“_____________ ain’t what it used to be,” is an oft-heard phrase uttered round the rap fan senior circuit, arguably applicable to any number of things (rhymes, beats, blue jeans). But rap beef?!? Isn’t rap beef supposed to be creative recession-proof? How could rapper folks trading barbs with zeal over real or even imagined slights not be anything less than exciting/interesting/intriguing, and at the very least produce a few inspired diss verses? Sadly, an unprecedented spate of uninspired rapper beef suggests that it ain’t just the butcher shop that’s shut down. An entire meat industry (pause) is in jeopardy. The Year of the Mayan Apocalypse surely hasn’t helped in the urgency dept. With all the half-cooked beef going around, it’s more likely rap civilization ends due to salmonella than Armageddon. Just how bad has it been? Peep our rundown of a once proud-tradition-gone-astray:The Lamest Rap Beefs In Recent Memory…
CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO START THE BEEFIN.
Common vs. Drake (Late 2011)
The first Face-Off for Light-Skindedness Supremacy involved the Com and Drizzy. Truth be told, no one feared any lives would be lost upon hearing of an epic showdown between emotive, sensitive, civilized metrosexual men over the right to call Serena Williams their Apple Bottom boo. One did, however, suspect that the whole thing might end in a competitive sweater shop-a-thon at Barney’s posted to WSHH. But that didn’t happen (that we know of). What did happen was a few semi-/sorta-interesting disses on songs going back and forth. Things then just sorta whimpered out gradually (perhaps when Common realized he looked kinda silly for instigating the whole thing). While we have no actual proof (the closest thing being this), we’re pretty sure these two hugged it out when their beef was finally squashed.
(Ultimately this unsatisfying game of chicken over a bird was for the birds.)
Havoc vs. Prodigy (April 2012)
While this Twitter beef was (mercifully, almost magically) deaded not long after it started, it was still demoralizing as all hell (on earth) to see the Official Queensbridge Murderers go from rappin’ about the streets to beefin’ over tweets. Some of us even pondered: would N.W.A have gone out with such an infamous thud?
(Still something fishy about how this whole thing went down.)
Pete Rock vs. Lupe Fiasco (May 2012)
The main ingredient of this disagreement was respect or the lack thereof. On paper anyway, Lupe Fiasco’s “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” was the sort of topical track that people who lament the demise of thoughtful rap might wanna hear more of. Too bad Lupe chose to remake a song many considered one of the few untouchables in rap’s canon – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).” The Chocolate Boy Wonder did not take kindly to the remake – understandable given the personal nature of the OG. (Less understandable, though, given the fact that plenty of other remakes of “T.R.O.Y.” exist). Then the producer of “Around My Way” weighed in – this around the time folks who take all this way too seriously were ready to put a bounty on poor dude’s head. And just when it all seemed over and done with, it wasn’t. Finally, Pete put a lid on the whole stew. In the end, the whole mess left nobody laughing all night about the hookers at the party, so to speak. And now we all reminisce over when this song had no negative associations.
(A bad taste left all-around.)
Lil Wayne vs. Pusha T (May 2012)
Long story short, Wayne got mad over a song by Pusha T that wasn’t even about him. (Or so say various rap blogs; we honestly, didn’t care enough to keep full tabs on the story.) This altercation sorta fizzled out quickly after Weezy basically bodied himself with his response record, and then basically admitted he overreacted – making it perhaps the first ever rap “beef” to go from “Fuck so-and-so (and anybody that love ‘em)” to “My bad” within a matter of weeks.
(Laughing Cow cheese all day in your mouth.)
Nicki Minaj vs. Hot 97 (June 2012)
When Hot 97 radio personality Peter Rosenberg dissed Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” as not being real hip-hop at this year’s Summer Jam concert, Lil Wayne responded by pulling the Young Money bird off the bill before performing, leaving fans and the radio staff disappointed. Flex and Nicki then got into it on the air in a time-wasting circle jerk with no happy ending.
(Egg on e’rybody’s face. Yoke’s on you too if you were at all invested.)
Canibus vs. Himself (June 2012)
Who knew back in 1998 when Canibus let off “Second Round K.O.” at LL Cool J that the boxing metaphor would eventually correlate to this dude’s entire rap career? Having had his shot at the title against an all-time great, Bis went from contender to a gatekeeper of the underground, who made weird answer records to Eminem songs, took shots at guys like J. Cole who once bigged him up, and then publicly apologized for said shots via creepy videotaped quasi-performance art. Like so many boxers no longer in their prime who keep fighting just for a paycheck, a lyrically-out-of-shape Canibus was lured into a PPV battle with disastrous results, first forfeiting then continuing on with the help of a notepad. Adding insult to actual injury (Bis had allegedly been jumped days before), was the added mockery in the guise of an anonymously-penned (and equally outrageous) fake Tumblr apology, which sadly enough, was mistaken by many as being authentic. Lost on some was the painful, twisted humor of it all: that people actually believed that Bis had used the excuse of being chased by “a helicopter attached with a satellite device that promotes fear” and been trapped in a “parallel universe” the night before the battle because it wasn’t too far off from what people might actually expect him to say.
(As in, “Yo soy Canibus. Yo soy loco.”)
Drake vs. Chris Brown (June 2012)
Face-Off for Light-Skindedness Supremacy, Part 2: There was trouble in Paradise last week when Drake and Chris Clown were in a NYC club poppin’ bottles… on each other. Or something like that. They may or may not have been fighting over the nudity-loving Rihanna. And Meek Mill may or may not have been the one who started it. What is certain is that this ain’t no real rap beef and if there was ever a time two artists would break up (bottles) just to make up, this is it.
(Probably the healthiest option in the long run. But pretty much the worst shit ever.)