Guest Post from Words of the Intelligent Ignorant
By Renard Michael Mayfield
Hip Hop got a shot in the arm from an art-form of “the battle rap” and diss record yesterday (Saturday 02/25/2017). Remy Ma sent out a tweet of her with a link to a SoundCloud track with excellent artwork of her diss track ShETHER that is aimed at Nicki Minaj. Before I go into just talking about that one, the art of the diss goes all the way back to Busy Bee and Kool Moe Dee. Many remember the long standing battle between Kool Moe Dee and LL Cool J. While some felt LL won with Jack The Ripper, he did “Knock” out Kool Moe Dee with Momma Said Knock you out. We can never forget Ice Cube ripping NWA along with Jerry Heller on No Vaseline (on Death Certificate).
One of my favorite battles/beefs features the South Side of Chicago’s own Lonnie Rashid Lynn, better known as, Common, and the West Coast Royalty, Ice Cube. After taking a line in “I Used To Lover H.E.R.” a little too personally, Cube’s Wack 10 MC (or a .22 to quote the record), released Westside Slaughterhouse. Common’s “The Bitch in Yoo” was the response, and he let the world know his bars are ready and even performed the joint in the House Of Blues in LA. To talk about diss records, I can’t leave out Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” which could only be purchased as a B-Side (vinyl) or bonus track on CD, when you bought a copy of “How Do You Want It”. The battle between Nas & Jay-Z felt like it came out of no-where, but you knew it was real when you heard Jay-Z’s “TAKEOVER” and the line “You made it a hot line/I made it a hot song and challenge his sales and credibility of Nas’ catalogue. Nas didn’t just sit back, he answered with ETHER.
Many knew he couldn’t end Jay, but felt the battle was won by Nas with that track. The beef was over when Jay brought Nas out on stage and announced he had signed him to Def Jam (with agreement with Columbia Records obviously). Back in the day, diss records took a long time to come out because they were actual album cuts or release only as white label vinyl for DJ’s as promos only. In recent years, the battle game is a lot quicker. Twitter and Instagram beef is sped up by the internet. We got a taste of that on “Stay Schemin” in the beef between Common and Drake. The back and forth via the internet and videos and concert clips was played out via Drake and Meek Mill and fans got to benefit from it. Our entertainment made our thumbs tired as we clicked through on our phones as we wanted to know more.
Now back to Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj. As hip hop fans know, Minaj came to prominence during a time that Remy was behind bars (and one can only imagine the bars she wrote, and hell even spit in battles). When Gucci Mane released “Make Love” feat. Nicki Minaj, the words, “Oh you the qu-e-e-the queen of this here? One Platinum Plaque, album flopped, b*tch, where?” there was wonder into who that was about. There was an alleged response on PHreshers “Wait a Minute,” but Remy Ma wasn’t finished.
I must say, I woke up from a nap seeing the hashtag #ShETHER everywhere and what had Remy Ma really said. A quick Google search sent me to Remy Ma’s official twitter account and seeing she had a track ready for us with a link to her SoundCloud. I wanted to click on that link instead of borrowed tracks from DJ’s and other options like YouTube. When I did click on it, I kept playing it over and over. I was already loving the title ShETHER and using the play on words referencing the closing record’s title “Ether” from the infamous back and forth between Jay-Z and Nas.
There has been debate over is this the best diss by some. I don’t personally think so, but the best part is that we get to listen to it all. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud, MixCloud, YouTube and many other online options, the release is quick. I have also seen Apple Music talking about come listen to the track there, so don’t think Remy isn’t going to get a few dollars from this too. Now the real question is when is Nicki Minaj going to clap back. We don’t want to wait. Oh, and we do see all of the jokes and memes of people suggesting that Nicki Minaj is just waiting for Drake and Lil Wayne to email it to her. That is a whole different debate.
All of this being said, there is no other genre of music were the battle and beef can manifest itself into actual music and we get to experience the creativity. We are fans and we want more.