Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Nas v. Jay, Benzino v. Eminem, Biggie v. Tupac, Eazy E v. Cube, Nelly v. KRS One, Lil Romeo v. Bow Wow (Okay, maybe just in my heart.) The Game v. G-Unit, Nicki Minaj v. Lil Kim, and the entire West Coast v. East Coast. These are all of the rap beefs that I can recall from my 22 years of listening to hip hop. Most of these beefs were pre-social media, or those partaking in said beef, are not active on social media. But now we have Drake v. Meek Mill.
Some of the most acclaimed rap songs have resulted from rap beef. Although many of these songs were too raw cutthroat to ever see radio play they are remembered and still talked about today. The art of rap is rooted in so-called “beef.” If you ever took playing the dozens, or what we called “rawing,” “firing someone up,” or the classic “witch yo ole…,” seriously. Although usually taken as playful banter pack and forth, we have all seen what happens when that line get’s crossed. You can talk about anybody’s mamma all day until it’s true. It’s that fire, wit, and quick thinking that created the authentic form of rap. Beef re-sparks that energy. So when Meek Mill took to Twitter that night, we just knew he was going to bring another Dreams and Nightmares, but only, you know, nightmares for Drake. But he didn’t. In fact, while writing this, I forgot he even actually put out a song at all. (Hol’ up, let me go post on FB and see if anybody else remembers that song. Oh wait, because he took it down you know after Black Twitter attacked!) So while we know Meek is still festering, and he going to drop a diss track when we least expect it. We won't care anymore. We are not patient. Hell, we almost fired up Drake for waiting four days. But, well, he made up for it by giving us a radio hit, club banger, and my workout warm-up song. (Right lunge, left lunge, going back to back..) Meek in fact has shown all of the classic signs of what not to do when beefing in the age of social media. While Drake, on the other hand, played the game perfectly. ( …almost too perfectly, but we won’t get into conspiracy theories) So, using Drake and Meek as a prime example, let’s set a few guidelines for rappers and young social media scrapers alike.
Social Media Beef 101:
Check your fan base. Never initiate the beef if you are the underdog. If you have the larger fan base and you initiate social media beef, you petty.
Pack Proof The larger fan base will always win, and your fan base will want proof to defend you.
Let Black Twitter handle It If you have the larger fan base, do nothing. Let the people speak, they got yo back like chiroprac. Take this time to form a response letting your fans know you have their back as much as they have yours.
Finally, Give the people what they want A response to shut everything down. Let the people know you saw the attack with an intro diss record. Then give them another diss record that doubles as a hit record, and ends everything.
Optional: If you have some event, concert, performance, or your very own festival coming up shortly after the beef, stage a mortal kombat fatality performance from you AND all of your fans.
When in doubt, be the “bigger person” you fans will support that no matter what. The good thing about the age of social media is that our attention span doesn’t last long. Wait it out, for the next trending topic to take our focus… Trump said what?