There are some feuds that are simply too far gone to simmer, no matter how much time may come to pass. 50 Cent’s longstanding war with Ja Rule, Irv Gotti, and the Murder Inc conglomerate is one of them. Even twenty-years removed from the first stone cast, the animosity between Curtis Jackson and Jeffery Atkins has not dulled in the slightest. As recently as last Friday, 50 was caught having a ruthless laugh at his old pal’s misfortune. In Detroit, stalwart G-Unit ally Eminem was busy sending a few love taps in Ja’s direction by way of Conway’s “Bang.” For a brief moment, the stars aligned and 2019 became 2003. All of this to the delight of middle-aged fans, many of whom still look back fondly on the long and bloody war between Shady Records, G-Unit, and Murder Inc. But how can such reckless hate come to manifest in the first place?

THE CHAIN SNATCHING INCIDENT OF 99′

In truth, the complete narrative is rather complex, made up of various testimonials, hearsay, and threats exchanged on wax. For the most part, however, all lines trace back to a young 50 Cent, circa 1999. At this point, Fif was still looking to make a dent in the game. By his own admission, established producer Irv Gotti (DMX, Jay-Z) was among those to turn down his debut album, citing a resemblance to the Jigga Man. Perhaps their fates were destined to intertwine. In any case, Fif continued to grind, making waves on the mixtape circuit with songs like the notorious “How To Rob.” As one-time 50 Cent associate Chaz Williams (who passed away earlier this month) explains, tensions originally sparked on the set of a music video, rising New York rapper Ja Rule’s “Murda 4 Life,” which left 50 feelings snubbed by Ja’s quick and flippant dismissal.

 

Meanwhile, Ja Rule’s Veni Vidi Vici, led by the breakout single “Holla Holla,” was quickly establishing Rule as one to watch in the industry. Having already collaborated with both Jay-Z and DMX, Rule made for a key periphery player in the pantheon of local talent. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop Ja from finding himself on the receiving end of a chain-snatching, a tale he went on to share with Vlad TV in 2014. Apparently, Ja was lured down the block by an old Southside acquaintance, who was under the impression that Rule made him a cuckold during a prison bid. Despite Rule’s denial, the man still opted to seize the chain as a consolation prize. “He was like, emotionally torn,” explains Ja. “He had the shaky hands, he was in a lover’s triangle quarrel type situation. It had nothing to do with music.”

Naturally, Ja wasn’t about to let the action go unpunished, and assembled his crew to mobilize. Before the situation could escalate, Rule reached out to a mutual party, the big homie Supreme, who ultimately facilitated the safe return of the chain. “I guess the story got back in the hood, about what happened,” pondered Ja. “So 50 used that as his in to have something to say about me.” 50 found himself taking his animosity out in the booth, sending “Life’s On The Line” in Ja and Irv’s direction on October 12th 1999 (keep in mind it was likely recorded prior). On the classic track, Fif clowned on Ja’s signature “Murda” battle cry and opened the floor for disrespect in a public setting. Yet the true shots stem from an unreleased version of the track, where Fif calls Ja out by name, directly alluding to the aforementioned chain-snatching incident – right down to Preme’s involvement.