Ja Rule made it clear during an April 12 Instagram Live he’d be more than down to battle his arch-nemesis 50 Cent as part of Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s Verzuz Instagram Live battle series.
“I want all the smoke,” Ja noted, adding, “I’ll behave.”
While this battle will likely never materialize in real life, HipHopDX thought it would be fun to imagine how a 20-round song-for-song battle would potentially play out.
It’s an (imaginary) battle of Billboard titans. The two Queens staples have over 60 Billboard Hot 100 hits between themselves — 40 for 50 Cent, 26 for Ja Rule. 50 almost doubles Ja’s hits, but there was a time between 1999 and 2004 where Ja was one of the biggest acts in mainstream rap. This duel could end up being much closer than expected.
The rules of the battle are simple. Each rapper plays their song for no more than a minute but can go shorter if they so choose. There are 20 rounds to the battle. If there is a tie at the end, a bonus round of five additional songs will commence. Lace-up your Timbs, cook up a chopped cheese and pop the bottle of Moët — the battle is about to begin.
Do you agree with the results? Sound off in the comments and let us know.
50 Cent: “What Up Gangsta”
Ja Rule: “Murda 4 Life” f. Memphis Bleek
50 fires up his speakers and sets the tone with the opener to his classic debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ “What Up Gangsta.” It’s not one of his hits, but 50 is trying to remind the chat of the LP’s greatness. The crowd starts hyping it up, but Ja just sits back and smiles.
“OK, OK” Ja says. “But yo Fif, it’s murdaaaaa.” Then, he presses play on “Murda 4 Life.” 50 is slightly caught off guard. He didn’t expect Ja to throw out the heaters at the start but no matter. Once the track fades out, Ja grins. “Aye yo, Fif? Are you still mad about not being in that video?” Ja says, cracking up a bit. Irv Gotti sends a laughing emoji in the chat. 50 lets the dirt fall off his shoulder, but the chippiness has started early.
Ja shocks the crowd and strikes first blood. Round 1 goes to Ja.
50 Cent: “Patiently Waiting” f. Eminem
Ja Rule: “Holla Holla”
“Ok, Ja, but I got something you don’t,” 50 says with a wry smile. He throws on “Patiently Waiting,” the first time 50 and Eminem linked up for a song after Em signed 50 to a record deal. “Fuck you, Ja,” types Marshall Mathers in the chat.
Ja is quiet. He knows he doesn’t have an Eminem verse, but he refuses to mess with his sequencing. He plays “Holla Holla,” the debut single off of his first album under Def Jam, Venni Vetti Vecci, which gets a good reception, but the writing is on the wall.
50 ties it up off the strength of Eminem’s verse, drawing the score at 1-1.
50 Cent: “Disco Inferno”
Ja Rule: “Down Ass Bitch” f. Charli Baltimore
50 knows he just took back the momentum; he’s ready to have some fun. “Let’s turn this bitch up,” 50 boasts with glee. He plays “Disco Inferno,” one of his biggest club jams, and the chat explodes.
Ja isn’t fazed. “Nah, fuck that Fif,” he counters. “Let’s slow it down,” as he turns on “Down Ass Bitch,” which under the cleaner title “Down A** Chick,” peaked at No. 21 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2002. The crowd appreciates Ja’s switch of the tempo, but they were trying to turn up (read the room Ja).
The round is closer than last time, but no track thus far has received the reaction of “Disco Inferno,” giving 50 an easy win and making the score 2-1.
50 Cent: “I Get It In”
Ja Rule: “Thug Lovin’” f. Bobby Brown
The talking has ceased for now; 50 jumps right into it with “I Get It In,” a minor hit for Fif that only peaked at No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100. Still, it’s a beloved track, and people in the chat are doing the yayo dance. All is good in the world.
Ja needs to pull out some hits, so he plays “Thug Lovin,” which has aged remarkably well (depending on how you feel about Bobby Brown).
It was a close matchup, but 50 takes it by a thread stretching his lead 3-1.
