Beef in Hip Hop isn’t like it was back in the 90s. Beef saw a war between the East and West Coast that ultimately led to the death of both Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. Since then Hip Hop hasn’t had a rivalry as iconic as the two legends’, but the essence of beef resides in their students and is transformed into an action meant to improve one another. This is exemplified through J. Cole and Wale.
Story | Nico Blitz
The beginning of this so called ‘beef’ for the millennial age of Hip Hop started with Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse, where he called out Big Sean, Drake, Meek Mill, Wale, and J. Cole to name a few. The verse raise the steaks for the rap game’s finest to throw shots at each other – Drake vs. Meek Mill, for example – with the most recent wave staring from J. Cole’s “False Prophets” music video.
Initial speculations believed the Carolina rappers’ lyrics were directed toward Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Wale, who each played an early role to Cole’s current Hip Hop stardom.
His early music producing influence came from West’s early projects like College Dropout and Late Registration. He became the first signee to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, where ‘a star was born’ on the Blueprint 3. He toured with his Maybach Music Group colleague Wale during Mr. Carter’s Fall Tour 2009. So given his history with these three icons of the game, does it make the ‘beef’ legit?
Hip Hop today is very bland. Overall it lacks storytellers and personal truths and opinions. J. Cole, being very close to Kanye West, Jay-Z and Wale, is entitled to his opinion since each of them have gone through an evolution since the beginning of their careers.
The most prime example amongst the three is Kanye West. The ‘Old Kanye vs. New Kanye’ debate still goes on in the world, and it’s clear that J. Cole prefers the ‘Old Kanye’ as well:
“He’s fallin’ apart but we deny it, justifying that half-ass shit he dropped, we always buy it, when he tell us he a genius but it’s clearer lately, it’s been hard for him to look in the mirror lately”
To put it into perspective, it’s like telling your best friend that they’ve changed. It’s not ‘beef’, but rather it’s simply being real with them. Therefore, it’s natural for rappers to want to reveal their perspective on the situation since the Hip Hop community is thinking about the same thing.
Wale just released a diss track to the Dreamvillian entitled “Groundhog Day (J. Cole Response)” and a video of the two at a North Carolina basketball game:
“See you at the game, Bro” pic.twitter.com/jgzxQ85uA5
— Wale (@Wale) December 3, 2016
It goes to show that beef isn’t like what it was in the past. Today’s ‘beef’ isn’t based on power, but rather it’s another story between two peers. Especially in today’s world where we must unify for a greater cause, it’s humanly to want to discuss what we see in each other for the sake of improving and empowering one another.