“Worst Enemies Want to be my best friend. Best friends want to be enemies like that’s whats in!” - Nas, Success
So, I’m watching NBA All-Star weekend, and as always, they look for a storyline to follow. This year had one of the best angles I’ve seen: The reunion of Kobe, Shaq, and Phil Jackson. The last time all 3 were together was June 2004 when they lost in the Finals to the Pistons. The tension between all parties in this saga ranges from Kobe snitching on Shaq, to the infamous Shaq diss freestyle, to Phil Jackson leaving and returning to the Lakers. All the interviews Kobe n Shaq conducted seemed as if all was well. It seemed at times like I was watching All My Children more than NBA BASKETBALL! Cordiality, camaraderie, and nothing but praise on both ends, even culminating with them winning co-mvp of the All-Star game (Very WWE). Its hard for me to think that after all the issues they completely buried the hatchet and all is well. Maybe some, but there HAS to be some lingering feelings right? Well I examined some other high profile feuds that ended in either a truce or mutual understanding and found common denominators in these “beef reconciliations”.
Time Heals All Wounds
KRS-ONE(Boogie Down Productions) vs Mc Shan/Marley Marl/Mr. Magic (Juice Crew)
This beef was the foundation for all hip hops beef that followed. This stemmed from disrespect felt from BDP over Mr. Magic (of the Juice Crew) dissing a record that KRS-ONE and BDP submitted for radio play. Thereafter, MC Shan released “QueensBridge” where BDP took offense to the interpretation taken from the song that “Hip Hop started in the Q-Boro‘. This led to years of diss songs and battles from 1986-1990. The beef eventually fizzled out, with all hip hops heads recognizing it as a classic confrontation. MC Shan and KRS later squashed the beef in 2007, releasing the Hip-Hop Lives collaborative album. I guess after all those years and documentaries clarifying their positions, they came to the conclusion that “We getting too old for this shit”© Danny Glover: Lethal Weapon, and squashed the beef.
Ludacris vs T.I.
This was one of those unspoken beefs where everyone knew tension existed, but let the artists dictate the pace. As they continued to battle over the “King of the South” title, this beef became evident on Young Buck’s Stomp remix. T.I. recorded a verse dissing Luda which was replaced. Luda heard it and dropped his version dissing T.I. he beef originally started when T.I. saw Disturbing Tha Peace rapper I-20‘s video. In the video, a guy was wearing a shirt with the words “Trap House.” The guy was getting beat up and stomped in the video. T.I. thought it said “Trap Muzik.”(never knew that part. Check the Beef III Wiki page). All through the beef you always heard them say it wasn’t anything personal it was more of a rivalry/ 1-upsmanship, but when that incident with T.I. and Luda’s dude Zulu occurred, I thought it was getting more heated (until T.I. later apologized). They’ve officially deaded the beef and both have features on each other’s latest album. I guess when beef is brewed out of competitive fire it’s easier to let bygones be bygones.
Ceasefire/Time Limit Draw
50 Cent (G-Unit) vs. Jadakiss (and the Lox)
This beef resulted from Kiss dropping a verse on Ja Rule’s 100000000 comeback attempt track “I’m From New York”. 50 already proclaimed that anyone doing a track with his mortal enemy would be considered enemies as well. Jada and the Lox been in the game too long where their not going to let anyone dictate with whom they can perform/drop tracks. 50 dropped Piggy Bank (video and song) going at Jada, and the mixtape wars of G-UNIT vs D-BLOCK began. I still remember 50 calling Jada local and Jada saying “we already know you got shot what you gonna rap about now?” This was a draw at best where they went at each other for a few months with no real winner determined. 50 respects the Lox off jump, but went at them off his own 48 Laws of Power principles. He always stated that, and it rested where it slept. Both sides are always open to record($$$) of course, but also let it known ANY jabs made would result in verbal retaliation! Hood mentalities never fade I guess.
