Probably one of the most longstanding feuds in hip-hop would be between rappers Ja Rule and 50 Cent. For as long as fans can remember, the two have been trading shots back and forth, and the beef continues to extend through the years. With the Swizz Beats/Timbaland created Verzuz series becoming one of the most popular things to come out of the pandemic, many have awaited potential news of the two facing off, which would undoubtedly surpass the “highly anticipated” level.
Past rivals have graced the Verzuz stage and have peaced it out amongst themselves for the culture, bringing love and unity to the joint celebration of their respective catalogs. Brandy vs. Monica was a record-breaking moment for the series, albeit not “hip-hop” per se, the queens of r&b represented the culture in a way that showed that past bygones can indeed be left in the past and does not have to taint the present or future for either’s lives and careers.
Gucci Mane vs. Jeezy was a no doubt contentious one where viewers tuned in expecting that at any moment, tensions would get the best of either rapper, and once again, street confrontations stemming from their musical jabs would escalate within the studio. Nevertheless, the two were able to lay down the beef and come together for an overall successful battle.
Now that the latest battle between E-40 and Too $hort has gone off and fans are wondering who’s next to face off in the Verzuz ring, speculations have been running rampant once again. Conversations of even a Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown battle have come to the forefront, but not as much as a potential one with both Queens rappers Ja Rule and 50.
Earlier this year the prospect of said epic battle began to arise during a conversation on IG Live with Fat Joe and Swizz Beats when Ja himself called in to pitch the idea. “He loves hip-hop first and foremost,” Joe laughed to Swizz. “He wants to do this for the culture. Jesus Christ, Rule, you guys want the smoke for real.” The “Holla Holla” rapper promised that he would “behave” himself while delivering hit after hit for the battle. “We know the catalog,” replies Swizz. “We just want to make sure the intentions is where they need to be.”
While at the time Ja seemed all the way in for a battle, 50 wasn’t ready to play nice. He took to social media with some jokes directed towards his rival. “I will battle 50 Cent for attention.” He captioned the post “Stupid #fryfestival.”
Ja Rule would then be interviewed by Hot97 where he expressed his respect for the series but explained why he didn’t think the two could successfully compete in one. “I never back down from a battle, man. I love it,” Rule explained. “My catalog speaks for itself. I have a great catalog. It would be dope for hip-hop. It would be fun, and it’s for the culture. Versuz is about love and respect for each other’s catalog, and what you’ve done for music, and what you contributed.”
He added, ”I don’t know if me and him can do that. I don’t know if that would work. Just for respect of the culture. I would never want to disrespect the culture and let me and his little thing get into the love and respect of what Versuz has brought to the culture, for each other’s catalog and the artistry. I would never want to tarnish that.”
In a separate conversation with Kenny Burns, he further explained why he didn’t think their battle could be a cordial one like their predecessors. “He likes to talk dirty. There’s no way we could be casual, cordial. He likes to be petty and silly, so it couldn’t happen. There’s only been one [battle] that’s a little sideways,” Ja said, “And that’s how Swizz and them want it.”
For 50 though, he feels as though their matchup would be an unfair one, catalog wise, and that someone like Snoop Dogg would be more ideal. “It would make more sense, catalog wise — me and Snoop. ‘Cause, we would be able to compete every step of the way. Ja Rule? He got like five, six good duets,” Fif explained to Big Boy. “They’re all doable records but they’re someone else’s.” Rule came under the comment section of Big Boy’s post with a message of his own for his rival. “He don’t want that pressure,” Ja wrote with a laughing emoji. “And Snoop our ya league bra.”
It now looks like the potential battle that would no doubt shatter records for the series, may really never happen. Ja Rule spoke with HipHopDX where he states that his participation in the battle would only take one phone call, but that’s where it stops. “Listen, man,” he says. “Everybody don’t want the smoke. Everybody don’t want this smoke. I got heat. Let me tell you something, when I do my shows, I can rock. I’m telling you, it’s like an hour of straight hit records. No filler. All crab meat, n—a. This ain’t the joints with the — you know what I’m saying? All meat in that muthaf—g crab cake, n—a. It’s all meat, n—a.”
Rule continued on saying that he would rather the experience be continued in a positive light, and that all of their other energy could be saved for a boxing ring, which he would rather. “Listen, man, I love Verzuz, I love what it is,” the rapper expresses. “I love to see artists getting in there and doing the s—t, but if I did one, if I did do a Verzuz, I would want my Verzuz to be fun. That’s what Verzuz is supposed to be about — the celebration of music and the art, and the artistry. So, I would want my Verzuz to be fun, and filled with love in the room and s—t, and that sort of thing. I’m too old to be in Verzuz beef, and to be in with my team of n—s, all my team of n—s, we’re like, ‘Come on, man’. I’m 44, dog. Just get a boxing ring and we get in there, and we do that. All this other funny nutty s—t, we ain’t doing that, man.”