50 Cent: “Many Men (Wish Death)”
Ja Rule: ”We Here Now”
“Thug love, huh? You’ve never been a thug, Ja,” 50 laughs. “You ain’t never been about that life.” As his haunting single “Many Men,” begins, the comment section goes crazy.
“Ah, son, pull off, pull off,” Ja says in a high pitched voice — mocking the song’s intro. He quickly presses play on “We Here Now,” the first song off of his debut album. “Don’t be scared now,” he barks.
Ja came correct, but “Many Men” tilts the scale in 50’s favor, making the score 4-1.
50 Cent: “If I Can’t”
Ja Rule: ”Livin’ It Up” f. Case
“You were here,” 50 says condescendingly, “then I made you outta here.” The comment section begins to elaborate on that point amongst themselves. “I still run New York.” He presses play on “If I Can’t” as he scowls at the camera.
Ja laughs as he promptly hits play on his party staple “Livin’ It Up.” He knows he has this round in the bag as the comment section goes wild.
Ja notches the win in this round, cutting 50’s lead to 4-2.
50 Cent: “Outta Control (Remix)” f. Mobb Deep
Ja Rule: ”The Pledge Remix” f. Nas, Ashanti & 2Pac
50 doesn’t even drop any dialogue as he quickly retorts with the remix — and infinitely better performing version — of “Outta Control” featuring Mobb Deep. The comment section fills up with salutes to the late Prodigy. The song’s co-producer, Mike Elizondo, drops a string of praying hand emojis.
Ja is aware of the “wanna-be 2Pac” criticisms but throws caution to the wind as he drops his “Pledge” remix featuring the late-great icon.
This round strikes a rather somber tone, as mutual respect for the fallen Hip Hop legends temporarily squashes the tension resulting in a tie. The score is 5-3 in 50’s favor.
50 Cent: “I Get Money”
Ja Rule: ”New York” f. Fat Joe & Jadakiss
50 has begun to get cocky; he’s trying to flex, so he plays “I Get Money,” his last Billboard Top 20 hit (so far). He even sings along to the chorus. “I run New York,” he shouts.
Ja laughs this off. “Oh, you run New York nigga?” Fat Joe sends a laughing emoji in the chat. The stage is set as Ja plays “New York,” a tribute to the style of NYC coupled with an ill Jadakiss verse. The chat praises Jada’s verse, and he types back praying hands. 50 shakes his head, knowing he lost this round.
50’s song may have been a bigger hit, but it’s a cheap song from the last gasp of his mainstream dominance. Ja takes the round with the score sitting at 5-4.
50 Cent: “Candy Shop” f. Olivia
Ja Rule: ”Put It On Me” f. Vita
50 is feeling the pressure a bit. He didn’t expect to lose some rounds; it’s time to go to the hits. “Ok, nigga, you’ve had your fun, but I’m done fucking around,” he growls back with an icy stare. Here comes “Candy Shop,” one of the more polarizing hits of his career. Love it or hate it though, when that track dropped: you couldn’t escape it. Scott Storch sends an assortment of candies and fire emojis in the chat.
Ja knows he needs to counter with a haymaker, not a jab. He pulls back and delivers an overhand left with “Put It On Me,” the Fast and Furious version. The nostalgia bug is hitting the chat quite hard, and some people can’t stand “Candy Shop.” Tough decision.
Ja pulls out a big win this round to tie things up at 5-5.
50 Cent: “Window Shopper”
Ja Rule: “Ain’t It Funny Remix” f. JLo & Cadillac Tah
50 goes from scowl to smile as he says, “You mad, nigga,” pausing momentarily before adding, “I think I know why.” As “Window Shopper” begins to blast, Ja kisses his teeth.
“That song was the lead single off your movie, and it still barely went gold,” laughs Ja. The comment section fills with laughing face emojis. “Ain’t that funny,” he adds as he presses play on his Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping remix featuring Jennifer Lopez. Cadillac Tah gets mad in the chat as Ja cuts the song off before his verse.
“Window Shopper” stings, but success is the best revenge, and peak J-Lo equals hits every time. Ja takes the round and the lead, as the score is now 5-6.
