50 Cent has reflected on his high-profile feud with Ja Rule, admitting he took things too far by dragging others into the beef.
The Queens, New York natives became embroiled in one of Hip Hop’s fiercest rivalries in the late ’90s and early ’00s when they traded blows both on wax and in real life, stemming from a 1999 incident where Ja was allegedly robbed of his chain at gunpoint by an associate of 50.
50 became so consumed with dismantling Ja Rule that he even went after those who worked with him — something Fat Joe learned after teaming up with the Murder Inc. hitmaker on 2002’s “What’s Luv?” and 2004’s “New York” alongside Jadakiss.
After sparring lyrically on “Piggy Bank” and “My FoFo,” tensions between the G-Unit and Terror Squad leaders spilled over at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, where they exchanged disses onstage and their respective crews almost came to blows backstage.
Reflecting on the beef almost 20 years later, 50 Cent feels that he was “buggin’” for going to war with Fat Joe and anyone else who aligned themselves with Ja Rule.
“There’s an element, a part of our culture that I’m aware of it because I am it,” he said in a new interview with Rolling Stone. “Your Lil Durks, your NBA YoungBoys, the whole surrounding cast of that … it almost splits our culture in half because when you cool with one, you can’t work with the other.
“I was using the same thinking in the very beginning of my career because it’s just the thinking you would use in the environment. If anybody went next to Ja Rule, I’d jump on the person who featured with them, anybody who was faintly near them, ’cause I put him on life support and you wanna go resuscitate him.
“So that energy, later you look at it and you go, ‘I was buggin.’”
50 went on to praise Joey Crack for his loyalty to Ja Rule and Murder Inc., describing him as the type of friend everybody needs in their corner.
“Fat Joe, his issues, I would see him a little uncomfortable with the success I was having, and I interpreted as, ‘He doesn’t like me,’ when he’s really the kind of guy you want to be friends with because he’s loyal to a default,” he added. “He’s so loyal for one record that [Murder Inc.] did with him that we became enemies.”
Fat Joe also recently revisited his feud with 50 Cent in his 2022 memoir The Book of Jose, revealing their aforementioned dust-up at the 2005 MTV VMAs cost him a $20 million endorsement deal with Air Jordan.
“I was supposed to be the first artist ever to collaborate with Jordan Brand,” he wrote. “Me and Michael Jordan are actual friends. I met with him six times going over designs for the Fat Joe Jordan … But after the VMAs, Mike deaded the deal.
“‘You know I love you, Big Joe, but you’re too hot right now,’ he told me on a phone call. ‘I wanted to do it, but I’m not into all that rap beef. With all this controversy, we can’t do the sneaker anymore.’ That was it. I lost about $20 million by not getting that deal.”
He added: “I lost out on other endorsements too. Promoters definitely didn’t book me and 50 Cent on the same shows. Everybody had to keep us separated.”
50 and Joe later buried the hatchet at the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards following the death of their mutual friend, the influential music manager Chris Lighty.
“When I show up to the BET Awards, we on point. We super focused. That’s the only way I can explain it legally,” Joe recalled of the truce on Talib Kweli’s People’s Party podcast in 2021.
“They say rehearsal. I perform ‘Lean Back’ and then 50 Cent comes out. He ends up right by where I’m at. And when the music stops, he puts his hands out, and says ‘Peace for Chris Lighty.’ Chris Lighty wanted peace.”
He added: “I think we have an obligation, a responsibility to show these young brothers that beefing over words can be squashed. “You can become friends. It doesn’t have to result in us killing each other. The rap beef doesn’t have to turn violent in the streets.”