Are Drake and Jay Z Subbing for a Beef-Free Hip Hop?

Before the Biggie and Tupac tragedies, the only potentially dangerous Hip Hop “beef” took place when Redman, in a show of youth and impudence, clownishly dissed MC Hammer’s mom on a skit from his debut Whut? Thee Album.

As a mature Redman himself will tell you, it was a stupid thing to do.

And Hammer didn’t let that shit slide, either.

Before that, Hip Hop beefs had been more cheeky.

With the exception of Boogie Down Production’s incendiary premier single – which also might be credited as the first direct diss song – “South Bronx”, real names were rarely used and most of the insults were leveled through subliminals.

This type diss song is perhaps best exemplified by LL Cool J’s hilarious “To Da Break of Dawn”, a song on which he took comical shots at Kool Moe D, MC Hammer and Ice-T.

I’m intentionally not counting that bullshit that happened between Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest and Wreckx-n-Effect because that was just result of those clowns from Wreckx deliberately misinterpreting one line from a song – a line from Phife, btw – and, probably liquored up and with girls watching, had the numbers and acted like dicks.

However, since Biggie and Pac, Hip Hop beef has taken on a ugly, darker perspective that you would have thought that the murders and Biggie and Pac would have mitigated.

While sometimes, they are still for sport, like, of course Kendrick Lamar’s earth trajectory-altering verse on Big Sean’s “Control”, nowadays, violence is more readily hinted at, threatened and implied.

Who can forget the war with words between Jeezy and Gucci that resulted in the loss of a life?

So maybe it’s the political climate that’s actually to thank for what seems like contrition coming from Hip Hop’s two biggest stars ever.

First there was Drake at the squashing whatever “beef” there’d been between himself and Ludacris in what is now his famed Billboard Music Award acceptance speech,

then there was Jay Z, fresh off the heels of becoming the first Hip Hop artist in history to be inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, tweeting his thanks to a series of people more famous for having had beef with the Jiggaman.

When you’ve been at it for as long as Jay has, it’s only natural that some beef would arise.

But it was nearly shocking to seem the names of his former mentor, Jaz-O, with whom’s Jay’s fallout was legendary, 50 Cent, who’s never been a friend, Mobb – which one can only assume is Mobb Deep – again, not simpatico, Chuck D who reported hates him, and LL Cool J, who hates him more than Chuck does.

One can only guess at the effect of seeing your name mentioned among inspirations by a man that you despise.

Gotta soften the animosity a little, you think?

Almost like being dissed by Pac – which Jay Z also was – must have had the effect of letting a rapper know that they were at least of some relevance because at the end, Tupac dissed everybody relevant.

Still, Hip Hop unity would be a beautiful thing.

It could be the impetus for some – dare I say – Black unity.

Not to say that diss songs would or should die entirely.

But I’d love to see them returned to being sport, that’s all.


About the Author

Dickie Bhee is a self-styled lunatic, a Renaissance showman, a Class A, Grade A buffoon, a nigga that believes in the greatness of Niggerhood a social gadfly and a genuine Man About Town. Also:

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