When a war of words is becoming too dramatic for the Drama King himself, maybe the situation is getting out of hand.
“If you have some other drama, I ain’t gonna front, I’mma hit it,” DJ Kay Slay said during his “Double Drama Hour” show on New York’s Hot 97. “But this beef in particular with Ja Rule and 50, this is it for me.”
The rivalry between Ja Rule and 50 Cent recently elevated on Slay’s show, and if the mixtape don has his way, it will end on his show.
Three weeks ago, Slay premiered Ja’s freestyle, which the streets have dubbed “Loose Change.” In it, Rule comes at the Shady/Aftermath camp, Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Mo and manager Chris Lighty. A retaliation came the next week via the Em and 50 freestyle “Hail Mary.” Last week the saga continued when Kay played a new Benzino dis record aimed at Shady/Aftermath along with Ja’s latest abrasive retort, “Guess Who Shot Ya.”
Now Slay is saying enough is enough.
“I’m putting it out there for them, have one [more record apiece] made and take it out that way,” Slay suggested. “There’s no other way. People are harboring feelings and they need to put everything they got to say and feel on one last record. Get everything out and then just keep it moving. How many more ways can Ja Rule dis 50? How many more things can 50 Cent say about Ja Rule? Most of them records kind of channel through me, and I feel like they need to cut it out now.”
What has Kay and other DJs, including Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex, raising their eyebrows is the harshness of the battle and the history between Ja and 50. Some of 50’s lyrical low blows include calling Ja, Irv Gotti, Blackchild and Caddillac Tah “pu–ies” on “I Smell Pu—” as well as threatening violence againt Ja and “Yo’ mami, yo’ papi, that bitch you chasin’/ Ya little dirty-ass kids” on “Back Down.”
Obviously the Inc. isn’t absolved from levying disrespect.
On “Guess Who Shot Ya,” Ja rhymes, “Your heart ain’t cut for the code of the streets/ You’re wondering, ’Is it Murder who shot me?’ ” over the same beat Notorious B.I.G. rapped to for his “Who Shot Ya.” Rule recorded the song the night before he laid his vocals down for “Loose Change,” on which he implies that Eminem’s daughter, Haile, might grow up to be a “slut” like her mother.
“Everybody was pretty much like, ’Damn, when is [Ja] going respond to what’s going on?’ “said Slay. “So when I heard it, I said, ’OK, this might be a little interesting.’ It’s only two Ja Rule responses, but 50 done made about 50 records about Ja over the course of time. As far as a battle, it’s now just starting to transpire, ’cause Ja Rule is just starting to strike back.”
“Ja wasn’t trying to get into all that,” said Blackchild, who came at 50 and the G-Unit late last year with “You Da Wanksta.” “He was trying to focus, get his money and relax. It’s only but so much a person can take. That’s why on the first song he’s wilding out on everybody, ’cause he never said nothing through the whole situation. It got to the point where he was just frustrated and went in there and vented.”
50 said Ja’s backlash of barbs should have just been focused on him. “He should be talking about me, [not Eminem and Dre and] everybody else,” 50 told MTV News recently. “He’ll lose, he knows that. The route that he has to take is the ’I’m a mad gangsta’ hardcore route, and ain’t nobody gonna believe him.”
Busta Rhymes, who’s signed to the same management firm as 50 and Lil’ Mo, agrees with the Southside, Queens, native. “Specifically my concern was, number one, me and Ja Rule were friends, or we were cool,” Busta said. “We worked in the same studio, kicked it over the phone, go to clubs, pop bottles, do shows. If there was a problem he could have reached out to me.”
Adding to the animated MC’s hurt pride was the fact that one of his sons asked him why he was being inserted into the Inc. vs. Shady/Aftermath conflict. “Where would Ja find it in himself to talk about putting me in a coroner van? The only thing you put in a coroner van is dead people. You talking about killing me, homie? I attempted reaching out several different times — didn’t have no luck. So ultimately I felt like I had to address it myself in some kind of way.”
Unlike Busta, 50 has a longstanding feud with Murder Inc. If you ask 50, their beef started in 1999 shortly after Ja was robbed of a chain. According to 50, Ja later saw him hanging in a club with the chain thief and took offense.
The Inc. says the beef started to brew when 50 came to the set of Rule’s video for “4 Life,” which was shot on Jamaica Avenue in Queens, a center point between both of their neighborhoods of Southside Jamaica and Hollis.
“I guess he expected us to greet him with open arms,” Blackchild said. “Ja just hit him with a ’Wassup?’ and kept it moving. And he felt like we didn’t show him enough love on the set. And from that point on, he started hating.”
The underground song “Life’s on the Line” followed, in which 50 accused the Inc. of being false tough guys. The two sides later had a scuffle while staying at the same hotel in Atlanta, where 50 and Ja were booked on the same bill. The violence hit its zenith in 2000 when 50 suffered minor stab wounds at New York’s Hit Factory studio when the Incsters rushed him. Blackchild claimed responsibility for the stabbing, saying he acted in self-defense because he thought someone was reaching for a gun.
Years later, Ja and 50 — who grew up living less than 20 minutes from each other and knowing many of the same people — are two of music’s major superstars with seemingly everything one could dream of. But listening to their music, some people are afraid they may be risking their fame and fortune by bringing up bad blood from the past. Black shrugs it off.
“I don’t know why everybody’s worried,” he said. “It started on the streets and evolved to being lyrical. Most times they say it’s lyrical, it’s going to escalate to the streets. This one is totally different. It couldn’t stay in the streets because somebody was gonna get hurt and the police was looking.”
Learn more about the beef between 50 Cent and Ja Rule in a special edition of MTV News’ “The Wrap,” premiering at 9:30 p.m. Sunday on MTV2. “The Wrap” airs again on Monday at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.