50 Cent: “Wanksta”
Ja Rule: “Clap Back”
50 sits with a giant smile across his face as he says, “Ain’t it funny, Ja?” He pauses for a moment before pressing play on his breakout hit “Wanksta” without diverting his gaze from the camera. “I bet you think this song is about you,” he says with a laugh as the comment section lights up like a Christmas tree. “It isn’t, but you’re still a wanksta.”
“Wanksta” obviously strikes a chord with Ja looking visibly annoyed the entire time it plays. As the attention shifts back to him, he cracks a smile, calmly dropping his 50 Cent and Eminem diss record “Clap Back.” Scott Storch drops 75 flame emojis in the chat as Ja raps along.
It wasn’t even close — Fif wins the round and ties things up at 6-6.
50 Cent: “Hate It Or Love It” f. The Game
Ja Rule: “It’s Murda” f. JAY-Z & DMX
“You know what your problem was, Ja, you hated to see me win,” 50 says with a laugh. With that, he drops The Game‘s “Hate It Or Love It” where 50 delivered a show-stealing feature and even dropped his own version with the rest of G-Unit sans The Game. Everyone starts asking where the Compton rapper is in the comment section as Fif just laughs.
Ja knows he needs to shift the momentum back his way, and with that, he presses play on “It’s Murda,” the sole posse cut from one of Hip Hop’s biggest missed opportunities — his failed group with JAY-Z and DMX. It’s aged well, and judging by 50’s face, he knows it. “Are y’all muthafucka’s ready or what,” Ja barks along with DMX’s intro.
50 takes this round and reclaims the lead — 7-6.
50 Cent: “I Smell Pussy” f. G-Unit
Ja Rule: “Between Me & You” f. Christina Milian
50 stares directly into the camera as the disrespectful G-Unit single “I Smell Pussy” begins blasting from the speakers. Laughing face emojis rain down the comment stream as he then raps every lyric of the intro directly to Ja, before breaking into hysterical laughter. Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks get hyped in the chat while Gotti and Cadillac Tah go oddly silent.
Ja slightly misreads the room, dropping “Between Me & You.” His girl record doesn’t hold any jabs, and Fif looks off-camera, laughing along with others in the room at the misstep. “Hits, nigga,” Ja barks, attempting to save face.
This one was a no brainer. 50 wins the round taking an 8-6 lead.
50 Cent: “Baby By Me” f. Ne-Yo
Ja Rule: “Wonderful” f. R. Kelly & Ashanti
50 is still laughing. “I play a song about you being a pussy, and you hit me with a song that proves you a pussy? I don’t even have to clown you nigga, and you play yourself.” The chat fills up with laughing emojis. 50 starts playing “Baby By Me,” one of his last big hits. It’s not one of his top songs, but you can’t deny Ne-Yo in his prime.
“Oh, you got Ne-Yo,” Ja says. “Well, I got a legend too. Fif, who you playin’ with, I was the king of thug crossovers. Put some respect on it.” Ja looks composed on the surface, but he’s rattled, evidenced by his ill-advised choice of playing “Wonderful,” featuring Ashanti and one Robert Kelly … oops. Having good judgment is not Ja’s specialty. Ashanti sums up the vibe in the chat by typing one word: “Yikes.”
50 wins and cruises back into the lead with a score of 9-6.
50 Cent: “21 Questions” f. Nate Dogg
Ja Rule: “Mesmerize” f. Ashanti
Ja desperately needs a comeback, but 50 isn’t taking his foot off the gas. “Rest in peace to the big homie Nate Dogg,” Fif says, letting his Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single “21 Questions” speak for itself.
Ja looks oddly confident as he says with a laugh, “This is my bag, nigga.” It’s hard to beat Ja’s track record of crafting faux-tough songs for the ladies — and he knows it. “Mesmerize” drops, and Ja immediately screams, “Murda Inc. shit,” along with the song’s intro.
Nate Dogg hooks count as headshots — 50 takes the round making it 10-6.
