What’s beef in hip-hop? I’m not sure anymore. I know what it used to be: hit me and I’ll hit you back.
Rappers have always had some kind of fighting spirit to them. This has been especially true for female rappers, who, historically, haven’t been scared of anyone, male or female. (In 1987, Roxanne Shante went after KRS-One, quite possibly the greatest battle rapper of all time, on “Have a Nice Day.”)
But times are a-changing. And as the line between pop music and hip-hop becomes even more crossed, submission has become a strategy. It’s one used by Iggy Azalea, the only rapper to have a number one record in the United States this year.
Iggy has spent the weekend beefing with Snoop Dogg. Well, this isn’t beef. The word “beef” insinuates two-way action. This has largely been Snoop sending shots and Iggy taking the high road.
In case you don’t have CNN: A couple of days ago, Snoop Dogg posted a now-deleted meme making fun of Iggy Azalea not wearing any makeup. Iggy took the slight to Twitter, and tweeted about how confused she was about the diss. Snoop kept on sending shots. Iggy’s boyfriend Nick Young, better known as Swaggy P, sent some harsh words of his own over. And Snoop Dogg just kept aggressively coming at Iggy, posting meme after meme, while posting videos where he calls her “cunt” and “bitch.”
(Edit note: Moments ago, Snoop apologized on Instagram. Iggy accepted the apology, officially ending the beef. We’re sure Swaggy P is happy.)
The issue between the two hasn’t interested me as much as the reaction to it all, which went from “It’s not that big of a deal, Iggy” to “whoa, Snoop is taking it too far. Leave Iggy alone!”
The Twitter-reaction has me wondering: “what do we want from our female rappers?”
Enter Azealia Banks. She tweeted this earlier today:
Where was the white media when T.I threatened to push me down the stairs though?
— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) October 15, 2014
I mean, she’s not wrong.
When Azealia and T.I. had their beef earlier this year, there was no sympathy for Azealia. Hell, people cheered on T.I., despite the fact that he threatened harm to Azealia. Now, some would argue that Azealia started that beef (when she dissed Tiny, T.I.’s wife) but does it matter anymore when it gets to the point when a man threatens to throw a black woman down stairs?
I say no. And I also say what T.I. said about Azealia is far worse than anything Snoop said (once you factor in the harm black women are put in daily).
Here’s the thing: Azealia has always kept it hip-hop. She’s always been a fighter. And she’s never been afraid to come at whomever, from Jim Jones to the Harlem Shake dudes to “light-skinned” Pharrell. However, over the last couple of years, we’ve done nothing but try to get her out of here.
While Iggy has done nothing but play nice, despite having the same amount of critics.
So what’s happening here? A part of it is racial. But the majority of female MCs throughout time have been black, and yet this is the first time I can remember a female MC being shunned basically for her mouth.
I think the bigger issue: Hip-hop is losing its teeth. Times are a-changing, and we’re playing with a new set of rules where mainstream pop culture sensibilities are expected, even from our rappers.
PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY