In a recent digital cover story with Billboard, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson pulled back the curtains on building his media empire. While discussing topics like working with Dr. Dre and Eminem and having a plethora of his own “rap beefs,” Jackson also shared his thoughts about Nicki Minaj and Cardi B’s dynamic, two of the biggest rappers to come out of New York City since Fif’s 2003 debut.
“Hip-hop culture makes you battle,” he said to Billboard‘s Carl Lamarre. “I love Nicki Minaj, but the funny sh*t is, I like watching her when she’s upset. I like that because she has something that comes from the experience of living in South Jamaica.”
The fellow Queens borough native added, “I’m looking at it like, ‘Yo, I know they think she’s nuts, but they only think that because they don’t understand.’ I get it. She thinks you’re trying to play her.”
Fif’s understanding of Nicki stems from the many trials she has faced as she’s demanded her respect in the music industry. As a respected pioneer of rap (who just so happens to also be a woman), Nicki has been unapologetically vocal about “industry machines” going against her to keep her from garnering what she feels she deserves.
The 40-year-old mother of one has also pointed out the “unfairness” that she’s experienced in contrast to her rap counterparts. Whether being “snubbed” at award shows, having her songs miscategorized, or accusing streaming services of being “in bed” with rival artists’ camps, Minaj’s numbers have always spoken louder than any critic of her music.
Although 50 has made it clear time and time again that he rides for Minaj and has an abundance of respect for the wave she’s created, he also had a few things to say about her rap rival Cardi B.
“When Cardi B came, I thought she was dope,” the TV mogul reflected on the Bronx sensation’s rise to stardom. “She’s from the bottom. She was in Club Lust in Brooklyn. [Going] from that, and making a hit record and turning into who she did? I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t like to see that.”
He added, “It felt like she got everything — married, the baby — it came fast. That’s the American dream right there.”
The Get Rich or Die Trying icon hasn’t spoken too often about Cardi B publicly, but the last time he did he sided with Minaj over the two artists’ “beef.”
In 2017, online footage surfaced of Minaj’s frequent collaborator Tekashi69 turning up to the Queen rapper’s music in the club. As DJ SpinKing abruptly switched to Cardi’s “Bodak Yellow,” 69 still danced. The DJ announced, “I’m sorry Nicki, I’m team Cardi B on this side.”
50 decided to let it be known whose side he was on when he commented on the video with “No @djspinking that’s female sh*t stay out of that, now Nicki gonna get mad at 69 for turning up, trust me she on her South Side sh*t.”
Speaking summing up his sentiments about the two ladies in 2023, Fif told Billboard: “When her [Cardi] and Nicki clash, I go, ‘Oh, sh*t, it’s going to be interesting to watch how it plays out.’ Lyrically, I won’t say anything competitively about the two of them, but I love Nicki. I don’t have anything against Cardi.”
He continued, “I think anyone who comes now, she is going to check their temperature. Nicki is going to check if this bi**h is friendly or looking to take over the sh*t.”
Read 50 Cent’s Billboard digital cover story here.