She said his face looks like a toenail and a thumb. He said she’s only famous because of Doctor Phil. Now’s she’s threatening to “bust his fucking head” and she’s only 14.

As you might guess, this is not your father’s rap rivalry. Thanks to streaming and social media, the economics of the rap game have shifted significantly in 2018, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of ‘the beef’ in hip-hop. And in 2018, the beef business is very good.

Gone are the days when news about rap rivalries was limited to MTV and The Source — today’s rap beefs have become commodified through “Beef” verticals on sites like HotNewHipHop and Bossip, ranked through a churn of listicles on music sites like Ranker’s “Rap Artists Who Hate Each Other,” routinely escalated on Instagram and Snapchat and fought out and shot out on sites like WorldStarHipHop and YouTube.

It’s a 24-hour rap beef news cycle, which means more beefs than ever before — and not necessarily how you would expect.

Right now, the rap beef getting the most eyeballs is happening between a 14-year-old white girl and 21-year-old Asian dude in Los Angeles. Both are professional media influencers first and rappers second — RiceGum is a gamer turned Youtube personality and rapper with 9 million followers. RiceGum lives in a massive LA beach house with his Clout Gang, a diverse crew of YouTuber cool kids who party and co-commune in a non-stop series of viral videos.

RiceGum is beefing with Danielle Bregoli, aka “Cash Me Ousside Girl” from the Dr. Phil Show, aka rapper Bhad Bharbie, aka every parent’s nightmare. RiceGum has vastly more followers on Youtube and Twitter (but she beats him 2-1 on Insta), but chances are you probably recognize Bregoli because she’s frequently covered on gossip sites like TMZ (and even here) by an entertainment media that is both amused and petrified by the monster they helped create.

I go shhh on a bich , be quiet 🤫

A post shared by Bhad Bhabie (@bhadbhabie) on

Ok….that may be a little harsh, but Bregoli seems to only have one schtick and that’s to be a terrible role model for teenage girls and to be hated by parents. She swears, she insults people’s looks and she talks in a fake ghetto accent about stomping people. After becoming famous for dropping her catchphrase on Dr. Phil, she was signed by managers Dan Roof and Adam Kluger, who admitted to me last May “this is someone who became famous for no reason and now that she is famous, we’re trying to figure the goal for her career.”

RiceGum’s growth is more organic, and while his style of video-making is more thoughtful and dynamic with skits and strange challenges (Bregoli mostly just reacts to what she is being shown on an iPad), RiceGum’s channel feels like one long sizzle reel of toxic-masculinity where he gets girls to strip while he plays video games, flexes his cars and Gucci and constantly talks about his net worth (which is like, really A LOT guys, OK?).

Bregoli and RiceGum started beefing a couple months ago, and last week it started to get really crazy. After posting videos calling him a “toenail” and saying his face “looked like a thumb” and “Asian Napoleon Dynamite,” she told her 3 million followers “If I ever see him one day, I’d probably bust his fucking head” because he was a “dusty-ass cockroach bitch.”

Uhhhhh….RiceGum responded with a less-angry parody video that shows him flipping out while he recalls the various insults lobbed at him and then drops a diss song called “Bitcoin” where he says Bregoli is “just a rat girl who Twitter made a meme about” and asks “How the fuck are you 14 with rumors that you sleep around?”

Slut-shaming a 14-year-old is terrible — on paper. Remember this is rap beefing, it’s not pretty, it’s dark and demented and cruel. It’s tearing down people with words — there are no boundaries and nothing is off limits.

Look at 50 Cent, who is still feuding with Rick Ross on what looked like the Florida rapper’s deathbed (update: he’s ok). Earlier this weekend Rick Ross was found unconscious and rushed to the hospital. That prompted 50 Cent — who’s beef with the Miami rapper goes way back — to take to Instagram and post a picture of Dolph Lungren from the film Rocky IV where he plays Russian fighter Ivan Drago.

A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on

In the movie Drago beats the life out of Apollo Creed and then tells the crowd “If he dies, he dies.”

It’s a brutal clip and it’s notable that 50 Cent used the meme not only for its savagery but also because it epitomizes the ethical bargain behind beefing — in pursuit of a laugh from your fans, there’s basically no limitations and everything is fair game, including death.

Oftentimes, when a rapper starts a beef, it’s with another rapper or hip hop crew. But for rainbow hair rapper 6ix9ine, one group wasn’t nearly enough — he decided to beef with all of organized crime.

