50 Cent is no stranger to verbal conflict, but his latest opponent is perhaps his unlikeliest yet.
After appearing on MSNBC’s The Beat With Ari Melber last week, the G-Unit boss found himself in a friendly war of words with former Russian politician and Kremlin official Andrei Vladimirovich Kozyrev.
During their lengthy chat, Melber mentioned that 50’s previous appearance on his show in 2018 was his second-most watched interview of all time with 4.4 million views — more than Bill Gates and Robert DeNiro were able to draw.
Only Kozyrev’s appearance on The Beat last March shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine eclipsed 50’s interview with 5.4 million views.
Kozyrev, who served as Russia’s Foreign Minister under former president Boris Yeltsin between 1990 and 1996, later trolled 50 Cent by rubbing his viewership victory in the rapper’s face.
“Today many people ask me who’s @50 cent?” he tweeted on February 17 along with a crying face emoji.
Ari Melber pointed out that Kozyrev had even changed his Instagram bio to include: “Who is 50 cent?”
Today many people ask me who’s @50 cent?😂
— Andrei V Kozyrev (@andreivkozyrev) February 17, 2023
50 Cent didn’t appear to be phased by Kozyrev’s ties to the formidable Kremlin, though, as he jabbed the former politician back on Monday (February 20).
“@andreivkozyrev How are you feeling [smirking face emoji] i’m happy your still alive, Putin didn’t like that shit you said be careful now!” he wrote on Twitter.
During his aforementioned interview with Ari Melber, Kozyrev criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and predicted that current president Vladimir Putin would sooner be “overthrown” than be given “unwelcome news” by the yes men around him.
. @andreivkozyrev How are you feeling😏 I’m happy you’re still alive, Putin didn’t like that shit you said be careful now ! pic.twitter.com/38W7D0KsHA
— 50cent (@50cent) February 21, 2023
Unlike Putin’s fiercely militant approach to such comments, however, Kozyrev responded by thanking 50 Cent and encouraging him to support Ukraine, while also informing him that his son is a “big fan.”
“@50cent, thank you sir!” he wrote back on Twitter. “Your support would also mean a lot for Ukraine. And by the way, my son is a big fan of yours.”
.@50cent, thank you sir! Your support would also mean a lot for Ukraine. And by the way, my son is a big fan of yours. 😄 https://t.co/R6u7kBS7B8
— Andrei V Kozyrev (@andreivkozyrev) February 21, 2023
“Truly never thought I’d see 50 and this former Kremlin official trading barbs about their viral Beat interviews,” Melber reacted to the back-and-forth in an Instagram comment. “Really tho.”
“This a wild period in human history,” one viewer wrote, while another suggested: “Gotta bring them both back together on your show now… It’s only right that we see how this ends.”
50 Cent’s unlikely political exchange comes on the heels of the 20th anniversary of his blockbuster 2003 debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin.’ While reflecting on his breakout project in his interview with Ari Melber, the Power mogul admitted he was “absolutely crazy” during that time period.
“The stuff that they see that I’ve learned, it kinda kept me out of trouble at points,” he said. “The stuff that I was saying in the music in the very beginning, I was crazy! To tell you the truth, Ari. I was absolutely crazy at that point!”
50 also revealed that he recorded his hit single “21 Questions” in hopes of it boosting his love life, and had to convince Dr. Dre that the song deserved to appear on Get Rich or Die Tryin.’
“[Dre] said, ‘I know what this is. It’s N.W.A with just one member and you really don’t need it,’” he recalled. “He didn’t know why I wanted to put the record on.”
“Why did you?” Melber asked.
“Because I wanted ladies to feel like maybe they could fix me, and I had done so many push-ups,” Fif replied with a smile. “So I felt like, ‘This is gonna be good for my love life!’ I’m dead serious.”
He added: “I thought that they would see some way that they could possibly fix me or understand me in a different way. And their favorite line on the song was, ‘I love you like a fat kid loves cake.’ When I wrote it, I was thinking, I love you, but too much of you is no good for me. Like a fat kid loves cake.”