The concept of how beef plays out in Hip-Hop has drastically changed over the past half-decade or so with the advent of social media. Instead of feuding over wax (or MP3) with a clever song, artists are wasting no time letting go of a chamber of vitriol over Twitter.
And for us Hip-Hop heads that love our beef to consist of 16 to 32 bar verses over a knocking beat, this kind of sucks.
Take, for instance, last week’s bizarre war of words between Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa. Over the course of a few days, Kanye changed the title of his album, only to be met with criticism by Wiz, which then led to Kanye rifling off a series of tweets that lambasted the Pittsburgh rapper and took aim at both his son and the child’s mother, Mr. West’s ex-girlfriend Amber Rose.
“Twitter has replaced the booth in terms of where an artist can creatively dismantle his opponent.”
Rose responded by using the always embarrassing technique of suggesting a rapper might be gay and that was pretty much that. It wasn’t a “No Vaseline” moment or “The B*tch In Yoo.” No, this was a pair of rappers who spewed whatever came to their mind at the time on Twitter.
Maybe Wiz didn’t really think that much about Mr. West hijacking Max B’s influence of being wavy. But when you have a smartphone and no filter, you’ll say what you want, when you want and deal with the consequences later. And we all know what happens when Kanye gets rolling. His tirade was top shelf Kanye at both his best and worse. His ego was on full display, for better or worse, as he sometimes sounded like a groundbreaking artist/producer demanding his respect while at other times he sounded like a scorned high school kid who isn’t built for verbal jousting.
Suffice to say, it was a mess.
It won’t go down in memory as a feud we’ll care to remember. But that has become the extent of beef for the most part since Twitter has replaced the booth in terms of where an artist can creatively dismantle his opponent. Feuds seem to happen at random and are very short lived. Remember when Jay Rock got at Wale for suggesting that Kendrick Lamar was avoiding his calls? Yeah, that’s old news already. Or how about Talib Kweli and Iggy Azealea’s rift? That was barely even a week ago and it’s already forgotten.
Obviously, not all beef needs a soundtrack. But it sure is more fun when artists do the artist thing and take a creative stab at one another over a beat. As long as that stab doesn’t become literal, it’s all good. But these days everything is so damn emotional as rappers spew word vomit all over social media and forget that it’s something that will be screengrabbed and projected to the masses.
“Battle rapping is one of the foundations that Hip-Hop was built upon. Twitter feuding is not.”
Rappers don’t like each other all the time, but when you have access to say whatever you want to whoever you want, silly things like Wiz vs. Kanye are bound to happen. And, in the end, everyone ends up feeling stupid about the entire ordeal. Kanye knew better than to take shots at a man’s kids because he certainly wouldn’t want anybody to do that to him. He apologized in the Kanye way and kept it moving. Will Wiz accept his apology or drop some heated diss track?
Who knows? He has.
That’s what makes Drake so interesting. When Meek Mill decided that social media was the place to air out his grievances, Drake opted to drop a diss track that has been nominated for a Grammy. To have the patience to hold back whatever it is that you might say on social media and write a song about it takes a lot of calculation. But the satisfaction of creating something long lasting that people can play over and over again is far more rewarding.
I think we can all agree that Twitter beef is one of the lamest things ever. Things often get taken out of context and everyone ends up saying something they regret. And by regret, I mean delete. It’s far too emotional and not something that everyone needs to see online. The stories that are written about these beefs are often sensationalized and are often rooted in speculation. But a diss track takes a lot more time to concoct. If you say something that you feel you may regret later, just delete it in the studio and before the masses get a hold of it. Battle rapping is one of the foundations that Hip-Hop was built upon. Twitter feuding is not.
Not all discrepancies between individuals need to be aired out publicly. But when they are, let’s skip the social media route and stick to dissing each other over a beat, shall we?