The Real Reason 50 Cent Once Sued Taco Bell

Fast food history is filled with bizarre and sometimes hilarious lawsuits — one of those involves Taco Bell and rapper 50 Cent. The year was 2008 and Taco Bell was riding high on their now discontinued fiery Volcano Taco — and 50 Cent had landed a role in the mediocre Al Pacino and Robert De Niro crime flick Righteous Kill. Nobody suspected that Taco Bell would make itself an enemy of the rapper and find itself wrapped up in a $4 million lawsuit, but that's exactly what happened (via Billboard). 

Someone at Taco Bell decided that they'd sell more bean burritos and tacos if they convinced 50 Cent to change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent. Whether or not the idea was brilliant or cheesier than an overstuffed quesadilla is a matter of opinion, but regardless, Taco Bell sent a letter about the name change request to the media and not 50 Cent. Whoops. 

It wasn't the first time 50 Cent had sued over his name and image

Perhaps Taco Bell was unaware that just a year earlier, 50 Cent — whose real name is Curtis Jackson — had sued an internet ad company that used his name and image without permission in a game called "Shoot the Rapper." That, too, was a dumb idea, and resulted in a $1 million lawsuit. 

To make matters worse, 50 Cent said he didn't learn about Taco Bell asking him to change his name until he saw a news report on it. The name change was supposed to be part of Taco Bell's "Why Pay More?" marketing campaign. A Taco Bell spokesperson said the idea was conceived in "good faith" and that if 50 Cent would change his name for just one day and rap his order at a Taco Bell, they'd "make the $10,000 donation to the charity of his choice." Because nothing strengthens one's street cred in the rap game like rapping about 89 cent Crunchy Tacos. 

Taco Bell called out 50 Cent

Not surprisingly, Taco Bell wasn't about to just hand over $4 million to 50 Cent and say "Oopsie daisy, our bad." The dispute became even more heated when a reporter reached out to 50 Cent's lawyer who shared some of Taco Bell's statements regarding his client and the lawsuit (via AdAge). According to 50 Cent's lawyer, Taco Bell's statement referred to 50 Cent as an individual who uses his "colorful past to cultivate a public image of belligerence and arrogance." Taco Bell also described 50 Cent as having a "well-publicized track record of making threats, starting feuds and filing lawsuits."

Yeah, Taco Bell was really trying to start beef with a guy who survived being shot nine times. 

In the end, the lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount and 50 Cent and Taco Bell went their separate ways (via QSR Web). Taco Bell never did get a famous rapper to rap their taco order, but a year later they did still make a version of that commercial and yes... it was pretty bad (via YouTube).