to 2009's loosely conceptual album, Loso's Way. ~Dan Nishimoto


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