It’s interesting—and somewhat sad—that this decade’s only two meaningful rap beefs have involved attempts to sink the same floating dead body.
It started in 2015, when everyone’s favorite manila-folder-complected, suburban Torontonian, Drake, traded “bars” with the somewhat less-meaningful Philly maestro of shout raps, Meek Mill. Though Meek exposed Drizzy for employing ghostwriters—a damning accusation in the world of real hip-hop—Drake’s legions of postpubescent female fans didn’t seem to care that he’s a bona fide goddamn fraud.
A year later, homie Robert Rihmeek Williams somehow managed to haplessly trip into another beef with the Game, dusty Philly street rapper Beanie Sigel and useless dancehall queen Sean Kingston in a cavalcade of messiness that sounds as if it was cooked up in a game of Cards Against Humanity.
If Drake’s response tracks (one of which was nominated for a Grammy) were physical entities, they’d evaporate upon touching water. But Game curb-stomped Meek so bad that Nicki Minaj is probably having earnest conversations with her mama about how to proceed in this life. All of Meek’s responses have been trash-bag, and his loss in both battles is uncontested by anyone who didn’t carry him in utero.
But at least bars (or things resembling them) were exchanged—a significant occurrence in an age when they seem to matter progressively less.
I’d hate for the younger generation to look at today’s rap “beef” and think that’s what it was always like. Grabbing a notepad and stepping in the studio with bellicose bars of fury has been replaced with bitching via 140 characters on Twitter, which is the rap-beef equivalent of showing your support for a tragedy with a flag filter.
Many of you weren’t yet drawing breath when rap beef became a significant part of hip-hop. There have been many throughout the past three-and-a-half decades or