50 Cent facing his deadliest enemy: his ex-girlfriend Edward Helmore in New York Sunday June 29, 2008 The Observer The title of rapper 50 Cent's new musical project - release date yet to be confirmed - is Before I Self-Destruct. Given the storm clouds gathering over the star's private life, an early distribution of the album may be advisable. The rapper - real name Curtis Jackson - has placed the launch on hold while he fights Shaniqua Tompkins, the mother of his young son, through the courts, in a case which has begun to plumb rare depths of bile and bitterness. In the latest twist, the singer filed a £10m defamation lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend last week. That move appears to be an act of retaliation against a temporary restraining order sought by Tompkins, requiring him to surrender all firearms and keep away from her. Where the case goes next is anybody's guess. America's hotest rap star, who presides over a multi-million-dollar showbusiness empire, already bears the scars from nine gunshot wounds. The mental bruising from his battle with Tompkins may prove just as permanent. The core of the dispute relates to the £25m Long Island mansion occupied by Tompkins and her 11-year-old son by Jackson, Marquise. Police are looking into the possibility that a fire which destroyed the property and left Tompkins and five others in hospital, was deliberate. Jackson has said he finds it inappropriate that Tompkins was living in his house with her new boyfriend and several other people. But he vehemently denies any involvement in the blaze. His lawyer has issued a statement saying: 'Any suggestion that Mr Jackson had anything whatsoever to do with the fire at his home is outrageous and offensive.' The day before the fire, Tompkins was seen arguing with Jackson near the house, having recently taken the star to court to secure her right to stay in the property. The warring couple went to mediation where there was a fight between the rapper's bodyguard, Tompkins's current boyfriend and some other acquaintances. A New York judge has ordered Jackson to hold on to the ruins of the property and place any insurance proceeds he may receive into a trust account pending the outcome of Tompkins's £25m lawsuit against him. She is also pursuing a claim that Jackson promised her half of his earnings for life. The rapper has responded that his ex-partner has 'a sense of entitlement because she was around during that time period when I didn't have much. She's really having a bigger adjustment to her personal lifestyle because she has a [designer] bag habit that costs more than the child support.' According to Tompkins, the rapper is still fixated with her. 'If he can't have me he feels like no one can,' she said recently. 'He's obsessed. He's very obsessed. We're in litigation, we're fighting over the house. He said he was gonna have someone come kill me ...' A lifetime share in Jackson's income would certainly be an attractive proposition. The 32-year-old star is following closely in the footsteps of Beyonce's superstar husband Jay-Z, who recently signed a £75m deal that includes a label, music publishing, talent consultancy and a management company. It was recently rumoured that Jackson was negotiating a deal with Rupert Murdoch's MySpace Records for an astonishing £150m. Indeed, Jackson's business acumen is sometimes better regarded that his music. The rapper is philosophical about the dispute. 'It'll work itself out,' he said. 'It's just a pain in the ass.'