Obviously, it is not 2003 anymore. Recently, the top hip hop earners were revealed by Forbes magazine. In recent years, the big three have been Jay-Z, Diddy, and 50 Cent. Many were ready to place 50 Cent on the top of the list. Actually, 50 Cent, himself, was ready to move to the top of the list.
The reason 50 Cent made it to the top was because of his underdog persona. His primary rival was Ja Rule, who often boasted of bedding multiple women and making money. The cockiness, along with the frequent singing, of Ja Rule made 50’s job easy. Most of the hip hop community jumped behind David as he took on Goliath.
This was done with beats from Dr. Dre and rhymes from Eminem and the summer belonged to 50 Cent. Because he had never been in this situation before, 50 Cent made the most of it. He promised to take his homeboys out of the hood and turn them into stars. Jimmy Iovine, the head of Interscope Records, took advantage of 50 Cent’s popularity and granted him G-Unit Records.
Now the head of his own label, 50 Cent quickly put his friends from Queens on. Not only did he land record deals for him longtime friends, but he also created his own clothing line. Throughout the year of 2003, 50 Cent and his crew dominated radio and clothing. 50 Cent had built his empire on the downfall of Irv Gotti and Murder Inc. Records. With one move, he took Ja Rule’s position as the most popular rapper and the position of Irv Gotti as the top hip hop record executive. But, when it was time to create a concept for his second album, 50 Cent was lost.
Meanwhile, Ja Rule was plotting his comeback. In 2003, it did not seem like it, but Ja Rule has a lot of friends within the industry. Due to his position, he rarely called upon them, but he had to in 2004. Fat Joe had really hit it off with both Irv Gotti and Rule years before and Jadakiss was always close to Ja Rule. In 2004, both Fat Joe and Jadakiss had big hits and Ja Rule was in need of one. When Ja Rule called upon them to create the next anthem, they quickly hit back and the result was the hit single, “New York.” The song captured airwaves for months and this angered 50 Cent.
Feeling as if hip hop would embrace him again, 50 Cent found a concept for his new album. Since feuding worked with Ja Rule, for The Massacre, 50 Cent decided to target Fat Joe and Jadakiss. “Piggy Bank,” a track on the album, dissed Ja Rule, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Nas, and Mobb Deep. The song warranted responses from all the aritsts, namely Fat Joe and Jadakiss. 50 Cent sold well with his album, but the backlash was on and he was dissed at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards and Jadakiss was out for blood. The lyrical battle belonged to all of 50 Cent’s rivals.
Because he was the leader of G-Unit, 50 Cent expected everyone in his crew to take his side as he decided to take on these rappers. Game, a Compton rapper signed by Dr. Dre, was placed on G-Unit Records as a cross-promotional effort. It was rare to see Game and 50 Cent together, outside of doing promotional work and the two rappers did not talk then. They did not know each other well, but they had undeniable chemistry which showed when their music was released. While they were making music the people loved, Game was having problems following the G-Unit trend and direspecting legends of the game.
When Game refused to join 50 Cent in his beef against Nas, Fat Joe, and Jadakiss, the gloves came off and there was division at Aftermath Entertainment. Following a failed reconciliation, Game went on to record with Fat Joe, Ja Rule, Nas, and Jadakiss, all enemies of 50 Cent. Even when Rick Ross jumped into a beef of his own with 50 Cent, Game assisted him and brought Fat Joe and Ja Rule with him in his crusade against 50 Cent. By the time 50 Cent got to his beef with Rick Ross, the public was tired of hearing it and they backed the underdog in a similar fashion of how he did in Murder Inc.
In the end cockiness and greed is what cost 50 Cent, but he lost more than music, his entire empire is at stake.