Proxy Wars: 50 Cent vs Jay-Z
The beginning of the war between 50 and Jay first began in 1999 on How To Rob.
“What Jigga just sold like 4 mil? He got somethin to live for
Don’t want no nigga puttin four thru that Bentley Coupe door”
The record received responses from various rappers, one of them being Jay-Z
“Go against Jigga yo’ ass is dense
I’m about a dollar, what the fuck is 50 Cents?!”
This statement in front of a packed stadium would come back to haunt Jay, years later.
“I’m the writer of Sun Tzu” (Jay-Z)
Its important to understand that 50 Cent and Jay-Z have been influenced by some of the great strategists.
These books emphasise the importance of maintaining power. 50 even went as far as making a bestseller with Robert Greene called The 50th Law. Its clear that Jay and 50 treat the industry like a game, planning each move carefully.
In 2003, 50 and Jay appeared on the Rock The Mic tour together. I was told from an artist on that tour, that Jay-Z was encouraging G-Unit to go at Joe Budden. If you dont remember, Budden was comparing Jay to a washed up Jordan and went on to accuse Jay of trying to sabotage his career. Budden later got involved in a dispute with G-Unit.
Law 3: Conceal your Intentions :48 Laws of Power
One mistake Jay-Z made was to announce his retirement after The Black Album. One of the unwritten rules of the industry is to never take a break. Not everyone is able to recreate themselves like Jay has done.
50 wasted no time in expanding his empire. Jay had only edged out 50 by 2 million on the Forbes list.
M.O.P,Freeway, former Jay-Z rivals Ma$e and Mobb Deep either became G-Unit artists and affiliates.
Rocafella, Murda Inc ,Ruff Ryders,Loud, Bad Boy were the East Coast’s last major empires and like it or not, G-Unit had become the dominant umbrella in only 2 years. A new dynasty was formed.
Jay headlined a concert in 2005. The I Declare War concert was a good use of Law 3 because the media assumed that Jay would use it as a platform to attack his rivals. Instead he mended bridges with artists such as Nas and The Lox.
What’s clear is that the hip hop community were not overwhelmed by Jay-Z’s return. Kingdom Come was met with lukewarm reception, Kanye was outselling Jay, and he was met with attacks from The Game and Dipset to name a few.
Law 18 Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself. Isolation is Dangerous
A little known fact is that 50 and Jay were involved in a bidding war over Uncle Murda and Tru Life.
Neither artist ever released an album on Roc-a-fella or Roc La Familia. From a strategic point of view it looks like the signing was an attempt to deflect the attacks on Jay-Z, and to stop 50 from gaining more ground.
Another dispute developed over attempts by G-Unit to sign former Roc-a-fella artist Beanie Sigel. Jay-Z blocked the move, causing a rift between him and Sigel.
Jay built bridges as 50 went around burning them. Dissing rappers has proven to be good for short term publicity, but it can cause the fans to choose between artists, which will definitley hurt in the long run. The results of this are present on G-Unit today.