The 1990s saw some of the greatest “beefs” in music history. Just out of curiosity, were you #teambiggie or #teamtupac?
This was the rivalry and antagonist tension that pit the East Coast of this country against its West side. It was the kind of dueling that continued to make hip hop the most intriguing genre.
So whose side were you on? Biggie or Tupac’s?
More likely than not, my fellow Brooklynites will be much chagrined by the news of my respect and admiration for the West coaster. Personally, I always found Mr. Shakur, refreshingly honest and intuitive – qualities that one can argue may have cost him his life.
But that is a discussion for another time!
Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur both shared a love and passion for music, but that was not enough to quell any conflict or the escalation that usually followed. They wanted the same things – respect, “street cred”, and acknowledgment of their exceptional gifts. They were similar in many ways, but different in many others.
Tupac was the poet and the prophet; Biggie was the flashy Don intellect and well………big!
At the expense of these two gifted lyricists, one would actually look forward to getting a taste of the work that would be produced after a big blowout.
They did not have social media outlets to air out their grievances – they took pen to paper and just wrote their hearts out.
Unfortunately, while the futures of these two young men were cut short, they remain legendary in the world of song and word.
Compared to the rivalries that predate the 1990s, today’s “beefs” seem to lack the stimulation and engagement that galvanized young people in a unified movement. Much of the blame, could in fact, rest heavily on music’s descent, concerning quality and distinguished creativity.
As a twenty-something making my somewhat graceful ascent up the mountain of age and prosperity, I find myself, at times, echoing the sentiments of my mom, in relation to music.
“Music today”, “This generation’s music”, and “These kids today and their music”, are the sound bites that resonate with me and the residents of generations past.
There is just not much from today’s music that I can take away.
Besides a handful of artists that I admire and respect, I just cannot seem to be moved by music’s current offerings.
Many songs are filled with repetitious and uninspired lyrics and God forbid, someone actually sings a song without the manipulation of autotune.
I grow even more frustrated when these artists engage in obtuse battle of wits. These rivalries lack any real substance, as they only serve to generate petty and insignificant squabble on social media.
The “beefs” of yesteryear forced the griping musicians to grow in their artistry, delivering music and lyrics that advanced them closer to the top or in the case of Jay-Z vs. Nas – the crown for King of New York.
By the way, Jay-Z won that title. But Nas wasn’t far behind.
A little more than a week ago, Meek Mill started a “beef” (unprovoked) with fellow rapper, Drake. Drake who can be considered one of the best hip-hop artists, was subjected to Mill’s accusations that he used a ghostwriter to pen his songs.
He and Drake had been friends for years and even did music together. But perhaps, Drake not promoting their latest tune on Twitter gave Mill reason to make this weighty accusation with unsubstantiated proof.
It was silly and extreme.
And in the court of public opinion, Meek Mill’s career is DEAD, as confirmed with the release of Drake’s wickedly good “diss” tracks.
Drake revealed two diss tracks, but the second one “Back to Back”, supports our reasons for heralding the Canadian rapper as one of the best.
He touches on a few important observations concerning his rival.
Mill who is dating rapper Nicki Minaj has had to deal with snide remarks and accusations by fans of hip hop that he is only involved with her to bump his status.
And Drake does not waste a beat in driving that point home.
In Back to Back:
Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour
I know that you gotta be a thug for her
This ain’t what she meant when she told you to open up more
Yeah, trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers
You getting bodied by a singing nigga
I’m not the type of nigga that’ll type to niggas
Shout out to all my boss bitches wife-in niggas
Nicki Minaj has done the right thing (for once) in staying out of this dustup. She does not want to come between her boyfriend and her bestie. But maybe, just this time, she would consider rescuing her man, whose career is being cut down inch by inch by her Young Money comrade.
Hip hop may have seen the most exciting rivalries, but there is a plethora of “beefs” that we have had the unfortunate task of witnessing as music fans.
The Kid Rock vs. Tommy Lee Jones’ beef centered around the love of both of their lives: Pamela Anderson
Elton John and Madonna, still fighting for the biggest B#t@h Award.
And Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry – well, I’m still not sure what it’s all about or why we should care.
In the past, rivalries between artists use to bring out the greatest competitive natures and musical product enveloped in purposeful music and outstanding lyrics. It used to arouse more creativity and originality among artists who cared deeply about their reputations.
Unfortunately, things today are much different. The beefs lack quality and only serve to waste everyone’s time.
My hope is that whatever issues these artists have with one another, they can be solved away from the purview of the public.
They should be mindful of their “trigger fingers turning into Twitter fingers”!
Is there a place for “beef” in the industry if great music is not produced from it?
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