Hip-Hop is gonna Hip-Hop…
This we know, but looking back, frivolous riffs have protentially prevented us from some of the greatest music and moments in its history.
Freddie Gibbs and Benny The Butcher‘s recent rap beef reveal isn’t a unique situation. Hindsight sees pairs of the world’s elite emcees duke it out at their height; on the mic or in their personal time.
Late 80’s pioneers Big Daddy Kane and Rakim may be the greatest example of this, being as though we didn’t get music nor disses. The God Emcee is quoted saying “The silly shit started happening, when I thought Kane was poppin’ off [about me], and I guess people was tellin’ him I was poppin’ off too.” via Juan Epstein.
Apparently, this lead to “Let The Rhythm Hit Em“, with the original version containing some bars directed at Kane. The “Smooth Operator” would call Rakim’s phone personally and dead the beef, prompting Ra to reimagine those “3 or 4 bars” to the tune of what can be heard today.
In the end, the era’s two most commercially successful rappers whilst maintaining their street presence never colloaborated. Leaving “what if’s” to echo the halls of Hip-Hop for eternity. Great for barbershop quarrels, but I believe we’d take the music over the banter.
Looking back, it’s downright shameful we had to wait until Nas‘ 2006 album, Hip Hop Is Dead to get our “Jay & Nas joint“! Unlike Benny & Freddie in 2022, Hov and Esco were well past their prime. The cringe-worthy initial Jay Z vocals “I know you can feel the magic, baby” lay exclamation for this black-eye moment in Hip-Hop. Not only could we not “feel the magic“, but “Black Republicans” is tiers below our lowest expectations for the dream collab.
To make matters worst, they got bested by Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana on their street version of the record. Two rappers who masterfully capitalized from their joint efforts at the peak of their careers. EMBARRASSING! Once Santana uttered “Now this is what they been waitin’ for” 3 seconds into the cut, it was finito.
Benny The Butcher is fresh from this year’s well-recieved Tana Talk 4, which proceeds the cult-classic Tana Talk 3, in series. The BSF boss is scheduled to make his Def Jam debut album sooner-than-later.
Freddie Gibbs is back with “Ice Cream“, most like new single possibly signaling a new album from the Gary, Indiana native. In the past 5 years, Big Rabbit has given us Fetti, Bandana and Alfredo, respectively in consecutive years.
The aforementioned Curren$y collab, Fetti, is regarded by some as one of Hip-Hop’s best joint project’s to date. Likewise, Stabbed & Shot, with Benny and TCF founder, 38 Spesh.
Also, the parallels between these former up-and-coming artists struggles are very reflective. They’ve both grinded since the early to mid-2000’s, to eventually claim rap supremacy, as they close in 40 years of age (this year for Freddie).
We mention all of that to say this:
The stars have aligned! Both rappers are in their golden moments, white hot. The underground Jay Z and Nas. The new era Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. So, per usual, the “game” is attempting to rid itself of its top players running the two-man [pause]. Here we go.
*Modern science has A.I. formulating songs imulating artists to a tee. We might have to take what we can get.