Regardless of how vehemently you defend the 5 boroughs (and Jersey), the East Coast hip-hop hub that birthed the genre hasn't been consistently relevant since the mid-2000s. Atlanta came in and dominated throughout the post-piracy and pre-streaming era of 2007-2012, and with the introduction of Spotify, Youtube and Soundcloud, location and geographical barriers to entrance into mainstream hip-hop have been entirely erased. Can you name where Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Pump, or Lil Yachty are from? I can't. And I don't care. But if it were 2001 I'd look at you a little funny if you told me a Queens rapper was going to be working heavily with Dr. Dre.
These two graphs show the average hip-hop chart position of singles and albums per year. The blue line consists of all of 50's rivals, artists like Fat Joe, Ja Rule, Jadakiss, Onyx etc. The yellow line is non-rivals and collaborators. The orange line is the entire dataset.
If 50 Cent were the cause of the death of New York hip-hop, the graph would show a big dip in the blue line, dragging the yellow and orange along with it. On the Singles chart the blue line does perform slightly worse than the yellow, although in 2006, when Fif's beef-machine was in full form, his rivals actually performed better on the charts than his collaborators and non-rivals. A beef with 50 Cent wasn't necessarily career suicide during the mid-2000s, despite the stereotype. Unless you were Ja Rule, in which case it was.
The Albums graph proves beyond doubt that 50 Cent didn't kill New York hip-hop. The blue line, his rivals, performs significantly better than both the yellow and the orange. All three lines basically mirror one another. Even New York rappers he was cosigning and working with (G-Unit, Lloyd Banks, Styles P, DMX, Tony Yayo, M.O.P, Mobb Deep, Lil' Kim, LL Cool J etc) were losing relevance between 2004 and 2010. Ebro's claim that 50 Cent "destroyed" New York by not collaborating with locals is not based in fact, as he was collaborating closely with a lot of New York artists during this period, certainly more than Jay-Z or Nas, and oddly, they were actually performing slightly worse than his rivals.
From these charts I conclude 50 Cent did not kill New York hip-hop.
What if artists were just getting older and losing relevance due to their age?
This article, entitled "By The Numbers: Ageism In Hip-Hop Doesn't Exist", allows us to dismiss this possibility immediately.
What if there were simply less popular artists releasing music during this period?
During this period we received albums from Jay-Z, Wu-Tang, G-Unit, 50 Cent, N.O.R.E, Fabolous, Cam'Ron, C-N-N, Jadakiss, Diddy, Fat Joe, Raekwon, Joe Budden, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Ja Rule, Prodigy, Ghosftace, and numerous other top-tier artists. Below is a list of albums released per-year. NY hip-hop died around 2007, and 2009 was the most prolific year. It actually began to recover around 2011, despite there being less releases. This is not a measurable reason for the loss of relevance and cohesive sound New York experienced during 2007-2017.
Here is the average critical review score per year for every single album in the dataset. From a peak in 1992 and another in 1996, the score gradually declined, but not to the degree that would indicate there was a definitive answer. I ran a t-test on the data, and there was no statistically significant difference between average critical score of 1996-2004 and 2005-2017, and no strong linear relationship between year and critical score, hence a drop in quality can't be blamed for the death of New York hip-hop.
In 2017, Fif and Ebro are still at each other's necks over who killed NY hip-hop. 50 Cent claims that Ebro wasn't playing local artists enough on his radio show, and Ebro counters "actually, there were a lot of people who had hits during that time".
For a full breakdown of the method I used, the limitations, and an explanation of who and what is in the dataset, read this article.