50 Cent and Ja Rule: A beef history

Roisin O'Connor

Few hip hop feuds are as long-running, or exasperating, as the ongoing rivalry between 50 Cent and Ja Rule.

The two rappers have been throwing jibes (and the occasional punch) at one another since 1999. Their conflict has been simmering ever since, but flared up again in January this year.

Ja Rule couldn’t help but lash out, and since then things have been more tense than ever, with their back-and-forths on social media serving as a by-product of a dispute that began in the streets.

Most recently, 50 Cent decided to try and troll Ja Rule by purchasing 200 tickets to his forthcoming show in Las Vegas, for a total of around $3,000 – and leave the seats empty. Ja Rule seemed to find the prank just as amusing as Fiddy did (he still got paid, right?), and responded by posting an image of his rival with makeup photoshopped on (real mature, Ja).

Here’s a timeline of their beef so far

Ja Rule is robbed at gunpoint in Queens

In 1999, Ja Rule was robbed for his chain at gunpoint in Southside Jamaica, Queens while he was filming a music video. According to 50 Cent, Ja Rule was incensed after seeing Fiddy at a club with the man who robbed him.

“A friend of mine robbed Ja Rule,” 50 Cent recounted in his 2005 biography From Pieces to Weight. “That’s how the beef originally started. My man robbed him for a chain, and then this guy named Brown came and got the chain back for Ja. Later, Ja saw me in a club with the kid who robbed him. I went over to say, ‘What’s up’ to Ja, and he acted like he had a problem with me. But I’m not the one who robbed him.”

But Ja, who later confirmed the robbery took place, denied he ever saw Fiddy with the robber. He claims that the bad blood between them stemmed from Fiddy being snubbed by the Murder Inc. crew during a video shoot for his single “Murda 4 Life”.

50 Cent releases blatant diss track "Life’s on the Line"

That same year, in October, 50 Cent released a single from his shelved debut album Power of the Dollar, which was a blatant diss directed at Ja and Murder Inc. It didn’t name Ja Rule directly, but it did mock his label’s signature “Murda” chant which gave fans enough of an idea about who the track was directed towards.

Fight breaks out between 50 and Ja in Atlanta

50 and Ja Rule got into a physical altercation at an Atlanta nightclub, where they were both booked to perform. Both their neck chains were broken during the fight – a member of Fif’s crew found Ja’s pendant, and 50 claimed that a deal was made to return it in exchange for a Movado watch – Ja denied that was the case.

In a 2016 interview, Chris Gotti offered his own take, which was that the two were talking one-on-one when Ja hit 40 Cent with several questions at once. Fiddy lashed out, then Ja Rule allegedly pulled his shirt over his head and began swinging punches. Whichever side you believe, the incident proved to be a massive catalyst for the events that followed.

50 Cent gets stabbed

In March 2000, after receiving word that 50 was recording at the Hit Factory studios in New York, Ja and his crew decided to pay the rapper a visit. In the altercation that followed, Fiddy suffered a stab wound, and Ja Rule and Murder Inc. rapper Black Child were both arrested. Black Child took credit for the stabbing on record, claming it was an act of self-defence. In interviews after the attack, 50 consistently downplayed the incident.

50 Cent releases "Wanksta", his first hit single

After signing a multi-million dollar deal with Shady/Aftermath records in 2002, 50 Cent and G-Unit released the mixtape No Mercy, No Fear. One of the tracks, “Wanksta”, was credited by Fiddy as being inspired by Ja Rule. It became his first hit single, peaking at No.13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Fiddy is accused of signing an order of protection

After the brawl at the Hit Factory, Irv Gotti claimed Fiddy signed an order of protection against him and Ja, in an attempt to put his street credibility on the line. It was later confirmed that the order does exist, but was issued on 50’s behalf – not his request – as a formality by the NYPD. In June 2018, Ja Rule shared the order again on social media and called 50 Cent a rat.

