Channel: Paper RSS Feed
Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 7783

Ground Beef: Reheating the 50 Cent-Ja Rule Feud

Over the past few weeks, we've talked a lot about rap beef, which means it might be time to revisit one of the longest, most drawn-out conflicts in the history of the game, a beef that consumed hip-hop to the point where there were long stories in big magazines about it: the 50 Cent-Ja Rule feud. 

Everyone remembers 50 Cent as having brutally defeated Ja Rule -- who is now mostly referenced as a joke, even though he was huge for a while, and certainly the bigger star when the then largely-unknown 50 Cent initiated the beef -- but is that what really happened? Now, with Ja Rule releasing new music and potentially on the verge of mounting a serious comeback attempt, let's take the opportunity to reassess the conflict:

October, 1999 -- 50 Cent Releases "Your Life's on the Line"
The first diss track firmly associated with the beef, this was, according to Ja Rule, simply the result of general dislike on the part of 50 Cent -- who has never shied away from a conflict. In Ja Rule's telling (to Louis Farrakhan!), this led to a confrontation/attempted mediation at a show in Atlanta that turned physical: "We got face to face and talked, but it all came to play during the talk. We got mad and went off at the handle quick."

However, 50 Cent claims that, contrary to Ja Rule's account, the beef was originated by the fallout from one of his friends robbing Ja. Afterward, Ja Rule reportedly informed Irv Gotti (founder of his label, Murder Inc.) of the robbery, involving Queens drug kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff (the unofficial bank behind Murder Inc.) in order to get his jewelry back. (For what it's worth, Ja Rule acknowledges that this incident happened, but claims 50 mostly used it as an excuse.)

March, 2000 -- 50 Cent is Stabbed
50 is attacked at New York studio The Hit Factory by several people involved with Murder Inc., including rapper Black Child, who stabs him. 50 goes to the hospital with a punctured lung.

April, 2000 -- 50 Cent is Shot
Not long after the stabbing incident, 50 Cent is infamously shot nine times. Court documents name McGriff as a suspect. McGriff's criminal activities are also outlined in 50's track "Ghetto Qu'ran," which gives Murder Inc. ammunition to accuse 50 of being a snitch.

2000-2002 -- Mixtape Diss Tracks Fly
50 Cent recovers, and he and Murder Inc. proceed to diss each other over and over and over again. Most of these tracks are forgettable, but the mutual hatred grows. Ja Rule continues to be far more successful than most people remember now, releasing the massively successful, triple-platinumPain is Love. He is livin' it up.

February, 2003 -- 50 Cent Releases Get Rich or Die Tryin'
50 Cent finally releases his proper debut album after getting cosigns from Eminem and Dr. Dre. The massive success of this record, as well as Ja Rule's waning popularity (the release of The Last Temptation represents the beginning of the end, perhaps because of how long he's been in the spotlight trying to claim the top spot),
cements 50 Cent's musical victory in the beef, especially through classic diss track "Back Down." (Interesting sidenote: While Ja Rule and 50 Cent are the same age, they weren't seen as musical contemporaries. Ja Rule's extremely successful first record was released back in 1999 and for a solid four years, 50 was the clear underdog in the beef.)

November, 2003 -- Ja Rule Releases Blood in My Eye
Poor Ja Rule. This album, originally intended as a mixtape, was rushed out by Murder Inc. to decent, but ultimately lacking sales. At the very least, its only single, "Clap Back" was a chart-topping 50 Cent diss.

2003-2011 -- The Conflict Continues, But No One Cares
Ja Rule releases some more music after Blood in My Eye, but mostly drops off the map shortly after. Eminem and Dr. Dre diss him on an Obie Trice record and 50 Cent, now one of the most successful rappers in the world, becomes the undisputed winner of the beef (even Ja Rule admits he lost, at least "on wax"). Ja's reputation is in ruins, while 50 Cent nominally runs rap -- until he gets outsold by Kanye in 2007. The beef recedes into memory but, while there are lots of minor incidents and possible stopping points (for example, the Farrakhan-Ja Rule "mediation"), it has no well-defined ending.

April, 2011 -- Ja Rule Declares the Beef Over (on Twitter)
A couple of months before starting a prison sentence for tax evasion, Ja Rule tells Sway Calloway he's going to stop taking shots at 50 on Twitter. The beef has started to rot, and by now it's just kind of sad that the way Ja Rule goes about getting attention for himself is to bring up a fight that most people think he lost. (By now an established, successful rapper, 50 Cent is in the unusual position of being able to mostly ignore Ja Rule -- the correct move in any beef.)

November, 2013 -- Ja Rule and 50 Cent Sit Near Each Other on a Plane
Having recently admitted to taking the loss in the beef, Ja Rule finds himself sitting near 50 Cent on a plane. Perhaps in part because the pair are now nearly 40 and are also in the enclosed space of an airplane with a bunch of other people, nothing happens.

June, 2014 -- Ja Rule Accuses 50 of Snitching (Again)
Back to the beef! In his book Unruly, Ja Rule claims that 50 Cent "secretly led [the feds] through his recordings for the answers they were looking for." Snitching was a common allegation in the feud (dating back to "Ghetto Qu'ran"), but this puts the accusation on paper instead of wax (or radio waves). 50 Cent's response is primarily to laugh and remember how badly he messed up Murder Inc.

July, 2015 -- 50 Cent and Ja Rule Respond to the Drake-Meek Beef
In the midst of an insane, far less violent rap beef, Meek Mill compares himself and Drake to 50 Cent and Ja Rule. The pair separately weigh in, sparking an ongoing minor social media fight. Here's Ja Rule:

Meanwhile, 50 Cent goes on Hot 104.1 to discuss ghostwriting (he doesn't really care about it). More importantly, the rapper uses his life coaching skills to identify what he perceives as the root of the feud. "I think it's really a Nicki and Drake thing," he says. Preach.

And here we are -- with the two veterans taking potshots at each other on social media while failing to release successful music (and, in Ja Rule's case, doing a TV show on MTV). Is this worth paying attention to in the long term? The first few years of the beef are legitimately fascinating and complicated and evidence of real disdain rather than the typical conflict, which often resembles marketing-as-theater. But bringing it up over and over again, when hard feelings have probably mostly subsided? Well, that's just Ja Rule's Last Temptation.

Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 7783

Latest Images

Trending Articles

Latest Images