Wednesday, March 02, 2005

50 Cent's Problem

Apparently The Game and 50 Cent and the rest of G-Unit have now opened up a major beef as evidenced by the shooting at Hot 97 while 50 Cent was calling the Game out on the air. This probably is the first major dispute within the Dre/Eminem-Shady/Aftermath machine started back in 1998 with Eminem’s success with the Slim Shady LP (My Name Is, etc.). Sure there were plenty of external beefs involving Eminem and then 50 Cent, but inside the family they were able to control any anger and resentment to each other. This is surprising considering how difficult it is to keep egos being stoked by rich paydays and hit records happy, but they were able to do it until now.

I also found this funny since I had just listened to the Game’s Documentary CD that came out in January and there were so many 50 Cent collaborations, at times it was hard to tell whether this was the Game’s CD or 50’s. The beef began, I have read, because 50 and the rest of G-Unit had become upset over the fact that the Game was talking about collaborating with Nas, Fat Joe, Jadakiss and others. All of sudden, 50 Cent doesn’t just have a beef with Ja Rule and a general one with Murder Inc (now known as the Inc), but with a whole bunch of successful rappers. Now Fat Joe I can understand considering how he’s so associated with Ja Rule, but the problem with Nas I don’t understand and I think is symbolic of the general problem with 50 Cent that is beginning to get worse.

Before 50 Cent released “In Da Club” and the album Get Rich or Die Trying, he was a popular underground rapper with a numbers of songs widely exchanged on mixtapes with just himself and G-Unit. Much of his success, though, seems to come not from any good talent but just his unprovoked attacks on other rappers. Before his wide-popularity he had a popular track called “How to Rob” where he fantasized about robbing famous rappers. That’s understandable when you’re struggling, but it seemed to bring about a pattern of trying to sell records by calling out other rappers. Often he seems somewhat provoked, like when Ja Rule accused him of stealing his jewelry leading to the pre-In Da Club hit Wanksta, but now it just seems like he’s picking fights and I think this may lead to either a messy divorce with the Dre/Eminem empire or other bad consequences.

First Dre had calmed down on his own beefs and started to more and more focus strictly on the producing and management side of the business, and recently Eminem has started to follow his lead. Dre had the Suge Knight/NWA past that probably sobered him, it took a little bit longer for Eminem to change himself. It started when Eminem began working more on the management side of things by being a large part of 50 Cent’s rise and then trying to do the same to his old friend Obie Trice (likely a better talent than 50 Cent but less successful). At first he still seemed to be aggressive when it came to causing disputes in rap, but he seems now to only be maintaining them to keep respect, not to sell records. He’ll still collaborate on mixtapes disses and spearhead some of his own if he’s called out, but he doesn’t go out of his way to start them and in Bully, an attack on Benzino, he tried his best to express regret that he had to get into a beef with him to begin with. On “Like Toy Soldiers” part of the recent Encore album, the whole song reads as if he tried his best to keep 50 Cent controlled and only reluctantly got involved when his daughter was mentioned on a track by Ja Rule. The lyrics of “Like Toy Soldiers” song demonstrate this point:

My crew looks for me to guide 'em
If some shit ever just pop off I'm suppose to be beside 'em
Now Ja said I tried to squash it, it was too late to stop it
There's a certain line you just don't cross and he crossed it
I heard him say Hailie's name on a song and I just lost it
It was crazy, this shit be way beyond some Jay-Z and Nas shit
And even though the battle was won, I feel like we lost it
I spent too much energy on it, honestly I'm exhausted
And I'm so caught in it I almost feel I'm the one who caused it
This ain't what I'm in hip hop for, it's not why I got in it
That was never my object for someone to get killed
Why would I wanna destroy something I help build

You see from this a real reluctance of Eminem to let personal feelings and beefs to interfere with his growing business. 50 Cent has been complaining that Dre spent way too much effort in making the Game was a success when he had promised to help produce the beats on 50 Cents forthcoming album. This reveals the truth of how much 50 Cent depends on others on the label to maintain his success. In Da Club would not have blown up at all if it wasn’t for the quality beats that Dre supplied. Are the lyrics to the track that good? Not really, they are pretty much nonsensical. Despite this fact, 50 Cent is doing whatever he can to focus more on maintaining “respect” and his street credibility than he is on making sure the business runs smoothly while signing and developing new talent. Something will soon give, perhaps ending up with an amicable or unamicable divorce between G-Unit and Shady/Aftermath: a big mistake for 50 and his crew. Time will tell what happens here, but right now the situation looks like a bomb waiting to explode.

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