50 Cent releases “I Smell Pussy”

50 Cent wasn’t happy at being called a snitch. He fired back on the G-Unit mixtape The Future is Now via several tracks that dissed Murder Inc. “I Smell Pussy” was particularly brutal – 50 called out Irv Gotti, Ja, Black Child and Cadillac Tah by name.

50 Cent releases “Back Down” from debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’

50 Cent finally released his debut album, the universally acclaimed Get Rich or Die Tryin’, on 6 February 2003. It claimed the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart and featured the track “Back Down”, which questioned the authenticity and street cred of Ja Rule and Murder Inc.

Ja Rule releases diss track “Loose Change

In April 2013, Ja Rule came back with one of the most disrespectful diss tracks in hip hop history. “Loose Change” fired shots at 50 Cent, G-Unit, Eminem, Eminem’s daughter Hailie, Dr Dre, Busta Rhymes and Chris Lighty. Ja accused 50 of being a snitch, called Dr Dre a “faggot”, claimed all of the men mentioned enjoyed golden showers, called Eminem a cross-dresser and his wife a “slut”.

50 Cent, Eminem and Busta Rhymes diss Ja on “Hail Mary”

Fans thought “Loose Change” was memorable, but 50 Cent, Eminem and Busta Rhymes were still able to come back with “Hail Mary”, which mocked Ja’s obsession with Tupac Shakur.

Ja Rule releases Blood in my Eye album

Ja Rule’s fifth studio album was released in November 2003, and marked a noticeable change in style from his previously more melodic work. It was critically panned and failed to match up to the success of his multi-platinum albums: Rule 3:35, Pain is Love, and The Last Temptation.

Ja Rule says 50 Cent wins

During an interview with Hot 97 in September 2013, Ja Rule admitted he felt as though he and Murder Inc. had lost the war with 50 Cent.

The rappers end up on the same flight

For the first time in years, the two rappers came face to face when they ended up on the same flight… on the same aisle. Ja Rule posted about the experience on Twitter but revealed, to the surprise of fans, there had been no issues between the two.

50 Cent disses Ja Rule at Hot 97 Summer Jam

50 Cent headlined the Hot 97 Summer Jam festival in 2014, and used his stage to mock Murder Inc (again) when he performed “I Smell Pussy” during his set. Ja Rule heard about the show and, rather than firing back, claimed Fiddy was obsessed with him.

Ja Rule releases his memoir Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man

Ja Rule’s memoir was released in July 2014, and chronicled his rise to fame and all the tumultuous moments that followed. During one chapter, he claimed that it was 50s info that led to a federal investigation into Murder Inc – an accusation that 50 Cent has denied.

Ja Rule is caught up in the Fyre Festival fiasco

Despite Ja claiming the feud had “flatlined” by this point, 50 Cent couldn’t help mocking his rival by sharing a photo of Donald Trump appointing him as “secretary of festivals”. This was after Ja was blasted for his role in the Fyre Festival fiasco of April 2017.

50 Cent and Ja Rule agree (sort of?)

Drake and Meek Mill spent summer 2015 in a battle of words, which some fans compared to the beef between 50 Cent and Ja Rule. However, neither Fiddy or Ja was impressed, and appeared to agree that the younger artists had nothing on their feud.

Ja Rule rants about 50 Cent on Twitter

In January 2018, apparently responding to a 50 Cent interview where the rapper once again poked fun at him, Ja Rule sounded off on Twitter in a series of tweets that claimed 50 Cent owed him his life, and that he “owned your soul… your [sic] my bitch!”

50 Cent buys 200 tickets to Ja Rule’s concert so the seats will be empty

The latest of many, many chapters in this ongoing and now quite exhausting saga is when 50 claimed to have purchased 200 tickets to Ja’s forthcoming show in Las Vegas, with the intention that there would be a bunch of empty seats at the gig.

In the posts on Instagram, he shared a Photoshopped image of himself sitting among the empty seats, along with an edited video that showed Ja Rule performing to an empty venue. Ja Rule seemed more amused by the stunt than anything, tweeting in response: “I get under @50cent skin… I love it!” Later he posted a photo of 50 Cent, which was Photoshopped to look as though the rapper was wearing makeup and a wig.