50 Cent: “Poppin’ Them Thangs” f. G-Unit
Ja Rule: “Can I Get A…” f. JAY-Z & Amil
50 rolled his eyes the entire time “Mesmerize” was playing. “Ain’t nobody fuckin’ with that shit, Ja,” he laughs. Getting back to the hits, he drops the Dr. Dre and Scott Storch-produced “Poppin’ Them Thangs.” Fif makes a screwface as he nods his head.
Ja responds with an equally massive hit, JAY-Z’s “Can I Get A…” — cued up to his verse, of course. “Hov what up,” he screams as the chorus plays. The chat wonders if Hov’s burner is present.
This one was close, but 50 pushes his lead to 11-6.
50 Cent: “P.I.M.P.”
Ja Rule: “I’m Real (Murder Remix)” f. Jennifer Lopez
Playing off of Ja’s verse in the last round, Fif exclaims, “Ja, you thought you were a player like that, huh?” The comment even makes Ja laugh. He knows what’s coming — and so does the audience. The steel pan breakdown of the Mr. Porter-produced hit “P.I.M.P.” is barely over before the comment section blows up.
Ja can feel the energy and knows he needs to strike back hard to stay in the game. Without any setup, he drops his second J-Lo feature of the battle, “I’m Real (Murder Remix),” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 back in 2001. “What’s my motherfuckin’ name,” he screams along with the intro as R-U-L-E floods the comment section.
50 takes it, and the score is now 12-6.
50 Cent: “Just A Lil’ Bit”
Ja Rule: “Down 4 U” f. Vita & Charli Baltimore
Fif knows he’s in good shape — he can feel the energy. He’s all smiles at this point, as his platinum single “Just A Lil’ Bit” begins. More than one commenter notes that it’s starting to feel like a Scott Storch beat battle.
It’s a big single, and Ja knows it. But, he pulls out a power punch from the often forgotten Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc. compilation, “Down 4 U,” which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in the summer of 2002. The nostalgia is delicious, and everyone seems to have the same “oh shit” moment as Ja just bops and grins.
We have our second tie in the battle. 50 has a 13-7 lead.
50 Cent: “In Da Club”
Ja Rule: “Always On Time” f. Ashanti
As 50 has yet to drop his nuclear missile, we knew this was coming. Shaking his head at the camera, he drops the enduring classic “In Da Club” as the comment section fills with skulls and R.I.P. hashtags.
Ja had a plan, but he still looks to be scrambling. “You got hits nigga … you got hits,” he says in a tone fitting for a politician conceding to an opponent in the primaries. “But, I got hits, too.” With that, he drops an atom bomb of his own, his quintessential No. 1 hit and most streamed song on Spotify “Always On Time.”
“In Da Club” is the song battle version of choosing Odd Job in the OG N64 game GoldenEye. 50 picks up this round effortlessly as the score goes up to 14-7.
50 Cent: “Lifes On The Line”
Ja Rule: “Loose Change”
“Well, Ja, it was fun embarrassing you,” 50 says, unable to hold back his laughter. “But I’m getting bored of your wack ass rhymes. So let’s finish this shit up … I have to go watch some quality TV.” Fif holds up a poster for his new ABC show For Life — which he stars in and executively produces. He throws on his ultimate Ja Rule diss track “Your Life’s On The Line,” off his shelved Columbia Records debut Power of the Dollar.
Ja has lost his composure entirely at this point. Between the chat and 50, he’s rattled. “You know Fif, I didn’t want to do this but, fuck you, nigga,” he snarls. He proceeds to play “Loose Change,” a diss track aimed at 50, Slim Shady and Aftermath Records, and the chat becomes divided. Some are laughing, and some are pissed off. “Fuck you, Ja,” Marshall Mathers types again.
50 already won, but this finishing crane kick has heightened the animosity between the two.
50 Cent prevails, with a final score of 15-7.
Both these men came into the battle saying they could put aside their differences, but it seems nothing has changed. As Ja hastily thanks the viewers and logs off, 50 continues to clown him.
He thanks everyone for coming to the show and plays “Back Down” to sprinkle more salt in the wound. Before signing off for the night, he makes sure to plug For Life once again, to the slowly dwindling crowd. And with that, the battle is done.
But the feud rages on.