50 Cent provokes fights the way that normal people eat breakfast. He might skip a day here or there if he's particularly busy, but it's an essential part of his daily routine. His drive to be the most powerful rapper on the planet, or at least have people think he's the most powerful rapper on the planet, is nearly pathological, and so naturally Diddy is his sworn enemy. They're both two lions fighting for control of the same vodka jungle.
As a general rule I'm not particularly interested in millionaires bickering, but during a recent club appearance/public shit talking session, 50 brought up a legitimate point:
Give me the last single, the last single off his last album. Does anyone in here know what his last single was? The DJ don't know, nobody in the whole night club knows what the last single was? Somebody Google that shit.
It turned out that, at least in that club that night, no, no one knew what his last single was, and for those of us who grew up in era when Bad Boy dominated music like no label has dominated since, that's borderline mind-blowing, and accurate.
For the record, Diddy released a lot of music off both his MMMmixtape album and No Way Out 2, but his last true single would have to be considered the Pharrell collaboration "Finna Get Loose," which I'm sure has its devotees, but didn't have any larger impact (it peaked at No. 44 on the charts). And if we want to talk about the last hit single Diddy put out, we'd have to go back to circa 2010 to "Coming Home"; his last top ten single was 2006's "Last Night." To 50 Cent's point, naming Diddy's last big hit now feels more like the answer to a trivia question than an automatic answer. No wonder he was so mad at Drake for turning the "0-100" beat into a hit.
Even Stevie Wonder can see the next paragraph coming...
If 50 wants to talk recent hits though, he doesn't have particularly firm ground to stand on. If Diddy no longer feels musically relevant that's because he's only popped up every four years or so over the last decade, but in contrast 50's released so much music even Future's impressed by the output. Similarly though, none of those songs have managed to really catch fire on a larger level, certainly not to the extent he once enjoyed. His last release was the Chris Brown-assisted "No Romeo No Juliet," which has received some attention, but not much. To find his last big top-ten hit we have to go back to 2007's "Ayo Technology," with a pit stop at 2009's "Baby By Me" (peaked at #28).
If we're doing the music mogul comparison thing I feel obliged to point out that 50 just got through a bankruptcy settlement while Diddy just ranked number one on the last Forbes list, which means Diddy can afford to retire from music while 50 clearly still feels like music is the engine that keeps all his other business ventures in motion.
But if we're going for pure musical relevancy, the most objective analysis is that neither Diddy nor 50 are really moving the needle in 2016, which is yet more proof of just how ruthlessly culture moves on. One moment you're breaking records while breaking records, extending your hit making powers to your label (Bad Boy/G-Unit), and the next moment it's been a decade since your last big hit and you have to find other ways to stay in the headlines.
So the question isn't really who the better musician is, Curtis Jackson or Sean Combs, it's who's the better self-promoter? Now there's a debate...
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.