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Trigger Fingers Turn to Twitter Fingers: Hip-Hop Beef, the Twitterverse, and Free Promotion

Since its inception, hip-hop music has been a breeding ground for both necessary and unnecessary confrontation. From girls and clothes to rhymes and upbringing, the topics of the countless rap beefs over the years run the gamut.

By: Taylor Lawshé

Since its inception, hip-hop music has been a breeding ground for both necessary and unnecessary confrontation. From girls and clothes to rhymes and upbringing, the topics of the countless rap beefs over the years run the gamut.

In an eerily similar way, Twitter is also an atmosphere in which pointless arguments flourish. As the second most popular social media platform, it only makes sense that the two worlds would inevitably collide.

So without further ado, I present to you two of the most ridiculous Hip-Hop Twitter beefs in recent history:

1. Kanye West vs. Wiz Khalifa

Unless you’ve been living under an exceptionally heavy rock for the past 10 years or so, you’re probably familiar with the unfathomable vastness of Kanye West’s ego. He has never been the type to back down from any kind of confrontation, and Twitter beef is no exception.

Before his last album, The Life of Pablo, dropped in February, Kanye changed the name of the project three times. Why? Because he’s Kanye West and he’s absolutely insane. At one point, Kanye changed the name of his project from “SWISH” to “WAVES,” a name that Wiz Khalifa did not take kindly to because of his relationship with incarcerated rapper Max B. In a series of tweets, Khalifa said “Max B is the wavy one. He created the wave. There is no wave without him. Please don’t take the wave.” Kanye, being the egomaniac that he is, fired back by attacking Wiz’s music, the mother of his child (Amber Rose), and even his cell phone number. He also made mention of his status as “the best that’s ever made music.”

Despite how preposterous his behavior might be, there is (I think) something of a method to Kanye’s madness. With all of his emphatic and aggressive behavior, it’s impossible to ignore Mr. West. In the series of tweets directed at Wiz Khalifa, Kanye promoted his own music, Kim Kardashian’s exclusive emoji app, and his hobo-like clothing line. Say what you will about Kanye West’s endeavors, but the man knows how to build a buzz.

2. Meek Mill vs. Drake

Last, but certainly not least, is – you guessed it – Drake and Meek Mill, or “the Tweets heard ‘round the world” as I like to call it. My personal favorite part of this story is that it all began because Drake didn’t tweet his album.

I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Last year, Meek Mill tweeted a series of backhanded comments about the Toronto superstar, including a plea to “stop comparing drake to me…” and accusing Drake of not writing his own music. The ensuing back-and-forth disses between the two hip-hop giants caused a virtual explosion in the Twitterverse, which ultimately led to a rapid influx of scathing Meek Mill memes.

While Drake remained silent on Twitter, his music perpetuated the altercation. After dropping two consecutive diss tracks without a response, Drake put his pen to work and came back with “Charged up” and “Back to Back,” the latter of which was so well done that Meek actually deleted his response track after it flopped in comparison.

Almost unanimously, the internet agrees that Drake is coming out on top in this transgression – without ever Tweeting at Meek. At his annual OVO Fest, Drake performed his hit song “Back to Back” in front of a slideshow of Meek Mill memes, a move that generated even more of a buzz on Twitter. Aside from more hip-hop clout than ever, Drake managed to get literally millions of people to market his music and image for free to the point where he actually won a Grammy for a diss track. From both a rap and marketing standpoint, Drizzy is still on top.

In the past year, celebrities alike, not just rappers, have been engaging more and more in online arguments in a public forum, and Twitter is the stage on which they bicker. Whether it’s intentional or not, rappers beefing on Twitter usually steal the spotlight for at least a day or two. Although many people will dismiss Twitter beef as pointless, irritating, and obnoxious, there is an underlying factor that cannot be ignored: free promotion.

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