They don't make 'em like they used to, and the marketers love it.
"Miley, What's Good," was the battle cry of the visibly angry Nicki Minaj at this years VMA awards, turning the heat up on beef that was defrosting all week. Miley's audibly annoyed and mildly surprised response seemingly stopped the pot from boiling over, for now. Earlier that week, Miley called Nicki out in an interview in response to tweets that Nicki had posted alluding to her lack of VMA nominations as weight and race related.
This was just ONE of an absurd amount of beefs that occurred this summer.There was Nicki vs Taylor Swift:
Huh. They really seem to hate each other's guts here. It almost seems as if there was some sort of PLAN to get them on stage together, knowing that people WANT to see them throw nicely-manicured hands!
What about Drake and Meek Mill?
Stop comparing drake to me too.... He don't write his own raps! That's why he ain't tweet my album because we found out!
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) July 22, 2015
At least Drake held up the ancient tradition of the diss track, something that has had a bit of an absence in the 2015 Beef-A-Thon. Whether or not it was a GOOD diss track is entirely subjective.
Noticing a common thread between all of these 2015 "beefs"? They all take place on the wonderful world of the internet.
I am pretty sure Nicki Minaj and Poppa Wu were the only ones who confronted their opponents face to face.
Interestingly, in the All-You-Can-Eat Beef Promo that has lasted for the duration of Summer 2015, Straight Outta Compton dominated theaters, a film which includes one of the most infamous hip-hop beefs of all time.
The prominence of artists on social media has made calling each other out easier and quicker than ever. Instead of waiting to run into them publicly, you can just tweet at whoever pissed you off, from the other side of the world. You no longer have to release an album to make a diss track. Just upload it directly to SoundCloud a few minutes after the tweets were exchanged, if you decide to write one at all! Starting a hip-hop beef is easier, and more important, than ever before!
Beef was one of the driving themes of this year's VMAs. They hyped up the fact that Taylor and Nicki would be in THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER, as if they were going to come out dressed Mad Max: Fury Road style and destroy each other. Instead, they united on stage looking like ultra BFF's. I can only assume Nicki was later inducted into Taylor's cult of love and friendship. They used Taylor Swift AGAIN to further beef ratings, by having her present the Vanguard Award to her SUPER-ULTRA-MEGA-ARCH RIVAL KANYE WEST. At least Kanye called them out for it:
It's almost like beef is being used as a marketing tool. One might even go as far as to say beefs are being crafted and manipulated, because they generate buzz! Also worth noting is Taylor Swift's involvement in both of the VMA beefs. Interesting how the "saint-like" pop star is finding herself smack dab in the middle of beefs, involving popular hip-hop artists. Hip-Hop culture has been ripped-off enough. Can we at least leave the hip-hop beef alone? Her last single was "Bad Blood" featuring Kendrick Lamar for crying out loud. Personally, I really hope Kendrick is getting a sizable payout for involving himself on that track. Stop forcing Taylor on us, PLEASE.
As obnoxious as the current beef trend is, one must admit that it is a lot better than it could be. I do not think anyone wants to see another Biggie and 2Pac, and seeing your favorite artists go to jail on assault charges is kind of a bummer too. But the days in which a diss track was something that was looked forward to on an album seem to be behind us. Tensions between artists are simply entertainment now, rather than a legitimate, complicated feud. That being said, recent beefs have stirred up topics that SHOULD be addressed such as racism, and image expectations in the industry. Nicki has some great points in the tweets that have started her feuds, however, are tweets about a frivolous award show the appropriate platform? At what point is it activism and what point is it a poor marketing tactic? (Looking at you MTV.)
It will be interesting to see what beefs, if any, arise in the last half of 2015. Was the summer of beef really just a new way to get everyone's attention, or has the prominence of social media just made it easier for artists to pick fights with one another?