The song 50 Cent used to attack Ja Rule
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The song 50 Cent used to attack Ja Rule

‘Wanksta’ is an iconic hip-hop track that emerged from the soundtrack of the 2003 film 8 Mile, starring Eminem. The song, performed by 50 Cent, quickly gained widespread recognition and became a defining track in 50’s early career. With its catchy beat and memorable lyrics, Wanksta remains a quintessential piece of hip-hop history that warrants a closer look.

Released in 2002, ‘Wanksta’ was part of 50 Cent’s meteoric rise to stardom. The song was a commercial success and a defining moment in the artist’s journey to hip-hop supremacy. It showcased 50 Cent’s signature gritty and streetwise style that would become synonymous with his brand.

The title of the song itself is a derogatory term often used to describe someone who pretends to be something they’re not, particularly in the context of gangster or street credibility. This theme of authenticity, or the lack thereof, runs throughout the song’s lyrics.

The opening lines of ‘Wanksta’ set the tone for the track as 50 Cent raps, “It’s 50, A.K.A. Ferrari F-50, Break it down / I got a lot of living to do before I die / And I ain’t got time to waste.” This opening verse establishes his determination and no-nonsense attitude, traits that are characteristic of 50 Cent’s persona.

Throughout the song, 50 Cent dissects the fake personas of others in the hip-hop world, highlighting the discrepancies between their boasts and their actual lives. He points out that many people are simply “wankstas” pretending to be tough and street-smart for the sake of their image. Most people assume this to be motivated by 50’s longtime adversary, Ja Rule. This lyrical approach served as a critique of the industry’s superficiality and the need for authenticity.

The feud’s roots are believed to stretch back to a time when Ja Rule was allegedly the victim of a robbery carried out by an acquaintance of 50 Cent. This incident served as the spark that ignited a fiery rivalry in the hip-hop world.

Over the years, tensions between the two artists escalated, culminating in not one but two physical altercations. These confrontations were marked by heated exchanges and, on one occasion, ended with 50 Cent requiring four stitches to mend his injuries. Ja Rule, meanwhile, found himself on the losing end of one of these encounters, suffering the loss of valuable jewellery.

The chorus of ‘Wanksta’ features a simple yet infectious hook that has become a trademark of 50 Cent’s music. “You say you a gangsta, but you never pop nothin’ / We say you a wanksta, and you need to stop frontin'” is a memorable refrain that highlights the central theme of the song. It’s a bold statement that challenges the credibility of those who talk a big game but lack the substance to back it up.

In the second verse, 50 Cent further emphasizes his own authenticity, recounting his experiences on the streets of South Jamaica, Queens. He raps about dealing drugs and facing danger, emphasizing that he’s the real deal and not just a manufactured persona. This autobiographical aspect of the song was pivotal in 50 Cent’s early music, helping listeners connect with his personal journey from a life of crime to musical success.

The instrumental backdrop of ‘Wanksta’ features a simple yet effective production, characterized by a catchy piano melody and a head-nodding beat. It perfectly complements 50 Cent’s aggressive and confident delivery, making the track instantly recognizable and dancefloor-friendly.

The impact of ‘Wanksta’ on 50 Cent’s career cannot be overstated. It served as a launching pad for his debut studio album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which went on to become a multi-platinum success. The song’s message of authenticity in the hip-hop world resonated with audiences and contributed to 50 Cent’s reputation as a fearless and genuine artist.

In conclusion, ‘Wanksta’ by 50 Cent is more than just a hip-hop song; it’s a cultural artefact that captures a pivotal moment in the artist’s career and in the evolution of hip-hop as a genre. Its sharp lyrics, infectious chorus, and unapologetic authenticity solidify its status as a classic track in the hip-hop canon. ‘Wanksta’ remains a reminder that in a genre often filled with posturing and exaggeration, realness and authenticity still matter.