Retrospective: 50 Cent vs Ja Rule

By @TrueGodImmortal 

Some beefs have infinite chapters. Some beefs truly never die. For Ja Rule and 50 Cent, their issue is a long standing one that doesn't seem to die down officially or would ever be squashed. The beginning of the beef is truly unknown to be fair, as both MCs have differing opinions of what truly started it. They were even featured on a song together at one point, and there were no true issues like that.

However, the rumor about the start of the beef is that Ja got robbed by someone who he apparently saw 50 hanging out with before and the issue began from there. Now, whether or not 50 had something to do with Ja getting robbed or if it was just a coincidence is not truly known, but regardless there was an issue at hand. 50 had apparently saw Ja in a club and Ja snubbed him when he went to dap him and soon after the release of 50's "How To Rob", he would make a diss track to Ja titled "Life's on The Line (Murda)".

After the vicious diss, 50 and Ja would have two apparent altercations: one in Atlanta where 50 was apparently alone and Ja was with several men and proceeded to talk shit to 50 until 50 punched him and they proceeded to brawl. Rumors persist that Ja fled briefly to grab a baseball bat and began swinging at 50 while he was trying to fend off the other men with Ja.

Once again, details on this are scarce as Ja claimed at first he decked 50 and knocked him out with a baseball bat, then later admitted in a special with Farrakhan that 50 punched him first and Ja claims he sung back and the baseball bat never came out. The second incident happened at the Hit Factory Studios in New York, where apparently Murder Inc associates ran into the studio and 50 ended up cut/stabbed requiring only 3 stitches. Once again, details on this one are also scarce, outside of an apparent order of protection being issued on 50 and his fellow G Unit member Yayo's behalf, and there was even a huge story centered around that later in the beef.

From this point, the beef began quieting down after 50 was shot 9 times. Now, the story behind this is that 50 was shot due to his beef with Murder Inc and issues with Supreme, a notable gangster from Queens, who 50 attempted to immortalize in the song "Ghetto Quran", but was perceived as being a dry snitch. Regardless, 50 was laid up recovering from multiple gunshot wounds, as Ja began adopting a new style and becoming more interested in singing. Contrary to belief that occurred later in the beef, 50 never stole Ja's style or anything like that, 50 had already been using the sing songy style on hooks during his run with Jam Master Jay and Trackmasters while signed to Columbia Records. Ja would take his "new style" to huge heights and end up selling over 7 million albums with the very successful "Rule 3:36" and "Pain is Love". Ja, who started as an aggressive rapper initially, abandoned that entire image for a more R&B thug style and won with it.

As 2002 arrived, 50 began buzzing with his G Unit mixtapes and would end up signing to Shady/Aftermath/Interscope for a 1 million dollar advance deal. At this point, the beef was soon reignited and in a great strategy, 50 began shooting diss after diss to Ja and the entire Murder Inc, including Black Child, the man who reportedly stabbed him in the Hit Factory and was a rapper on the Murder Inc label. Vicious disses began between the two, some of the most notable can be found on the Automatic Gunfire mixtape from G-Unit, including "Bang Bang(known in the streets as "Order of Protection)", "Cross My Path", "If You Want It", and "You Remind Me Of My Bitch"(which was later called "I Smell Pussy"). Ja and his crew would rattle off disses as well, but many would fall on deaf ears due to 50 and his growing popularity. The full list of disses can mostly be found over the P Cutta Mixtape series "Street Wars", where you can find rare freestyles and disses from G-Unit, Black Child, Cadillac Tah, and more.

As 50 geared up his initial album on Shady/Aftermath/Interscope, he went to go for the kill with the scathing diss "Back Down", which is featured on his 13 million records selling album "Get Rich or Die Tryin", and that was seen as the biggest blow to Ja in their beef.

50 had went on a campaign to say that Ja was nothing close to being a gangsta and that he was fake despite the link between Supreme and Murder Inc. With Ja changing his style and singing so much, this made the narrative more believable, plus I don't believe many of us took Ja seriously as a tough guy. That's not a diss to Ja either, he just never seemed menacing or posed a threat.

After the album released, we then saw the beef intensify a bit musically and Eminem even got involved, with gunshots reportedly flying at a Busta Rhymes video shoot. With the whole industry supporting 50, and a growing issue between Ja and Em, as well as Busta now, this would lead to a classic remix of 2Pac's "Hail Mary" with 50, Em, and Busta all taking shots with Chris Lighty even going at Murder Inc as well. It was an interesting time in hip hop and once this record hit, the beef was seen as pretty much finished and 50 was easily the victor. Ja was unable to connect with his disses except one titled "Loose Change", which seemed to allude to Murder Inc jumping Proof of D-12 (not sure if this was the actual case) and Ja throwing shots and Eminem's daughter (a cardinal sin in hip hop beef to me; as a man, leave kids out of the war of words).

Eminem would respond with some more disses and The Source magazine would get involved, siding seemingly with Murder Inc and Ja Rule during the battle, while XXL magazine seemingly sided with 50 and Eminem in this beef. The end of the beef, at least from a competitive point, came at this point, as XXL would overtake The Source as the top hip hop magazine, and 50 would become the biggest star in hip hop during 2003, leading not only himself to higher heights, but his own G-Unit crew as well. Ja would go on to lose a large part of his fanbase, before taking one last huge shot at 50 with his album "Blood In My Eye" and his first single "Clap Back", which is actually pretty hilarious and managed to obtain some good radio play, but it wasn't enough to launch a full fledged comeback after the beef. Ja would end up having a successful single on his next album "R.U.L.E." with the Fat Joe and Jadakiss assisted "New York", which spawned the Fat Joe and Jadakiss beef with 50 and Ja sort of just drifted away for some years after without ever having a proper comeback.

One thing about this beef that remains amazing is the fact that 50 got such a decisive victory over Ja when Ja was on top of the world. 50 presented the complete opposite image of what Ja gave off, though musically as I said, 50 had always had a mix of straight up aggressive songs with sing songy hooks. After his shooting,  he ended up with a bit of a slurred speech so he ended up using that more to his benefit and the style became even more infectious. However, it must have been the perfect storm because with Ja beginning to get a bit stale with the same formula, 50 provided a more consistent flow of music while revolutionizing the mixtape game and the industry forever. When it is all said and done, this beef shall be remembered as the final piece of starting 50's career along with being the final straw in Ja's career. This is one of the last true big beefs in hip hop. And it certainly got ugly.

Will Ja ever have a comeback (where is Ja?!), or is death in this game completely impossible to repair? Regardless, the damage was done to Ja and his brand while 50 and his brand kept true and growing. It proved to be effective. We reflect.



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