By Maritza Ramos
On Saturday, February 25th of the year 2017, rapper Remy Ma released a diss track titled “ShEther” that broke the internet and twitter world, respectively. Who was her target? None other than the self-proclaimed queen of Rap Nicki Minaj.
Now, rap beef, rap feuds, diss tracks, they’re not new. They have a deep history going back to the origins of Hip Hop, when young MCs or wordsmiths would come together and host rap battles, taking turns dissing each other. As one of the legendary founders of Hip Hop, Ice Cube states in an interview the “essence of rap is to battle” And when Hip Hop went mainstream, it’s no surprise that this practice was not left behind but followed along with it.
But what is particularly important about Remy Ma’s and Nicki’s beef is the role social media had in it. Much like Drake’s and Meek Mill’s rap feud (from which we got the term “twitter fingers”), Nicki chose to respond through social media rather than through her own diss track. Many people were calling her lazy or a “corruptor” of Hip Hop culture. By responding through Instagram and Twitter, she was seen as polluting the realness and originality of Hip Hop culture. This is similar to sentiments that people who critique social media’s new role in human communication hold.
Social media is changing every single way in which we interact. But interestingly enough, Hip Hop and Rap, genres of music, style and culture that are seen as a façade and as manufactured, are promoting and demanding the same “realness” and authenticity that critics of social media are. It will be definitely be interesting to see how much more these two things parallel and challenge each other