Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Go For Your Guns

Much for the same reason that I don’t follow professional sports, I don’t keep particularly close track of the various beefs rappers have with one another. While it’s easy enough to remember big scraps with famous opponents — Canibus vs. LL Cool J, Nas vs. Jay-Z, Eminem vs. everybody — keeping track of every and all feuds would likely be a full-time job.

So when the news broke about a shoot-out between the entourages of Game and 50 Cent outside the Manhattan studios of Hot 97-FM, I was surprised. Not by the fact that there was shooting outside of Hot 97 — the current perjury trial of L’il Kim, concerning her testimony in a court case involving some 2001 gunplay outside the station, is reminder enough that Hot 97 is perhaps not the best neighbour one could have — but that 50 Cent and Game, once pals in the G-Unit crew, were no longer bosom buddies.

Apparently, this was not a secret to New York radio listeners. As Jarrett Murphy reports in the Village Voice, 50 Cent had gone on about rap grudges to Power 105’s Ed Lover mere days before Game and 50 Cent whinged about each other to Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97. Clearly, hip-hop beef is meat-and-potatoes to rap radio, and no surprise — where else would you find a more compelling blend of gossip and team partisanship? While it’s probably overstating things to suggest that radio intentionally fans the flames, asking that they not mention who-hates-who is a bit like asking Bonnie Fuller to ignore Paris Hilton. Business, after all, is business.

Nor is hating other players unique to hip-hop. There’s an amusing piece in the current Blender collecting “The Greatest Rock & Roll Insults of All Time,” and it barely scratches the surface, ignoring as it does some of the most acid-tongued performers as Pete Townshend, Boy George and Johnny Rotten. Yet I can’t recall any rockers who depended on entourages to brawl with their rivals, much less have gunfights. Back then, being Number One with a Bullet was still just a figure of speech.

Fortunately, not all rap stars or their crews are trigger-happy thugs. Ja Rule, who was charged with assault in Toronto while filming Assault on Precinct 13 last year, was back in T.O. for trial and not only admitted he was wrong, but apologized for his actions. “[A]s the judge said, I stepped up to the plate today,” he told reporters afterward. A pity that Ja Rule’s decision to take responsibility will likely remain a lesser story than Game and 50 Cent’s shootout on Hudson St.

A few days after the shooting, 50 Cent and Game kissed and made up. Isn't that sweet?

Remember Kool Moe Dee vs. LL? Oh, the memories.
cool post.


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