When 50 Cent’s moment came in hip-hop, he hit like a whirlwind and didn’t take any prisoners. As a result of his no-holds-barred attitude, enemies came frequently. Enter Cam’ron, after his Roc-a-Fella deal. Seeming to be completely off 50’s radar, things went south when 50 offhandedly said that Koch was a graveyard for artists. Cam, having done business with Koch one-on-one, felt differently about the matter. A legendary hip-hop argument ensued serving as a look into the real world behind the music, live on terrestrial radio between Cam’ron, 50 Cent, Angie Martinez, as referee, and Koch Label rep Alan Grunblat, as Cam’s cut man.
The on-air argument started a decade-long feud between Harlem multi-platinum emcee Cam’ron and street-hustler-turned-media-mogul 50 Cent. Diss songs were released and subsequently music videos dissing each other were released; 50, flashing automatic weapons and saying Cam was dead in “Funeral Music,” while Cam rode through the streets of NYC looking for Curtis!
While the rap beef was entertaining (and thankfully never turned deadly for either one of the emcees), the impact was felt all over hip-hop. Tours and collaborations that could’ve happened and inevitably would’ve happened, simply never happened. Also, their beef reiterated the notion that it is okay to beef with other successful rap artists. In the end, it was a stalemate. The beef just fizzled out over time as these things sometimes do. And the adage “time heals all wounds” holds true. After years of no contact, 50 Cent and Cam’ron finally got a chance to hold court and squash their misunderstandings. With 50 producing urban drama television and Cam’ron producing indie films nowadays, any type of collaboration between these 2 is much needed and their impact collectively cannot be quantified.
Ironically, the two have more in common than they are probably willing to admit. They both are good friends with Pastor Mason Betha; they both have a thing for extravagant jewelry (i.e. 50’s spinning G Unit piece or Cam’s Harlem World globe charm); they’ve both been shot; they both rep New York City; they both lead massive rap movements in the industry and the streets; and they both changed hip-hop forever, respectively. Now that the two have finally ended their feud, what could this union mean for the rest of hip-hop? Welp, realistically not much, because historically, when hip-hop enemies go on to squash beef, they never actually build anything substantial. Sure a BMF Starz series with a cameo from Cam or 2 would be awesome. Sure a song with the 2 legends and icons on a Ghetto Heaven 2 mixtape would feed the streets. Sure a G-Unit vs Dipset tour could earn a few million. However, usually the egos of icons and legends far outweigh basic logic of business. Alas, all types of power moves and revenue streams go completely untapped when titans clash. A travesty. A reunion at this stage could revitalize the careers of so many and even open the doors for New York rappers to define some boundaries in the genre of rap. Sadly, even with 50 and Killa Cam having more to gain than lose by discussing business with the overall health of hip-hop in mind, both artists may be too self-absorbed to ever come to an understanding when it comes to doing business together.
Although hip hop may never see the two actually work together, let’s hope other artists will take note and maybe even avoid frivolous beef in the first place. With hip-hop growing bigger than it has ever been and major label budgets decreasing, hip-hop should stick together. Let’s hope that new, powerful artists will see legends like the two aforementioned legend peacing it up and take a forward-thinking approach when potential beef arises. Most recently, 300’s own upstart Lil Yachty found himself at odds with former teen sensation and social media mogul Soulja Boy. Although S. Beezy made sure to establish himself as the aggressor in the beef, Soulja ended it rather quickly, saying he hadn’t had weed for the day, so he was highly irritated. However, in new age fashion, Yachty (or “Lil Boat”) recorded Soulja apologizing emphatically on a phone call and released it, hoping the general public would realize that although Soulja talked tough, he was actually a sweetheart. This move by Boat has kept the beef unsettled, although the veteran rap artist clearly saw the power that could be gained from an alliance rather quickly. Soulja similarly beefed with Bow Wow, made peace and most recently released a joint project (Ignorant Shit) together, effectively capitalizing on the financial opportunity. Even Kanye West called Kid Cudi to a concert stage for a long, brotherly hug, after Cudi went off the handle before checking himself into a mental health facility.
Hopefully, hip-hop can learn from the elder statesmen. Even if we never see Cam and Fif work together, to know there is no tension between the Harlem World legend and the Queens mogul is, in itself, a great start.