Kendrick’s declaration of war rolled onto the internet masked as a new Big Sean single, it was the Trojan horse arriving into the city of Troy with his peers and the music industry the unsuspecting Greeks, except it was meant to be the beginning and not the end.
There was an electricity in the air that night, an excitement that something big was about to unfold, rivalry and competition was alive. He made it about rapping, the war would be fought with words, for fans of the art form this is what made anticipating the responses fun, and there was only one way to respond, in verse. Well, Drake completely took it out of context by taking it too personal, but there was still an eagerness to see what would happen next.
The anticipation of titan’s clashing took me back to 2010, when Joe Budden challenged Fabolous to get on a record with him and Lloyd Banks. It was done through Twitter, spawning the trending topic #FabScaredLike, it created a pressure that even Fab admitted jokingly meant he had to deliver the verse of his career or face timeline scrutiny.
I was hoping that the same spirit of competition would possess Meek once Drake went to the studio and not to his smartphone. It was a surprise, the same person that dismissed Kendrick was ready to entertain a fellow rapper with bars. Beef isn’t the word I would use to describe their altercation but once it was music and not tweets that the public was facing, music is the only way for this battle to conclude. Battle isn’t even the best word, it was more like returning to the halls of high school where the whispers of gossip speak the loudest and losing a fight will follow you until graduation. I wanted to see a good fight, the fans wanted to see the two really go back and forth, but after metaphorically stuffing Meek into a locker with “Back To Back” and not getting an adequate response it slowly became less and less amusing. Especially once the memes and Norm Kelly wore out their welcome. I’ve always wondered why Meek didn’t just go to Drake directly about his issues, exposing him brought a writer and reference tracks to light but sent Meek plunging into the darkness.
With each new public feud and disagreement it begins to feel more and more melodramatic. Especially when the word "beef" is used. As of late, the entertainers aren’t that entertaining. There’s always been drama in rap, you should expect drama whenever the famous are fighting for fame with other famous people, but being able to witness their disgruntled interactions is becoming more of a bore than a game of pong in 2015. Meek and Drake, Meek and Wale, Metro and Thug, Tyler and Hodgy, Lupe versus the world, with each passing day a new celebrity allows their fingers to say too much and it becomes the talk of the town. Which is baffling to me, I understand the attraction of drama but it barely becomes anything worth noting after an hour so. Especially when what is said in public could easily be handled in private. It’s like having this open forum has ruined the idea of settling anything outside of the public’s view. 50 Cent going at Vivica Fox for what she said about his sexuality was justified, he has the right to defend his name, but then you think about what the name 50 Cent means, who this man used to be, going against 50 was facing the war machine. It’s crazy to think the man that made “Backdown” is cracking jokes on Instagram.
Future and Mass Appeal put out a :30 second video clip that looks like an interview, Future is asked about WATTBA and his response is simply, “It didn’t happen.” Of course this threw the internet into one of those frenzies where we attempt to decipher the cryptic statement.
Honestly, it’s the perfect example of how rap artists are becoming overly dramatic. He and Drake have spent the last few weeks being buddies, Future even gave him a ring, but now this mysterious statement is supposed to make us believe otherwise? The allure is gone. After spending weeks speculating if him and Drake would be releasing a mixtape at all, even entertaining any more rumors about the two is migraine inducing. Celebrity culture still has a large influence on what is considered news because people care, but the celebrities of today just aren’t that interesting. I'd rather have rappers in the booth than updating their Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat. The music gets me excited but everything else is just noise.
The more drama that comes to light the more I'm reminded how much I enjoy it when rappers actually rap instead of bickering. That’s something I respect immensely about Kendrick, if he must react, it’s going to be through the craft. Drake’s comments about “Control” are what brought him to the B.E.T Cypher with a mission.
This year has felt like those that truly wanted to be acknowledged as competitors for the throne wanted to prove it by releasing material that could sit at the top of any tier. Since December, when J. Cole surprised us with his most superb album yet, many have followed in those very footsteps. This was not the year to slack, with bombs dropping week after week to supply the public with a dud would be mean being quickly forgotten. The first quarter started off hot and continued to heat up well into the summer, it was a beautiful time to be a fan of rap. The biggest difference between the years beginning and the years end is how quickly the fire died down, incredible releases are still appearing week after week but the rush is far from equivalent. The exciting day to day has been replaced by waiting for something exciting to happen. With all this silence it allows the pettiness to be maximized.
Hopefully, once this year is finished we get back to how things were before, when the music was loud enough to drown out everything else.