From the Archives: 50 Cent, “Still I Rise” [Originally Published on September, 2001]

“I loved that niggas always had something to say about me,” says 50. “I respected these niggas that was saying thngs about me, like Pun, Jay-Z, the Wu-Tang niggas. Pretty much everybody who was somebody in the game—DMX, all of them—had something to say about me. I’m making my mark in a way that’s aggressive enough for everybody to acknowledge me immediately. Not five months from now, six months from now.”

He expected a reaction, but didn’t expect the level of reaction he got. Jay-Z called him out by name at Hot 97 Summer Jam: “I’m about a dollar, what the fuck is 50 Cent?”

“That’s the first time I ever seen 30,000 people stand up at one time,” says 50. “I didn’t even know that they knew me. That made niggas go to the radio.”

He ran into Jay-Z at P. Diddy’s restaurant Justin’s and thanked him. “Yo, I appreciate that,” 50 told him. Jigga laughed. “It probably tripped him out that I understood what was going on,” says 50. “I’m thinking business-wise. I don’t give a fuck what you saying, nigga. The reason for me saying what I was saying was for niggas to respond to me, to put me in.” 50 later hit Jigga on “Be A Gentleman,” rapping, “Look, if I shoot you, I’m famous/If you shoot me, you’re brainless/ You said it yourself.”

“I like niggas not liking me, ‘cause they don’t like each other,” he says. “They just pretend they like each other. The same niggas that smile at each other, give each other dap when they see each other, they laugh at each other when they catch bricks. You see a nigga catch a brick, you ever see one of his homies, niggas he was cool with that’s selling a lot of records come do a track with him? Nah, they leave them niggas alone. They get the fuck away from niggas and continue moving forward with their careers.”

“None of my situations with Ja Rule are big situations,” says 50. “They’re little. We had physical altercations. I was never hurt in none of those scenarios. I been hurt worse fuckin’ with my baby mother. I got a real stab wound from my baby mother and a little three-stitch situation from [messing with Ja Rule and his crew]. When you weigh the two, I’m more watching what I say about my baby mother than what I say about them, ‘cause she’ll cut me worse than them.”

50 says his problems with Ja Rule began when a friend of 50’s robbed Ja of a chain in Queens. A neighborhood heavy got the chain back for Ja. But Ja saw his robber and 50 being friendly in a club. When 50 approached Ja, Ja was miffed. “He treated me like I did something to him,” says 50. He told Ja, “I didn’t do nothing to you. That nigga that robbed you is right there. You ain’t got no problem with him, but you got a problem with me?’ That pissed me off.” He recorded a diss to Ja, “Your Life Is On the Line.” 50 later ran into Ja in Atlanta and punched him in the face, took his chain, and came back to New York. He returned the chain through a mutual friend. “I was like, ‘This is not about that. I don’t want this nigga’s chain.’” He was rewarded with a Movado watch from a third-party arbitrator, which suits him fine. He likes watches.