Kiss (LOX) vs Beanie Sigel (Roc-A-Fella)
This started over comments made by Jada about Philly artists sounding like him. Obviously Beans and Freeway took exception. This culminated in a freestyle battle ( I think Beanie won), and of course the crews got involved. Russell Simmons got involved, urging the artists to squash the beefs. In fact, Russell is widely known as the hip hop peacemaker of that time, trying to squash any beefs in hopes that wouldn’t have another B.I.G./Pac incident. After the intervention and a few more shots, they reconciled before Mack went to jail. Having an intermediary facilitating peace talks between two people definitely assists in squashing beefs. I think after they got it all out of their system, it was all good from there, as evident by Jada signing with the ROC and collabos after that.
The Family Factor
Cam’Ron vs. Jim Jones
Fam beefs are NOTHING new. We all have siblings, parents, cousins, and close friends who we can argue and diss and somehow will still claim as fam at the end of the day regardless. Thus, the situation with Killa and Jimmy. During Cam’s beef with 50 Cent, 50 using them against each other, claimed that Cam’Ron was demoted to soldier after this beef. Cam shook this off with his own diss tracks, but was disappointed when Jim Jones (who was trying to downplay the beef all along and spoke to 50 after the Hot 97 phone confrontation with Cam that set this off), walked onstage with 50 and Juelz Santana at a concert. That’s when we started to find out that Jones and Cam weren’t seeing eye to eye for a long time and just decided not to do business with each other. No diss tracks have been recorded and both sides say its still Dipset on theirs and love is love. Even if they go at each other, they are the true epitome of frenemies, as they will still be fam regardless of what’s said and will still hold each other down if worse comes to worse. Hell, they still even consider Ma$e fam to an extent!
Jay-Z vs. Nas
“I’m from where n*ggas will, pull your card, and argue all day about whose the greatest emcee Biggie Jay-Z or Nas“ – Jay-Z, Where I’m From.
When Nas dropped Illmatic, the HEADS went crazy! Nas electrified the Hip Hop scene with an album that surpassed the hype he had from when he dropped that verse on “Live at the Bar-b-que“. His instant classic could not be denied, but it was Biggie, with his charisma, and Ready 2 Die selling more copies, took the undisputed crown of King of NY. Jay-Z dropped the slept on Reasonable Doubt, and as Biggies right hand and Commission aficionado, had the street cred and the makings of a legend early! When Biggie died, this left a HUGE void to fill. Everyone looked to either Nas or Jay to take their rightful place as heir to the throne.
This feud and constant argument over who was better, fueled intensely after B.I.G.’s murder, ran every cipher, corner store, schoolyard, and barbershop conversation in Hip Hop. This feud was the hip hop benchmarch for us in the 90s, where to mention your name in the same breath as Jay or Nas meant you had to have all around credibility and talent. This battle further ignited the Queens vs. Brooklyn rivalry(damn… its hard being from Queens to write an unbiased view..lol). Hell, even one of my favorite sites Nahright has the classic basis of “Jay-Z > Nas” as their mission statement (no shots, lol Eskay/Nation know where I stand on this!) and thus furthering the “> game” to commercial popularity.
This beef brewed for almost a decade before erupting into the classic feud everyone wanted to see. We got Takeover, Ether, Super Ugly, Blueprint, Stillmatic, and a lot of good music out of this feud. It’s still debated (don’t know why..lol I tried!) who won, but to all of our surprise, things seemed to calm between them when Jay mentioned that his favorite track on Kanye West’s “Late Registration” was Ye’s “We Major” track with Nas. Then they both traded the “I’d be open to do a track with him” lines before they appeared onstage together in 2007 for a monumental moment that a lot of us thought we’d never see. I believe after all the subliminal disses for years, and the major beef, they grew out of it, saw their rivalry for what it was, respected the others steelo, and squashed the beef. Maturity goes a long way in seeing all issues from different perspectives. Over time, you get to grow as a person and realize that all beefs aren’t that serious, and it takes a grown man to admit faults and end beef.
I guess when money, recognition, and views in the public eye are at stake, it makes it easier to peace-up beefs. I think all factors given, we should all take a listen to Biggies “What’s Beef” to understand the TRUE nature of disputes and recognize the real. Just save me from the soap opera-esque breakups to makeup and I’m good.