NEW YORK – Perhaps selling 1.1 million copies of his new album in four days has softened the heart of 50 Cent (search). Or maybe he has so many feuds going, he can afford to let one go.
On Wednesday, 50 Cent and The Game (search) publicly squashed a bitter feud that had erupted into gunfire last week after 50 kicked Game out of his G-Unit clique for disloyalty.
The two platinum-selling gangsta rappers didn't exactly kiss and make up. When they emerged before a media throng at Harlem's famed Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (search), both looked as if they'd been shoved into apologies by a stern mother.
But they did shake hands, albeit at the end of the press conference, after speaking about contrition and the need for peace.
50 noted that Wednesday was the anniversary of the unsolved murder of Biggie Smalls in 1997, the culmination of a rap war between Biggie and Tupac Shakur that pitted East Coast against West.
"We're here today to show that people can rise above the most difficult circumstances and together we can put negativity behind us," said 50, a native New Yorker. "A lot of people don't want to see it happen, but we're responding to the two most important groups, our family and our fans."
"I just want to apologize on behalf of myself and 50," said Game, who's from the Los Angeles suburb of Compton. "I'm almost ashamed to have participated in the things that happened in the last couple of weeks."
50 presented an oversized check for $150,000 (euro112,390) to the Boys Choir of Harlem. Game donated $103,500 (euro77,551). It was not clear why Game chose that amount or whether he had been reinstated in G-Unit; no questions were taken at the press conference. They also both made contributions to the Compton schools music program.
Is the truce sincere?
"Of course it was genuine," said hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who was at the event. "They stood on stage together."
At the very least, it was a remarkable concession for rappers who routinely brag about killing their enemies.
"It is the first time we've seen 50 publicly take a step back" from a battle, said Elliott Wilson, editor in chief of the hip-hop magazine XXL.
In a statement earlier Wednesday, 50 Cent said: "I'm launching a new foundation, the G-Unity Foundation, Inc., to help people overcome obstacles and make a chance for the better in their lives ... to help them overcome their situations. I realized that if I'm going to be effective at that, I have to overcome some of my own. Game and I need to set an example in the community."
50 Cent has always set an example — usually as an unapologetic criminal gleefully wreaking havoc on other rappers. He almost single-handedly dismantled the multi-platinum career of Ja Rule by relentlessly targeting him in songs, magazines and his 2003 debut, the eight-million selling "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."
Last week 50 released his sophomore CD, "The Massacre," which including a song attacking rappers like Fat Joe, Nas and Jadakiss for making a record with Ja Rule. But his beef with Game was unusual because it involved a member of his own camp.
As 50 was on the radio announcing the expulsion of Game from G-Unit — apparently because Game wouldn't turn his back on some of 50s many enemies — Game's crew rolled up to the station. Guns were fired inside the lobby and a member of Game's posse was wounded.
Game is a protege of superproducer Dr. Dre, who put Eminem on the map, who in turn made 50 Cent a superstar. They're all on the same parent label, Interscope Records.
Those relationships probably played a hand in Wednesday's reconciliation.
"It's pressure for 50 to look at it from a business perspective and not a personal perspective," Elliott said. "I think the press conference was forced by the mainstream media's reaction to the incident. They don't benefit on a business level to be associated with violence."
Could the whole thing have been a publicity stunt for two rappers with albums in stores now?
Elliott doesn't buy it. "There really was a beef. I think there was a genuine conflict that 50 felt The Game was unappreciative of all the work he did on his album ... and Game is feeling like, 'I'm my own man now."'
But the two have apparently decided that they have more to lose going against each other.
"I think  will continue to beef with other artists," Elliott said. "But to beef with your own artist and someone who you're in business with, it doesn't help you."