Things just ain’t the same for the Hip Hop dis track. There was a time when Hip Hop history exposed us to some of the greatest dis songs, beefs and battles of all time. MC Shan vs. KRS One. Common vs. Ice Cube. Jay Z vs. Nas. Even Kendrick’s infamous “Control” verse from last year temporarily breathed new life into the idea of the dis track. But recent history hasn’t been so good to fans of a great battle. The latest dust up between Jay Z and Drake, starting with Drizzy’s Rolling Stone interview, then with Hova’s response on Jay Electronica’s “We Made It” and Drake’s semi-rebuttal on “Draft Day” is Grade A proof that the dis song in Hip Hop isn’t as strong, as sought after or as relevant as it once was. Here are a few reasons why.
OVERABUNDANCE OF RAP BEEF – For one thing, there are way too many rappers. And that means there are way too many rappers that are mad at each other for whatever reason. 21st Century Rap Beef seems way too watered down and weakened, which makes for weaker dis tracks.
LACK OF CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE – Time was, the Hip Hop dis song was an event, from “The Bridge Is Over” to “Hit ‘Em Up”. Now they’re almost afterthoughts. Remember Common’s “Sweet” and Drake’s response verse on French Montana’s “Stay Schemin’”? Having a hard time with those, aren’t you?
TOO MANY SUBLIMINAL/INDIRECT SHOTS – Drake, on both “Stay Schemin’” and “Draft Day”, always seems careful not to mention artists by name. There use to be more in your face, take no prisoners disses in Hip Hop. Not to say that there aren’t the direct disses out there anymore, but there’s still too much “under the cover of darkness” dissing.
THE “BEEF” BUSINESS MODEL – Remember those “Beef” DVDs from the early 2000s? They did a good job of making Hip Hop beef into a promotional tool for artists, almost to the level of mix tapes. Sadly, they also contributed to decreased attention for Hip Hop dis tracks from fans and less need for emcees to actually make them.
SHORT ATTENTION SPANS – Right there in line with the current state of music being disposable. With the rapid fire speed in which music is released to fans, there’s less and less time to savor, decipher and ponder the sting of a dis track like there use to be.
HYPERSENSITIVITY – Just about anyone or anything can get got these days when it comes to Hip Hop. Just look at Wale. From major music publications to fans at WWE events, no one is seems safe from his wrath. A dis track against another rapper might be the furthest thing from his mind.
WHAT WAS ONCE OFF LIMITS NO LONGER IS – Some might argue that this has actually always been the case and there’s never been honor amongst thieves, but any subject is up for grabs now: family, crew, and baby mama drama included. Nothing is off the table.
DISPOSABILITY – Let’s be honest: We as Hip Hop fans have become extremely spoiled. We listen to digital music and then toss it in our MacBook’s trash bin once we’re done. With the music being as disposable as it is, our interest in a good old-fashioned Hip Hop battle has waned.
RAPPER RANTS – Social media platforms require a little less creativity and cleverness in terms of disses, so if you can’t rant about a rival rapper on Twitter, there’s less of a point in creating a punishing dis song.
THE SUCCESS OF BATTLE RAP LEAGUES – When fans can go and see some of the most talented battle rappers in the world go at each other in almost prize fight-level events through leagues like Grind Time Now and UW, why wait for a new dis track from your favorite rapper to drop?Google+