50 Cent. If you’re a hip hop fan, you know the name well. There isn’t a more polarizing personality in hip hop. You either admire him for his success and his ability to overcome all of his personal and professional obstacles, or you hate him for his outright aggression towards any and all things anti-50 Cent. Mention his name on the comments section of any hip hop website and you will find allies that agree with anything negative you have to say about his behavior. But you will also get blatantly attacked and disrespected by an equal amount of 50 Cent fans that support him unconditionally. In their eyes, 50 Cent can do no wrong. Like it or not, he is absolutely the most polarizing figure in hip hop.
In his short, meteoric career 50 Cent has sold over 21 million records and has gone on to amass riches and wealth only rivaled by a few in the hip hop world. He currently owns or has partnerships with SMS Audio, G-Unit Books, SMS Promotions, SK Energy, and the list goes on. His personal wealth is currently estimated at or above $250 Million.
But he also has an even longer list of enemies. Jay Z, Diddy, Dr. Dre, Game, Steve Stoute, Rick Ross, and a lot of others have all been on the receiving end of disses from 50 Cent. And when 50 disses you, nothing is off limits. He goes for your career and your family equally. His sole purpose is to eliminate you from existence. Here are a few examples:
1. Young Buck, a previous member of 50 Cent’s G-Unit crew, called 50 Cent to discuss some issues. He had been kicked out of the group for perceived disloyalty. When Buck called and spoke to 50 Cent he was emotional and crying, begging to be reinstated. 50 Cent recorded the message and released it to the media.
2. After being involved in a feud with Rick Ross, 50 Cent uploaded a video that showed Rick Ross’s ex-girlfriend. She spoke and confirmed to the world that he was previously employed as a corrections officer and that his whole persona was fraudulent.
3. On a new song he released in 2014, 50 Cent insinuates that a previous enemy currently on trial for murder, James Rosemond, should have his child beaten.
4. In a 2014 interview 50 Cent insinuated that Jay Z was afraid of him when he was at the height of his career and also insinuated that Jay Z married Beyonce for money.
These are some controversial attacks that seem to swing well below the belt. Some seem to resemble a marketing scheme and some are outright vicious. But then again, that’s 50 Cent.
To be fair, 50 Cent entered the hip hop game with controversy. From the very beginning he came into the music industry calling out various individuals and letting the world know his displeasure with certain artists (Ja Rule, Fat Joe). And to his credit, a few of those targets rightly deserved to be called out for various reasons. Sometimes 50 Cent seemed to be on the side of righteousness. For instance, when he did an MTV interview in which he attacked Murder Inc for their label name, he was correct. Murder is not something anyone should glorify. And that type of attack, combined with his intriguing life story of being shot multiple times, propelled him to the top. Here was an MC that not only rapped about the streets but actually had the scars to back up the stories. The world ate it up.
But that was 2003 and this is 2014. In this climate music has taken drastic turns. Hip hop artists are being rewarded for being more introspective and independent. Gone are the days of record labels putting out gangsta artists for the public to consume like Skittles. Record companies just don’t have the money anymore. The entire music industry is contracting and trying to find its footing. Record companies want artists that can grow their bottom line, not in a short amount of time, but in the long term. That means hungry labels that once thrived off of beef and disagreement are now being forced to cross pollinate with other labels to get their artists the ultimate exposure. You can’t do that if you have an artist that’s poison to everything and has no political skills.
The music consumer has changed too. They’ve become more sophisticated. The economy is leaving fewer and fewer dollars to waste on nonsense. More and more people are saving that dollar to spend on a worthy release or they’ll outright download music illegally.
Also starting beef and dissing artists has become an even more dangerous business to be involved in. The artist that gets dissed may be a multi-platinum artist. That means that all of his millions of fans will line up against whoever did the dissing. And that hurts the bottom line. Record companies are seeing this.
50 Cent is 50 Cent. And while he makes no apologies for his actions, he has single handedly been the sole person responsible for his rap career tanking. He hasn’t released an album since 2009’s Before I Self Destruct. His previous label, Interscope Records, has decided to part ways with him. Partly because they saw that his negativity and vitriol against any and all people not doing his bidding hurt his industry value and popularity in the public arena. His poor political skills (he even dissed Jimmy Iovine, the owner of Interscope Records) also contributed to his release. A lot of hip hop artists refuse to work with him, partly out of nervousness in being associated with someone so negative, but mostly out of loyalty to a few of the people he’s disrespected.
50’s limited lyrical skills have also played a part in his fall. He has made very few attempts at growth as an artist and the results are glaringly clear. As evidenced in his recent releases Funeral and Don’t Worry ‘bout it, his music and style seems permanently trapped in 2003. This seems to come from 50’s desire to recapture that energy that made him such a hot commodity in the early part of his career. But it doesn’t really do any good to try to recapture that energy if you don’t understand what went into it in the first place. 50’s ego won’t let him think that his backstory was the primary reason for his success. 50 Cent believes it’s his skill that sold the record, when the truth is it was conservatively 40% skill and 60% biographical story that made him such a success.
50 Cent’s career isn’t over yet. With a new independent record deal and with the album Animal Ambition being released in June of 2014, he has the opportunity to forge new relationships and to show the world he has grown. But judging from the recent statements he’s made and the new attacks coming from his camp, 50 Cent is using the same 2003 playbook of disses, alienation, and controversy that he entered the game with. The question is will it work again?