Despite his public persona, don't believe that 50 Cent behaves like a gangsta behind the scenes in business dealings. Curtis Jackson, observers say, is a very professional businessman.
"To the public, he is known as a gangsta, a gang banger -- for surviving those gunshots," Torossian said. "But 50 Cent is a successful businessman because he is on time for his appointments and says 'please' and 'thank you.'"
Still, others have distanced themselves from a public persona to adopt a new image -- with mixed results.
Before they posed nude on magazine covers and embraced more risqué lyrics and images, early in their careers both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers and were promoted as clean-cut role models for teen girls. The spotlight hasn't been kind to Spears, with constant headlines questioning her parenting skills and the stability of her marriage to former dancer Kevin Federline.
Aguilera, however, has stayed out of the spotlight for most of the past two years, gotten married to a quiet accountant and is set to release another CD. Unlike Spears, her vocal talent has never been questioned by critics, and she has a single, "Ain't No Other Man," climbing up the Billboard charts.
"Britney Spears needs a reinvention. She also needs a new makeup artist, as seen on that interview with Matt Lauer on 'Dateline,'" Torossian said. "She needs to disappear for a while, to just be sent away where no one can find her."
Snoop Dogg was considered a hardcore gangsta rapper when he began his career on Death Row Records in 1992. But after he was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of a gang member in 1996, he broke away from Death Row and slowly began to soften his image. He has appeared on shows such as "The View" and has been a pitchman with Lee Iacocca for Chrysler. He currently appears in a new commercial for Orbit chewing gum that pokes fun at the filthy language he has tended to use in his raps and rhymes.
As one-half of Wham!, George Michael was a clean-shaven, always-smiling teen heartthrob. But after he parted ways with partner Andrew Ridgeley in 1985, Michael grew more serious, grew hair stubble on his face and launched a very successful solo career with "Faith."
Justin Timberlake also adopted a more "manly" look when he broke away from his boy band *NSYNC and launched his multi-platinum-selling first solo album, "Justified," in 2002. He cut the curly brown locks, stopped shaving, and was -- perhaps inadvertently -- involved in the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" incident at the 2004 Super Bowl where Janet Jackson exposed her breast to the audience during a halftime performance. (Timberlake denied previous knowledge of any plans to show off Jackson's bare boob.) Now Timberlake says he adopted a new sound influenced by David Bowie and David Byrne in an upcoming new album so that he would continue to evolve as an artist.
Ricky Martin hasn't been so successful in his latest reinvention experiment. He has had to reinvent himself several times -- from his initial rise to teen stardom as the lead singer of Menudo, to a role on "General Hospital," to a one-year stint on Broadway in "Les Miserables" and the launch of his solo recording career.