Fabolous was born John David Jackson on November 18, 1977, of African American and Dominican his father is African American and mother is Dominican heritage. He grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. While in high school in twelfth grade, Fabolous began to pursue a rap career. He was invited to rap live on DJ Clue's radio show and on WQHT Hot 97, where he was signed to Desert Storm Records. He was featured on several DJ Clue mixtapes and mixtapes with Roc-A-Fella artists. This earned Fabolous and Desert Storm a distribution deal with Elektra Records.
Before receiving mainstream popularity, Fabolous released a single in 1998 titled "If They Want It" under his moniker,"Fabolous Sport". It was released by Def Jam Recordings on the album DJ Clue? The Professional and as a bonus track on his debut album Ghetto Fabolous. It is also available on the DJ Kool Kid mixtape, Pound For Pound featuring Fabolous and Jadakiss. In 2000, he released a second single through Elektra Records titled "Gotta Be Thug", which was put on DJ Clue Presents Backstage Mixtape (soundtrack).
Fabolous released his debut album, Ghetto Fabolous, in September 2001. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200, selling over 143,000 copies in its first week. The album's first single, "Can't Deny It", was produced by Rick Rock and features a chorus by Nate Dogg interpolating Tupac Shakur's song "Ambitionz Az a Ridah". It charted on the Billboard Hot 100, along with two of the subsequent singles. The other charting singles were "Young'n (Holla Back)", which is produced by The Neptunes and "Trade It All", which features vocals from Jagged Edge and is produced by DJ Clue and Duro.
Fabolous released his second album Street Dreams on March 4, 2003. Powered by a Just Blaze beat and guest vocals from Lil' Mo and Mike Shorey, "Can't Let You Go" reached number one on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Into You" with Tamia also reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Also released on Street Dreams was the lead single club banger "This Is My Party" and "Trade It All Pt. 2" which featured Jagged Edge as it did on the Ghetto Fabolous version, as well as Diddy.
Exactly seven months later, on November 4, 2003, Fabolous dropped his official mixtape, More Street Dreams, Pt. 2: The Mixtape. It was an official release by his record label, Elektra. The album featured remixes and tracks not originally slated on Street Dreams. This album was also an outlet for his three man crew, known as the Triangle Offense, consisting of himself, Paul Cain, and Joe Budden. The album actually features a remix to song Fire, which was originally on Joe Budden's self-titled debut album.
Fabolous' third album Real Talk was released on November 5, 2004. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 with 179,000 copies and had two charting singles, the lowest in his career. The two charting singles are his street anthem "Breathe" and "Baby," which features Mike Shorey, and shows his more sensitive side that he has shown on many songs in the past. His second single was not promoted until weeks after the album's release. "Tit 4 Tat" was his third single. Pharrell of The Neptunes produced it and did the hook. Fab feels that the single didn't hit it as big as it should have due to poor advertising. Making the music video for his fourth single, "Do the Damn Thing" cost Jackson $30,000. The song featured Young Jeezy, who became known to the public through the video. The same year, Fabolous was nominated for a Grammy Award for his collaboration on the "Dip It Low" remix by Christina Milian. In early 2006, Fabolous moved to Def Jam and left Atlantic Records who received Musiq in return.
His fourth studio album, From Nothin' to Somethin, was released in June 2007. Fabolous took the number one spot on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Top Rap Albums charts for the first time in his career and it debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 159,000 copies in its first week. The album was certified Gold in July 2007. It is his first album on Def Jam Recordings.
The first single and video, "Diamonds", features Young Jeezy who also appeared on the Real Talk track "Do the Damn Thing". Lil Wayne is featured on the remix. His second single was "Return of the Hustle" which featured Swizz Beatz, also came out before the album release, to some acclaim, but little airplay. His third single though, "Make Me Better," which features fellow Def Jam artist Ne-Yo, and is produced by Timbaland, was his biggest hit to date, spending 14 weeks at number one on the Hot Rap Track Billboard Chart. The fourth single was "Baby Don't Go." Jermaine Dupri produced it and T-Pain sings the hook. However, in music video version of the song, Jermaine Dupri sings the hook. This song also found success, reaching number four on the Hot Rap Track Chart.
Fabolous released his fifth studio album, Loso's Way, in July 2009. The album is based on the 1993 film Carlito's Way, similar to Jay-Z's American Gangster. The first official single is "Throw It in the Bag", featuring The-Dream, and is produced by Tricky Stewart. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 99,000 copies in its first week. It became Fabolous' first album to top the chart.