Guys like Eric B and Rakim, pre-G-Unit Mobb Deep and Nas before he decided to call it in made hip hop great. Part of the allure of hip hop culture was the constant bickering—beef—between MCs. One rapper would “start something” and the other would respond in kind, usually on some sort of thrown-together mixtape with a “dis track.” Unfortunately, YouTube, combined with a complete lack of creativity on the part of the rappers, has destroyed the much-celebrated hip hop wars.
Gone are the clever one-liners, cute barbs fired each other for no reason other than to perpetuate a feud. All that remains now are hacky, awfully produced YouTube rants wherein the MCs brag about being “hot” or some nonsense. You’d think that they’d take the time to pen a rhyme or two, but no. Now all they need is cheap Web cam, unemployed cronies and Ikea lighting. It’s like the RF Video shoot videos, only peppered with saucy, MTV-approved hip hop vernacular.
Eric B for president.
Where’s the Beef? [Slate]