JACQUES: In most cases, rap beef is just a war of words...so what does it mean for someone
to “cross the line?”
JACQUES: Pusha T’s “The Story of Adidon,” outing then-secret child and making fun of
his child's mother Sophie Brussaux, is already being heralded as one
of the best diss tracks of the year, but Drake thought this line went a step too far.
DRAKE: Hey man, there’s no rules but there are fucking rules in this shit.
Wishing death on my friend that has MS.
JACQUES: Across the hip-hop community, many reacted similarly to Drake’s anger,
this is just hip-hop.
CHARLAMANGE: There’s rules to this.
There ain’t no rules to battle rap man!
JACQUES: However, West Coast legend Ice Cube, who released the devastating 1991 diss track
“No Vaseline” aimed at his former crew N.W.A, believes disses cross the line when
bars are not aimed at their intended target.
ICE CUBE: You know, family, kids, deceased relatives.
I think that's going too far.
JACQUES: Which, in Drake and Pusha’s case, makes Drizzy right in the line of fire.
DJ ENVY: He did mention your fiancé’s name, so I guess it was, the gloves are off.
PUSHA T: All bets are off because of that.
JACQUES: Historically, what constitutes as ‘crossing the line’ varies from situation to situation.
But mentioning family always escalates things.
In 2003, Eminem entered his label mate 50 Cent’s feud with Ja Rule after the Rule
insulted his daughter Haile.
JACQUES: Ja’s career never recovered from 50 Cent’s repeated onslaught but Shady felt
they went too far.
JACQUES: And then there’s Jay-Z and Nas, a storied battle that drew blood on both sides
in the early 2000s.
JACQUES: The face-off had rap fans choosing sides.
Then Hov’s response to Ether ratcheted it up a notch by mentioning the mother of Nas’
child, his ex-girl, Carmen Bryan.
JACQUES: At the behest of his mother Gloria Carter, Jay apologized for taking it a step too far.
JAY-Z: I did the real thing, I really felt bad so I really um, retracted it, you know what I mean?
JACQUES: In 2017, Carmen dismissed “Supa Ugly.”
CARMEN BRYAN: It was an emotional reaction to an ass whipping, that's all it was.
JACQUES:Carmen and Nas' daughter was also targeted by t in his beef with the Queens MC.
JACQUES: In Carmen’s tell all novel she says Cam’ attempted to apologize, but she
wrote, quote, “If that nigga Cam’ron comes anywhere near my daughter I’m putting a
bullet in his fucking forehead.”
Jay-Z, too, has faced lines aimed at his wife Beyoncé.
In 2009, former associate Beanie Sigel took aim with this.
JAY-Z: I honestly say that one that was a shocker.
You know, when you come from a certain place, you’re cut from a certain cloth, there are things that are off limits.
JACQUES: But what is clear is that crossing the line is a loss for all involved,
especially when both acts eventually pass away.
JACQUES: 2Pac's blistering 1996 Notorious B.I.G. diss "Hit 'Em Up" still gives Diddy the chills.
DIDDY: A DJ would play that? We would just end the party.
No, we would take the turntable, we would take your turntables if you played "Hit 'Em Up."
JACQUES: Diddy supposedly told Big not to respond out of fear of escalation.
Pac’s inclusion of Biggie’s then girlfriend Faith Evans was a planned set up
Even down to their ill-fated studio session where she says nothing of the sort happened.
FAITH EVANS: This is totally not how I operate, that ain't how I do business.
That was never even, you know up for discussion, for being in exchange.
JACQUES: “Hit ‘Em Up,” also included barbs aimed at Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and his illness.
JACQUES: Mobb replied with “Drop A Gem On Em” in 1996 alleging that Pac was sexually
assaulted in jail.
JACQUES: “Gem” was the lead single for Mobb’s 3rd album “Hell On Earth,” but
Prodigy stopped promoting the track after Pac’s death.
In other cases, lines about dead friends strike some as a bridge too far - like in Gucci Mane’s
2012 diss against Jeezy in a beef that began over the song, "Icy."
JACQUES: Gucci was referring to a group of men he alleged Jeezy sent to rob him.
In the scuffle, Gucci shot and killed one man and later beat the case by claiming self defense.
Jeezy denied sending the men in his song, “Forgive Me.”
JACQUES: New York’s Troy Ave caught flack for bringing up Joey BadA$$’s deceased homie,
Capital STEEZ, who commited suicide in 2012.
Ave was responding to a Joey’s “Ready” bar aimed at his album sales.
JACQUES: Many thought this was a bridge too far - Troy *kind of* apologized after Styles P
called him out, but the damage was done.
If we're honest, there are no universal rules to rap beef.
Today, you can even spar on a podcast without even rapping.
But, what's most common is that women and children are often collateral damage,
and in battles like these, the ends should at least justify the means.
BUN B: Everybody isn’t going to rap fair.
Some people are going to take the lowest shots they can take and you gotta be prepared for
all of that.
JACQUES: I’m Jacques Morel with Genius News, bringing you the meaning and the knowledge behind the music.