Arts & Culture

50 Cent, Axl Rose Take On Taco Bell, Dr. Pepper In Battle Royale

In a series of epic battles on par with Ali vs. Foreman, Itchy vs. Scratchy and Christians vs. people who believe other things, enter attention-starved musicians vs popular foodstuffs into the lexicon of blockbuster rivalries. First, 50 Cent took on … Read More

By / December 3, 2008

In a series of epic battles on par with Ali vs. Foreman, Itchy vs. Scratchy and Christians vs. people who believe other things, enter attention-starved musicians vs popular foodstuffs into the lexicon of blockbuster rivalries. First, 50 Cent took on Taco Bell back in July, seeking $4 million in damages when the chalupa-peddling fast food giant publicly requested that he participate in a promotion in which he would change his name to "79 Cent," "89 Cent" or "99 Cent" to reflect the cost of Triple Layer Nachos, a Cheesy Double Beef Burrito and a Big Taste Taco, respectively. More recently, no less exalted an artist than Axl Rose got into it with bastardized cola product Dr. Pepper over the company’s promise to give away free cans of soda if Rose ever actually released his belabored magnum opus, Chinese Democracy. The Cent-Bell matchup has dragged on for months, with Taco Bell’s lawyers firing the first shots, accusing 50 of "burnish his gangsta rapper persona by distorting beyond all recognition a bona fide, good-faith offer." 50 has yet to personally respond to the beef (pun intended), but his spokespeople have stepped in to bat for him, saying, "This is a sleazy and ill-conceived publicity stunt by Taco Bell’s president, Greg Creed, whose disingenuous offer was leaked to the press before it was even presented to 50 Cent’s agent." Rose vs. Pepper has been a more recent development, as up until two weeks ago, promising anything for whenever Chinese Democracy was released was a pretty safe bet. When the album finally came out on November 23, Dr. Pepper put a coupon on their website good for a free can of its signature product. However, the demand for free soda far exceeded the company’s expectations and the site crashed, leaving thousands free-soda-less. Like his rapping brethren, Axl has yet to personally make a statement regarding the matter, but his attorney went on CNN and deemed the ordeal, "a mess," and complained that fans, "blame [Axl] for the fact that they didn’t get their free soda." 50 Cent and Axl Rose’s respective bouts with Taco Bell and Dr. Pepper (173,000 and 211,000 Google search results, correspondingly) are prime examples of the benefits of the American media machine. Where else but America could a disgruntled millionaire receive the attention he deserves in his quest to squash a fun promotion that casually mentions his name and livelihood in a non-derogatory manner? God bless America.