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Celebrity Slam - Well-aged beef

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Obviously, we love beef. Celebrity beef in all of its forms is a juicy delight – it is big and petty and ultimately more or less harmless. Bearing witness to a pair of celebs – a pair often even more clueless than they are famous – hammering at one another for what is usually the most microscopic of reasons, well … we enjoy it.

For the most part, beefs are ephemeral things these days. They blow up big for a and then quickly die out. The truth is that most of these people know each other; beef is very much a meal for the moment. There’s not often much in the way of staying power.

That’s why it’s such a special thing when you get two people involved who share the proper combination of ingredients – stuff like inflated sense of self-importance, tough guy mentality, a lack of impulse control, that sort of thing – to cook up something that’ll last.

The feud between rappers 50 Cent and Ja Rule has been going on so long that it’s less beef than beef jerky, a seemingly ageless snack whose flavor only grows more complex with age. For two decades, the two have been going at one another, for reasons that hardly matter at this point.

And here’s the thing about aged beef – it offers you flavors the likes of which you’ve never experienced.

50 Cent offered up some of that flavor just recently, bringing the feud back into the public eye with an exquisite bit of trolling. He announced that he had recently bought out 200 front-row seats at an upcoming Ja Rule concert stop in Las Vegas, intending to leave them empty.

That is, well – it seems weird to call it “inspired,” but that’s what we keep coming back to, so there you go. Like, that is an impressive flex. It’s the sort of move that you would expect to get from an enmity built on 20 years of perceived grievance. You come up with this stuff when you’re lying awake at night, actively thinking about how to destroy your foe.

You have to love someone so lacking in self-awareness. Among the many, many hilarious aspects of this whole deal is the look of the thing – 50 Cent’s money issues are legendary, so the optics of him basically setting a pile of money on fire just to chap a dude’s behind aren’t great. Not that Fiddy’s all that concerned about appearances – the dude has clearly decided he’s going to do what he wants.

The evolution of this beef has been fascinating to watch. Their animosity took root at a very different time and in a very physical way when it began in 1999 – Ja Rule was robbed, 50 Cent stabbed. Over the years, that dynamic changed – much like the hip-hop sphere as a whole changed – and evolved. There were diss tracks recorded, of course – a number of them flew back and forth. But then, as the men aged and their relevance began to dip, it changed again. Now we’re looking at dueling autobiographies and sniping and social media and now this ticket stunt.

Neither one of these guys matters a lick in the current pop culture landscape. They’re still famous, sure, but primarily for having already been famous. Their respective heydays are some distance in the rearview at this point. Heck, even this feud had been more or less dormant for a few years before they opened things up again in January of this year. In an interview, 50 Cent made some jokes about Ja Rule, who responded by taking to Twitter to rant about how 50 Cent owed him his life and a lot of other nonsense.

Still, one has to almost admire their steadfast commitment to the bit. There’s an argument to be made that much celebrity conflict is manufactured for the sake of garnering attention, but there’s simply no way that these guys fall into that category. No one can pretend to hate someone else for 20 years – certainly not with the flair and passion that these two bring to the table. It is old-school, well-aged beef – and it’s only going to get older.

Long story short: the 50 Cent/Ja Rule beef will outlive us all.

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