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Hip hop beef: then and now

Blog > Hip hop beef: then and now

Sep. 22, 2016


Modified: 06/14/19

If I said it once, I’ve said it a million times: the music industry is an ever changing organism.

From the way artists make music to the way the listener acquires music, this industry has fully transformed over the last decade. Feuds between artists, or “Beef,” as it were, are by no means immune to change.

Currently, The Game and Meek Mill are engaged in quite the heated exchange. Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed differences (and similarities) in how this so called beef has played out compared to the most classic beef of all time: Tupac v Biggie.

First of all, social media is involved.

Artists these days can throw shots back and forth instantly on Twitter all day and night to the point of exhaustion. Because the nature of social media is to involve the entire community, other artists and trolls alike become involved in the squabbling. Obviously the absence of social media in Biggie and Pac’s day left us without this instant bashing capability. I can only imagine how much faster their feud would have escalated with the addition of social media.

The internet has also given artists the ability to instantly distribute diss tracks.

The Game and Meek have already exchanged diss tracks a couple of times in recent weeks. In Biggie and Pac’s day, distributing music was a bit more difficult. In most cases, we would have to wait for a song from an official album release which could have taken months or even years. It would be manageable to possibly drop a diss track as a regional single with more speed, but it wouldn’t have reached near as many people as today’s internet allows. So artists, if you plan to beef these days, you better stay on your toes with some solid insults ready at the dime’s drop.

One similarity I have noticed is the East Coast v West Coast scenario that’s playing out again (The Game being from LA, and Meek hailing from Philly). What is it about the east/west geographical difference that seems to cause so many misunderstandings? The main difference I see within this similarity is that The Game and Meek aren’t representing their coast as part of the beef. Pac and Biggie garnered support from their respective regions by claiming East/West in their beef. In the battle between The Game and Meek, artists are taking sides with no regard to their hometown’s geography.

Hip hop IS competition.

Within a competition, heated moments between competitors are basically inevitable especially when you carry the ego of a celebrity rap artist. Thanks to the internet and social media, beef has most definitely become more intense than the days of Biggie v Pac. Honestly, I think the fans enjoy a good beef from time to time and it definitely keeps the industry exciting. Let’s just keep it clean and make sure everyone makes it out alive this time…