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2024 was the year of the diss track – NBC10 Philadelphia

The diss track, a crucial tool in hip-hop culture to eradicate rivalries, has been around for a year.

Many of the biggest names in rap — from Kendrick Lamar and Drake to Megan Thee Stallion — have released songs in recent months that hurl lyrical jabs at fellow artists, most sparking an online frenzy to decipher the digs.

On Friday, Lamar and Drake dropped their latest takedowns on each other, with the former releasing “6:16 in LA” and “meet the grahams” and the latter sharing “Family Matters.” The two have been exchanging blows for more than a month. According to NBC News, at least 19 total diss tracks have been released this year.

Some music experts say the moment shows how social media has shaped the way rappers handle beef, and how their fans fuel the drama.

Tia Tyree, a professor of communication studies at Howard University, said diss tracks are key for artists to assert their dominance or claim the top spot in the genre.

“Nothing is off limits in a rap battle,” says Tyree, who teaches hip-hop courses. “Everything is on the table. Because what you want is lyrical superiority and you want the crown. You want to leave no doubt that you won.”

Web that connects various singers with the other artists they have negatively mentioned in their songs.

According to Tyree, rap beef was previously filtered through radio stations and record labels. Fans would wait for diss tracks to be pressed into radio shows or released on CDs – if they were released at all. Now, “social media is letting us know that as soon as it’s literally complete,” Tyree said. “We can share snippets of it. We can comment. We can add comments to social media posts. So what really makes this a different moment in hip-hop history is the ability for us as a culture to really understand it almost at the same time.

After every diss drop, fans take sides. Social media has allowed them to give their feedback in real time and share what kind of low blows they think rappers should include in their disses and responses. They argue about which artist is better and who had the deepest lyrical tendencies.

But the rise of Stan culture — which refers to the devotion of certain artists’ most ardent fans — has made picking a winner difficult, if not impossible, according to Pablo Hawkins, a popular TikTok music and culture critic.

I made the viral AI Kendrick Lamar diss track

“I don’t think there’s a winner or loser because at the end of the day there’s just a battle on social media,” Hawkins said. “You can’t even fight for the dominant form of opinion anymore, because everything you say will get a reaction from someone.” Hawkins said die-hard fans will defend their favorite artists regardless of the quality of a diss track.

“No one is actually evaluating this from a fair premise,” Hawkins said. “Everyone takes this as a question of how deep into their fandom they are of both people.”

Diss tracks have been causing fan wars for months. The madness of 2024 started in January when Megan Thee Stallion sparked viral speculation among fans with her song “Hiss.” Many thought she was referring to fellow rapper Nicki Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty, with the line, “These ain’t mad at Megan / These ain’t mad at Megan’s Law.”

Petty is a registered sex offender in the state of California. Megan’s Law is a federal law that requires convicted sex offenders to register with the state and provide their information to the community.

After “Hiss” was released, Minaj began posting relentlessly on X and Instagram. She attacked Megan and shared messages from her supportive fans, popularly known as ‘Barbz’. She then dropped her own diss track ‘Big Foot’. The first verse begins with the direct mention of Megan, as well as her line “Megan’s Law”. According to Time, Barbz allegedly insulted people who criticized Minaj and ‘Big Foot’.

But rap fans didn’t think Megan was just calling out Minaj. Many believed she insulted Drake with the line, “Cosplay gangsters, fake a– accents / Placed in another (N-word) hood like a bad b—-.” Two months later, several other major hip-hop artists found themselves locked in a back-and-forth with the Canadian rapper.

Lamar collaborated with rapper Future and producer Metro Boomin on the song “Like That” on March 22. In a guest verse, Lamar took shots at J. Cole and Drake, in response to a line in Cole and Drake’s song “First Person Shooter”. ” In that song, Cole considered himself, Drake and Lamar the “Big Three” of rap music.

Lamar’s verse blew up online and fans immediately called for Cole and Drake to respond. Cole released a response track called “7 Minute Drill”, criticizing some of Lamar’s discography. Cole eventually pulled the diss from streaming, calling it “the lamest s—” he’s ever done.

Since then, Drake and Lamar have each released several diss tracks aimed at each other. Lamar’s song “Euphoria,” released Tuesday, echoed some of the same criticisms as Megan’s “Hiss,” bringing this year’s disses full circle. The volume of diss tracks is a welcome change for fans, many of whom feel like rappers have spent too much time going back and forth online and not enough making actual music.

“Instead of having to respond to public scorn in a public way through a song, you can just jump on Twitter, say it really quickly and then leave it in the dust,” said Hawkins, the critic. “And I think that has caused us to not really have good rap beef.”

Hawkins also said that diss tracks haven’t landed as hard in recent years, as it’s become harder to surprise people with new dirt. People now have more access to information than ever thanks to the Internet, they said.

“It’s so much harder to find truly new information without someone (from an artist’s team) leaking the information,” they said. When artists claim to have incriminating information about each other, the issue can go from fun to disturbing. Throughout hip-hop history, diss songs have had some shocking hits — from Tupac calling out Prodigy for having sickle cell anemia on “Hit ‘Em Up” to Pusha T exposing Drake for hiding his child’s existence in ‘The Story of Adidon’. .”

But some listeners online seemed uneasy about the accusations mentioned in Drake’s “Family Matters” and Lamar’s “meet the grahams.” Several social media users felt that Black women were being used as punchlines in the beef.

The dueling songs were released after Lamar warned Drake in “euphoria” that he could escalate the feud: “We shouldn’t get personal / This is a friendly blur / You gotta keep it that way.”

“As a society, I think we’re in a space right now where people are holding musicians and music artists to this moral standard,” Hawkins said.

Music experts say diss tracks will remain a staple of hip-hop for years to come. The songs spark fan fascination and help artists gain attention – which translates into more streams.

“Rap beef means money,” Tyree said. “Because those flows generate money.”