The NYTimes wrote a fairly unremarkable piece on hip hop beefs in 2009. The focus of the article was on some simmering beef between Joe Budden and half the Wu-Tang nation. The story goes that Joe Budden wasn’t too happy when Method Man beat him on a poll by the defunct-and-reborn Vibe Magazine. He made a couple of brash statements, and the Wu responded.
It seems like Raekwon took it the most personally, and tensions simmered between Joe and Rae, culminating in an alleged assault on Joe Budden. Budden made the situation public by posting a little video diary online and talking about it.
The only thing I found interesting about the article was the focus on technology in modern hip hop beefs. The author had this to say about the situation:
The supposed attack took place backstage at the Los Angeles date of the Rock the Bells tour, at which both Raekwon and Slaughterhouse were performing. According to Mr. Budden and Mickey Factz, another rapper in the room at the time, the incident was being filmed by a member of Raekwon’s camp, presumably so that Mr. Budden’s primary tool, the Internet, could later be used against him.
If so, it was a mark of modern savvy on the part of Raekwon, a product of the 1990s, an era in which hip-hop beefs were just as likely to play out behind closed doors as on records.
More importantly, I think, was this simple sentence. It both castigates the Wu-Tang clan as being out of touch and seems to suggest that Joe Budden is somehow ahead of the game.
In going online with his gripes about the Vibe list, Mr. Budden was working from an updated playbook, one that most likely caught Raekwon and Method Man, used to the unchallenged public respect of their successors, off guard.
I find it hard to believe that anyone can see a video diary as being a remarkable use of technology that woudl catch anyone off guard, but I can see the author’s point. It may be something that didn’t use to happen as much, in that beefs used to be made public through the odd-interview but primarily through disses at shows and tracks packed with insults. Rappers didn’t use to jump on YouTube to complain about each other.
The article is worth a read. Jon Caramanica makes some good points regarding Budden’s use of the internet to remain relevant, and has some insight to Raekwon’s behaviour.