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Word up (abridged): The rap beef edition

November 26, 2009

Though it might seem like a tired concept, shots fired (in lyrical, not literal, form) are crucial to keeping hip-hop fresh. Ranging from tragic (i.e. Biggie “versus” Tupac) to comedic (Soulja Boy vs. Ice T), rap beef can be integral to the art form if it’s restricted to punch lines and dis tracks. Your favourite rapper has probably been mired in it at least once, if not multiple times, and some of hip-hop’s most scathingly sick moments have been recorded as a result of healthy competition.

The latest, most high profile, rap beef is between Jay-Z and one-time affiliate Beanie Sigel. It wouldn’t be wrong to be unfazed by this: Jigga’s had all varieties of beef, from McDonald’s chuck to certified Kobe (his greatest rivalry was arguably with Nas who pionereed the term “Ether” in reference to Jigga, and was the muse behind the ultra-dope “Takeover”). But many rap fans have matured alongside Jay and so the seemingly unnecessary, 50 Cent-endorsed (yup, what we have here is a grown man schoolyard fight) brouhaha caused by Beans just seems like we’re a babysitter keeping tabs while our insanely hot boyfriend is over. (Eye roll, gum snap).

Still if you, like me, feel the need to keep up on current affairs in hip-hop, Jay Smooth over at IllDoctrine has us covered with this quick primer on rap’s latest non-incident.

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