Rappers, like non-rappers, often get in disagreements with each other. They talk shit on each other. They make fun of each other. And it’s been going on for a long time. To me, a lot of it isn’t that interesting, I like it better when people are gettin’ along. But every now and then it gets especially pointed or clever in-your-face, and I have to say I really do enjoy those moments at times. Like the shit Jay-Z and Nas used to talk on each other is pretty amazing, and they weren’t making little YouTube videos or bootleg street releases of it, they had it on legit albums. These dudes I’m about to bring up are more on the underground/YouTube tip with their shots, but I still think it’s pretty notable.
See a few months ago, David Banner made this song and video commenting negatively on a lot of stuff newer, younger rappers were doing and saying.
David Banner – Swag
He has a lot of complaints on this track, but it’s pretty obvious one of his main targets is young Lil’ B. The “Woop! Swag!” chant in the chorus couldn’t be more blatant. Now this is far from the first time the BasedGod has been attacked by an older-generation rapper, and it’s also far from the first time he’s responded. But the response he gives here, I think, is the best I’ve seen him do.
Lil’ B – I Own Swag
Here’s why I think it’s especially awesome: he uses the same beat as the song that’s dissing him, so he’s using the forces that were stacked against him as fuel for his own reply. Much like many in the black community’s re-appropriation of “nigga” or B’s famed switch-up on the meaning of “based“, this tactic shows a very clear lack of fear for whoever is attacking. It’s a very effective way to take the wind out of the sails of some aggressive force, and in this case it’s especially pointed by making the listeners’ obvious next question be: “Who did it better?” “Who brought more to that beat?” “Who knocks it out of the park?” And it doesn’t even matter what you think the answer to that question is, the fact that it’s being brought up calls into question the power and force of the attacker.
When I first heard this, it reminded me of this little exchange a couple years back.
Jay-Z – D.O.A.
Lil’ Wanye – D.O.A.
Another great example of the same phenomenon. My favorite part about both of these is how they respond: they kind of don’t. Weezy and B don’t pick apart the attacks thrown at them and try to address each one, they don’t even really give them the time of day. By not acknowledging the legitimacy of the complaints brought up against them, they dodge all kinds of bullshit bickering and petty disputes. Each of them just take the track that tried to tear them down and use it not to refute the talking points brought up, but just to rap awesomely and talk about how amazing they are. To me that’s like taking the knife from your opponent’s hand and instead of turning it on them, just laughing and tossing it aside. Feel how you want about any of these rappers and their opinions of each other (I actually really like all of them a lot), but I think the way these dudes have responded to the criticism leveled on them from the older generation is pretty awesome, and worthy of some admiration.