Last week I posted on the Daily Mathematics how much I needed to see Jay-Z respond to 50 Cent's tauntings of late. A real response though, no sneak shots and one liners. Like how Jay used to flip back during them Takeover, Super Ugly days. I wrote about how I felt not only me, but how fans needed that beef to breath, how the game needed it as well, stimulate the economy and what not. 50 himself admitted how good it would be for business.

Everyone's looking at what Jay's gonna do, how the ball is in his court. Some cats is even saying in the event of a battle, Curtis has no chances of survival, him never coming close to the lyrical greatness Jay demonstrated time and again during his career as a superior rapper, a greater emcee. Reflecting on how this is playing out now, if Jay does decide to regrow some cojones and step into the fray, I'm placing my money on 50.

A coupla months ago, when 50 was busy roasting Rick Ross virally with all them videos, I had a long conversation with friend, mentor and big homie Fab Five Freddy. Fab, as entertained as he was, was sharing with me how he felt rap lost something in the area of battles, how with all the extra things being thrown in the mix, specifically 50 with those videos, today's beefs aren't what the sport is about, that being the goal of besting one's opponents solely through lyrical prowess.

I saw it, see it different. I argued that Youtube, viral videos, the Internets even didn't exist during Hip Hop's early days. The only thing accessible to rappers was a deejay, two turntables and a microphone. As time passed, Hip Hop grew and technology progressed. Rappers started experimenting, using different weapons with which to attack their foes. Music videos were naturally added as ammo for cats like LL Cool Jay, Kool Moe Dee, N.W.A. and Dr. Dre who started using actors to unfavorably portray those they threw shots at. One of my fave diss videos remains Tupac bombing on "Piggie" and "Buff" in that Hit 'Em Up video. Pure fires. As we discussed further what constituted rap battle royale in today's world, Fab did admit to how locked in he was to the 50/Ross joust, thrilled as 50 applied the pliers when he took Ms. Tia out on a date in NYC on camera, shopping for fur coats. In the summer. By the end of our convo, Fab walked away having more appreciation for my position and for hip hop's newly renovated battle arena.

Ironically, Jay-Z was the one that began pushing beyond the boundaries of what constituted beef, back in 2001 when he vaporized Prodigy on that Summer Jam screen during his first public performance of Takeover. That right there will forever be a classic high point in battle rap history. Public humiliation on an epic level. I spoke to Queens rapper Nature a couple of days after Jay's performance. He felt bad at how Prodigy took that blow, how he was spotted in QB the following day with his duns, trying to shake off the effects of his public flogging, walking away with his head hung low when he felt cats wasn't looking his way.  With regard to the evolution of beef, 50's only done what any student of the game should have, he studied the greats, never took his eye off potential foes like Jay, then went further, harder. [||]. In all reality, cats eff'd up when they let 50 in the game, his whole ascendancy to the top based on beef with everybody. Curtis might just love beef more than he does money, especially with all the apparent fun he's been having at the same time that he's continued to stretch the rap sport beyond convention.  Dude has evolved into a perfect rap killing machine. Jay meanwhile, not so much. Only because he's become one of the most politically correct rappers of all time. His empire has advanced to where it depends more on Jay maintaining political connects, more on preserving his clean cut image as rap's ambassador than him getting dirty by duffing out lesser rappers like Jim Jones and the Game.  Jay's grown to where he doesn't have the same energy, the same drive to drop shot laden songs like how he did Ride Or Die against Ma$e, or Blueprint 2 (the song, not the album) in response to Nas' Ether victory. These days, seems like dude is playing it so safe that if they ever knocked heads, Will Smith might have the advantage of duffing Hov out on wax. (I go back long enough to remember when the Fresh Prince was not to be eff''d with on the mic).

Last week's announcement about 50 going head on against in court, reportedly for it's unauthorized usage of his images once plastered like wall to wall carpet on their site shows how much dude loves confrontation. Insiders tell me the lawsuit is more about how his own site has grown into becoming a valid WSHH competitor, and how, just like with street corner soldiers, when time comes for them to move against the other team on the block, its time to get WSHH out the way and for good. 50 goes nutso for beef stuff like this. Years after his debut 'Get Rich Or Die Trying', 50 continues to be more in control as he intentionally swerves out of control, writing books on the art of war even. The continued screws he's recently been applying to Rick Ross by parading not only his baby's mother, but now his son at Floyd Mayweather's home for all the world to see shows how far he's gone off the deep end.  Meanwhile, Jay, my favorite rapper for a very long time, is content in being safe, doing comfy things like having Oprah smell him up in Marcy. Relating to Jay, 50 has always been extremely careful in how he addressed Jigga, throwing shots still, but being reserved compared to how he disrespectfully addressed others. Knowing then that Jay still had legs that made him more threat than target. Those days are over. Now more than ever, New York Yankees Jay is standing in Curtis' way, and it's time for 50 to finally move him out, to lay him down. It's no secret 50 always hated standing in Jay's shadow, now he most likely feels he no longer has to. 50 is smelling blood, Hov's blood. He's done with caution. He's moving in for the kill.

Not even counting the Beanie Sigel X-factor (which in itself is a very messy predicament), it's becoming  clear why Jay-Z hasn't responded to 50, why in all likelihood he never will. It's not just about political connects, it's not just about keeping his refined image above "low-brow" rap antics and battle related activities, it's not just about how his business empire depends on him keeping a elder statesman's clean image. I thought that before. Not so much now. Long and short, how I see it, we are living in the days where it wouldn't be a fair fight between the two. Curtis would have a field day. Jay knows this. Knows there's no way he could contain the madman from Southside Jamaica, Queens, no way he can dead 50's reign. Long and short of it, as I see it, Jay don't want it with 50. "Nobody's afraid of 50 Cent" Jay recently said. I don't believe that. Jay needs more people.

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