In a extract from his recently published memoirs, Jose’s BookThe Bronx, New York native recalled how his fierce rivalry with G-Unit’s general resulted in him losing a $20 million deal with Jordan Brand.
Joe pinpointed the deal’s collapse to the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, where he and 50 Cent exchanged photos in full view of the audience. Joe threw the first jab by thanking G-Unit for the heavy “police protection” inside Miami’s American Airlines Arena while presenting Missy Elliott with the award for best hip-hop video.
50 fired back during his headlining show with Tony Yayo and Mobb Deep, calling Fat Joe a “pussy boy” and a “fuck boy.”
But what fans inside the arena and at home didn’t see was 50 Cent and G-Unit mocking Fat Joe during the show.
“During the commercial break beforehand, 50 Cent got out of his seat and started walking around the house. He went up to the audience in the cheap seats and started waving at me. It was like he was daring me to get off the stage and confront him physically,” he wrote. “Then he got down on the floor and started high-fiving JAY-Z and Diddy.”
Joe continued: “He was really trying to antagonize me as I was standing there waiting to speak on the mic, but I wasn’t trying to interrupt him. Then 50 actually came on stage for a few seconds. He was standing several feet away from me. I said to myself Okay, we’re about to fight. We’re getting it right here at the VMAs.
“When the show came back — this is Direct Tv, mind you – he went back to his seat. The G unit started yelling at me as I read off the teleprompter. Terror Squad, offstage in the wings, started barking back. That’s when I lost my sting: ‘I feel safe with all the police protection from G-Unit’.”
Joey Crack continued to recall G-Unit members confronting him and the Terror Squad as they left the arena, but the police were able to separate the two crews and prevent a fight from breaking out. Nevertheless, the damage was already done when Joe later received a phone call from Michael Jordan himself, ending their lucrative partnership.
“I was supposed to be the first artist ever to collaborate with Jordan Brand. I’ve always rocked the most Jordans, always had the 172 flyest, most exclusive Jordans out of any celebrity. No one can compete with my sneaker collection,” Joe wrote.
“Me and Michael Jordan are real friends. I met with him six times going over designs for Fat Joe Jordan. Some of those meetings were literally just me and him, brainstorming, bouncing ideas off each other. But after the VMAs Mike muted the deal.”
He added, “‘You know I love you, Big Joe, but you’re too hot right now,'” he told me on a phone call. ‘I wanted to do it, but I’m not into all that rap beef. With all this controversy, we can’t make the sneaker anymore.’
“That was it. I lost about $20 million not getting that deal. I also lost out on other endorsements. The promoters definitely didn’t book me and 50 Cent on the same shows. Everyone had to keep us separate. But as fate would have it , after the VMAs, we didn’t see each other again in person for almost a decade.”
Fat Joe and 50 Cent at the end buried the hatchet at the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awardswith the tragic death of their mutual friend, music director Chris Lightythat inspired a peace accord between the rap rivals.
“They asked me to do a Chris Lighty tribute at the BET Awards. I showed up and it was 50 Cent, Missy, Busta, A Tribe Called Quest, we all did our thing,” Joe explained on a recent episode of Steven A. Smith’s Know Mercy podcast.
“I go to practice and one of my main guys, Pistol Pete, goes through the metal detector and they won’t let him through security. And 50 Cent says, ‘Terror Squad. G Unit. Us together.’ Pistol Pete, who spent 20 years in prison, who heard every story you could think of, looked like a deer [in] headlights. He couldn’t believe he heard it.”
He added: “I was performing and 50 ends up performing right after me and he stops right next to me and he puts his hands out and says, ‘Peace to Chris Lighty’ … And I said, ‘ Fred’. I shook his hand and we’ve been brothers ever since.”