In his new memoir The Book of Jose, Joe reminisces on a crucial call from Michael Jordan that happened during the height of his G-Unit beef.
In an excerpt from Joe’s new memoir The Book of Jose, which was shared by GQ, Joe wrote about a tense exchange he had with 50 Cent while both rappers were scheduled to appear at the Miami awards show. Joe noted G-Unit was “extra thick that year” and that aside from the group’s seminal rappers Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck, 50 Cent had also just signed Mobb Deep. Ma$e was also in tow along with “some extra muscle.”
“Halfway through the show, I went out on the stage to give Missy Elliott an award,” Joe recalled. “What the audience at home didn’t see was that during the commercial break beforehand, 50 Cent got out of his seat and started walking the house. He went up to the audience in the cheap seats and started waving to me. It was like he was dar-ing me to get off the stage and physically confront him. Then he went down to the floor and started slapping fives with Jay-Z and Diddy.”
Then 50 Cent wandered on stage, and for a few moments was just feet away from Joe as the commercials wrapped up.
“I was saying to myself, Okay, we’re about to fight. We’re about to get it on right here at the VMAs,” Joe explained. “When the show came back on—this is live TV, mind you—he went back to his seat. The G-Unit started yelling at me while I’m reading off the teleprompter. The Terror Squad, offstage in the wings, started barking back. That’s when I dropped my jab: ‘I feel safe with all the police protection courtesy of G-Unit.’”
This dig inevitably did not sit well with 50 Cent, and after Joe and his Terror Squad left the event, the Queens legend took the stage to perform a medley of his current hits, including Tony Yayo’s “So Seductive,” which he closed out by saying, “Fat Joe is pussy, man. Pussy boy. Fuck boy.”
While tensions had hit a boiling point between the pair, Joe had a meeting with the Jordan brand a few days later, as he was set to be the face of a new shoe called the Fat Joe Jordan. But the NBA legend rang Joe himself and said the deal couldn’t proceed because of his beef with the G-Unit leader.
“’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 do the sneaker anymore,’” Joe added. “Lost about $20 million by not getting that deal. I lost out on other endorsements too. Promoters definitely didn’t book me and 50 Cent on the same shows. Everybody had to keep us separated. But as fate would have it, after the VMAs, we didn’t see each other again in person for almost a decade.”
In a separate interview with Talib Kweli on his People’s Party podcast, Joe said at the time he was prepared to take his feud with 50 to the grave, but that the 2012 death of their mutual friend Chris Lighty changed everything.
“When I show up to the BET Awards, we on point. We super focused,” Joe said. “That’s the only way I can explain it legally. They say rehearsal. I perform ‘Lean Back’ and then 50 Cent comes out. He ends up right by where I’m at. And when the music stops, he puts his hands out, and says ‘Peace for Chris Lighty.’ Chris Lighty wanted peace.”