In 2007, 50 Cent was riding high on the success of his hip-hop career.
With two bestselling albums under his belt and a burgeoning record label, he was a household name.
However, he wasn’t just making headlines for his music.
He was also embroiled in a highly publicized feud with Kanye West, centered around the release of their albums on the same day.
50 Cent famously claimed that if Kanye’s album outsold his, he would quit music.
While Kanye’s album “Graduation” did indeed sell more, 50 Cent’s album still moved over 600,000 units in its first week, making history as only the second time two albums sold more than 600,000 in the same week.
But 50 Cent’s strategy wasn’t just about winning. It was about strategic positioning and leveraging controversy to his advantage.
This approach, which he had honed since his early days in the industry, involved what can be termed as “Trend-Jacking.”
Trend-Jacking is the practice of capitalizing on trending topics or events to insert oneself into the conversation, thereby gaining attention and visibility.
What sets 50 Cent apart is his calculated and strategic approach to controversy.
Despite the seemingly impulsive nature of his actions, he is known to be calm and calculated, as observed by Robert Greene, the author of “The 48 Laws of Power,” with whom 50 Cent co-authored a book.
This strategic mindset is evident in how he picks his battles and chooses his opponents.
When 50 Cent initiated feuds with other rappers, he strategically targeted those with whom he could profit, even in defeat.
He understood the power of a rivalry in elevating the entire industry, as seen in his feud with Kanye West and his later rivalry with the TV show “Empire.”
By engaging in these conflicts, he ensured that his name remained in the spotlight, even if he didn’t come out on top.
However, not everyone who attempts to emulate 50 Cent’s strategy succeeds. One notable example is Tekashi 6ix9ine, whose confrontations with other rappers often backfired.
Unlike 50 Cent, Tekashi lacked the strategic foresight and resilience to handle the repercussions of his actions.
His confrontations often led to damaging his brand and reputation, especially after he became associated with legal troubles and allegations of snitching.
On the other hand, Soulja Boy demonstrated a more successful adaptation of 50 Cent’s strategy.
By engaging in viral beefs with other rappers and leveraging trending topics, Soulja Boy managed to keep himself relevant and capitalize on the attention generated by controversy.
Despite not possessing the same street credibility as 50 Cent, Soulja Boy’s ability to manufacture low-level controversy helped him sustain his career and remain profitable.
In conclusion, 50 Cent’s marketing strategy revolves around strategic controversy and Trend-Jacking.
His calculated approach to engaging in feuds and leveraging trending topics has enabled him to stay relevant and profitable in the ever-changing landscape of the music industry.
However, this strategy is not without risks, and not everyone can replicate 50 Cent’s success.
To effectively employ this strategy, individuals must possess strategic foresight, resilience, and a deep understanding of their competition.