Anyone who looks back fondly on Beg For Mercy likely feels a painful pang whenever 50 Cent and Young Buck lock horns. The pair once worked harmoniously, helping to craft a pivotal crew album in one of hip-hop’s fruitful eras. Yet the pieces for a falling out were in play, dating back to 2004’s The Massacre rollout. By Buck’s own admission, 50 Cent wasn’t fond of his proximity to some of his enemies, namely the “Piggy Bank” targeting Jadakiss. "It was kinda hard for me at times, he having certain beefs with individuals," explained Buck. "And then I run into these individuals and they looking to give me all the love in the world when I'm looking to tear they heads off.”

While the relationship between Buck and 50 has always been rather tested, recent history has revealed a cordiality between them. In April 2018, Buck revealed that both 50 Cent and Dr. Dre would be executive producing his new album, a reality that never materialized; yet would one really bestow their enemy with such a task? Of course, it’s easy to remember an infamous leaked phone call from 2008, which found Buck passionately opening up about his issues with the IRS. Though the pair were ultimately able to patch things up, Buck and 50 have once again found themselves gunning for each other’s throats. The most recent feud escalated to a boiling point after 50 Cent took to Instagram to have a laugh at Buck’s expense, vis-a-vis a few unproven allegations. “I told him his personal choice to date a transexual will confuse some of his core audience but with the support of the LGBT he should be fine," writes 50, ever-the IG troll.

Young Buck wasted little time in issuing a response, taking to IG live to sound off with a challenging message at his former friend:

"I'll burn your career down. I'll Ja Rule you. I thought you was 50 Cent... I thought you had some real n***a tendencies. You a real life sucka, n***a. If you such a real n***a, why don't you let me go? You understand what I'm saying? And we'll fight the battle like that. Line me up like Ja Rule. Go bar-for-bar with me, n***a. Play that game, you scared?"

 Kevin Winter/Getty Images

While Buck covers a lot of ground during a single rant, there are a few interesting takeaways. For one, despite what may fall between them, Buck clearly respects the dismantling 50 once gave Ja Rule, so much so that he used Fif’s own accomplishment as a threat. He also alludes to 50’s unwillingness to sever his contractual ties with him, which allows Fif to wield power over Buck’s musical output, stymieing releases as he so chooses. Finally, Buck issues a challenge, in the vain hopes that he might be able to appeal to 50’s inner competitor. After all, Fif once welcomed all challengers on wax, doling out lyrical beatings to his expansive shit-list. Though all signs point to a dust-coated mic, is it possible that 50 could be coaxed out for a final dance? And if, by some miracle, Buck was able to pull 50 back into the studio for a lyrical duel, who would hold the advantage?

Though 50 has essentially retired from long-form music (he has occasionally re-emerged to drop off a few guest-verses), it’s easy to remember some of his finest hours. “Back Down” essentially pulled the “Fatality” on Ja Rule, while the aforementioned “Piggy Bank” took shots at Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Nas, Lil Kim, Shyne, Kelis, and more. When Rick Ross challenged him, 50 replied with the scathing “Officer Ricky” and “Tia Told Me.”  When Game stepped up, 50 didn’t shy away, but rather matched his energy with “So Disrespectful,” which also sent a few shots in Buck’s direction. Suffice it to say, there once was a time when 50 welcomed all comers, and wasted little time in dismantling their lives in the booth. Some might say that his vast repertoire of memorable battle records has cemented him in the annals of hip-hop history as a truly formidable and ruthless general. Of course, he has since traded his mic for a keyboard, bringing the majority of his disrespectful energy to Instagram. Should he indeed call to answer Buck’s invitation, would rust not be a factor?

Despite lacking the battle-rap pedigree that 50 Cent has amassed over the years, Buck has a notable advantage in his favor. He has never stopped working. While it’s been a minute since he dropped a traditional studio album, his mixtape grind has been nothing short of prolific. The fact that he’s been sharpening his technique while 50 has been working on alternate endeavors would likely serve him well in a modern-day hip-hop beef. Plus, given that Buck has experienced an extended working relationship with 50, it’s possible he’s got some dirt to unearth. He has certainly warned as much, but such ground should be lightly tread; is it wise to sink to 50’s level, when going to war with the man himself?

Should Buck and 50 decide to settle this like they might have settled this ten years ago, who do you think would take home round one? Buck may have the practice, and he almost certainly has the hunger. But 50 is a veteran of many battles, and few can blend charisma with cold-blooded savagery. Were you a betting type, on which man would you wager the mortgage?

Photo Credits In Poll:
50 Cent: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Young Buck: Kevin Winter/Getty Images