This morning, many longtime rap fans wondered if they’d somehow woken up in 2005, the height of the dispute between G-Unit, 50 Cent’s record label and rap crew, and Murder Inc., the former label of Fyre Festival co-founder Ja Rule. Of course, it is still 2018, otherwise, how would the continuation of a 20-year-old rap beef be taking place on Twitter, the most public of public spheres?
In fact, it would appear to still be going, at least from one side. Ja’s been taking shots at 50 for years, but his latest rant has lived on beyond his initial early morning tirade. Long after 50 Cent responded and seemingly immediately lost interest, Ja Rule has kept sending digs via his Twitter at his onetime — and apparently, current — rival. “Y’all really think @50cent is tuff??? Lmao this n—-a is trash 1 good album lol” he sniped, hours after the initial tirade that convinced Twitter users they’d accidentally fallen into a time warp.
“And to all you journalist, bloggers, radio personalities DONT BE SCARED TO ASK @50cent why did he get an order of protection,” he continued, “Or did I whoop him out at the studio or did he talk to the feds…” While many fans wondered why Ja is upset, others were left wondering why the guy from Power and the butt of one of Dave Chappelle’s most popular bits were so upset with one another to begin with.
The question highlights just how far hip-hop’s come, to so completely divorce many of its stars’ most humble beginnings (indeed, even their musical successes) from their present-day, respectable personas. But the answer illustrates the truism that money doesn’t change you — it just makes you more of what you already are.
Much of the fan response was directed toward Ja as fans believed that he was salty about having his career “ended” by 50 due to their spat. In truth, the reality is much more complicated than implied by that oversimplification. As Ja pointed out during a 2010 interview with Vibe:
I’m starting to now see people that may have hated on me in the beginning are now rooting for me and want to see me win. That to me is big. The best part about it is I’m humbled by it all. I feel like everybody deserves a second chance to do whatever. Really, I feel that my situation was an unfair situation. A very unique, very odd situation. Nobody ever seen anything like that in hip-hop, you know?
I laugh when I see people say shit like, “Yo, [50 Cent] kilt Rule, but he didn’t kill Ross.” No disrespect to Ross, but he did 180-something [first week sales of Teflon Don]. I went platinum with R.U.L.E. after I made Blood In My Eye. I look at shit like that and… I don’t know, take it how you want to take it. I was a much bigger selling artist than just platinum so I guess that’s why people felt I took a hit. But the music industry was taking a hit at that time, too.