The Brooklyn rapper, who also goes by the name Tekashi, is behind viral hits like “Gummo” and the new song “Billy” and has a checkered past — he’s currently awaiting sentencing for a sexually explicit video he shot with a 13-year-old. Tekashi is affiliated with the Blood street gang, which puts him at odds with LA’s famed Crips street gang, as well as the Mexican Mafia and other dangerous sets throughout the United States. Sure he’s safe in his Blood-controlled neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn but when he travels into other territories, he might have a problem. Typical gang etiquette in this situation would be to notify rival gangs of one’s plans to be on their turf, but Tekashi took to Instagram recently to tell rivals he doesn’t have any plans to “check in” this summer while out on tour.

Gangland’s response to Tekashi was swift and succinct — “show up on our turf without checking in, and we will fucking kill you.”  Surenos boss OG Spanky told him to cancel his LA show or shit would get ugly.

Tekashi didn’t listen. During the Super Bowl, 6ix9ine and crew were attacked mid-concert by Minneapolis street gangs, and later he had to cancel his show during the NBA All-Star Game because of Crip threats to attack the Belasco Theater during his performance. When 6ix9ine and his crew tried to leave Los Angeles, two individuals spotted him at LAX and started a totally bonkers brawl.

And hip-hop fans know, when rappers aren’t dissing each other, they’re dissing the music industry. While labels have become a popular target in the past, the digital upheaval in music means anyone is fair game, and in the case of Waka Flaka, even a mixtape distribution platform can get salty. Even stranger in this particular case — it was actually an executive at distributor DatPiff that started the beef. After watching Waka Flock move his music to Soundcloud, DatPiff’s vice president Kyle Reilly decided to troll the rapper, tweeting:

That prompted Waka to accuse DatPiff of “making millions behind every artist back” and called Reilly a “culture vulture.” Things went quickly downhill from there.

If you’re having a hard time keeping up, don’t worry, disses can be confusing and strangely personal. Understanding this stuff can take a miniature fan army to decrypt words, research social media timelines for unnoticed comments and read over press clippings.

No one beefs with more style and complexion than the matriarch of hip-hop’s first family, Beyonce. The Lemonade singer appears with her husband Jay-Z on DJ Khaled’s new song “Top Off” where she raps “If they’re tryna party with the queen/ They gon’ have to sign a non-disclosure.”

Ok makes sense right — if you’re partying with the Carters you might have to sign a document promising you will not tell anyone about anything you see, for fear of facing financially ruinous legal action. Seems reasonable, but shortly after the song dropped, actress Tiffany Hadish tweeted “I Love Beyonce part! Everything she said rang so real to me,” adding, “Just know I will sign A NDA any day For Beyoncé.”

Fans were quick to remember a story Haddish had told TV One’s Uncensored about meeting Beyoncé at a JAY-Z show. Haddish said during a conversation with Hov, an actress — whom she wouldn’t identify — touched JAY-Z on the chest. “Beyoncé came walking up like… ‘Biitttchhh!’ But, she didn’t say that. But her demeanor, her body from the way she walked up on them said ‘Get your hands off my man’s chest.’”

Was Beyonce clapping back at Haddish for the dishy TV One story? Some fans think YAS!!!

Whether or not the two were related, that story was buried by an even bigger story on THE SAME SONG, namely that Beyonce also dissed Drake on the track (or maybe it was Kim Kardashian). Strangely, the most underreported element of “Top Off” was that Jay-Z was beefing on the track with his recent enemy — George Zimmerman, the Florida man who murdered Trayvon Martin six years ago. Jay is executive producing Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story set to be released in July on Paramount Network. Allegedly, his film crew went to the homes of some of Zimmerman’s family seeking interviews. Zimmerman told them to stay away and angrily threatened Jay saying “I know how to handle people who fuck with me, I have since February 2012,” referencing the six-year-old murder, and later threatening to feed Jay to “an alligator.” Jay-Z responded on “Top Off” by dropping four bars on Zimmerman.

Meanwhile Georgie Porgie sinnin’ and sendin’ me threats

Save your breath, you couldn’t beat a flight of steps

Try that shit with a grown man

I’ll kill that fuckboy with my own hand.

Ouch.

In summary — shit is cray. In 2018 the diss track and rap beef is still alive, but it is not well. Dissing is everywhere and while times might not be as savage as rap eras past, rap beef dynamics have become part of everyday life in hip-hop, with battles and rivalries getting increasingly stranger. While most of us don’t understand the verbal cues and storylines that go into beefing, it’s obvious that the steady drumbeat of disses, insults and takedowns show no sign of letting up.

Dave Brooks
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Dave Brooks

Founder & Executive Editor at Amplify Media
Dave Brooks has over 15 years experience as a writer, including eight years as the Managing Editor of Venues Today. He started Amplify in 2014 to give the industry its own voice and turn up the volume on live entertainment.
Dave Brooks
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