Firstly, I should define what a “beef” is for those of you reading this that may not be privy to the hip hop lingo. A beef is a term used in the hip hop culture to describe a grudge between two individuals. In normal society a grudge for the most part may occur without any real ramifications but in the hip hop industry no beef ever goes by without some real fireworks associated with it.
Beefs in hip hop were created with two purposes in mind. One being that two artist with legitimate gripes between each other would be able to settle their differences while at the same time promoting their respective albums. One of the first highly publicized beefs in the hip hop industry was between a young up and coming rapper by the name of LL Cool J and a previously established veteran by the name of Kool Mo Dee. Most people don’t recall what the main dispute was between the two but the songs they made in an effort to discredit each other were true classics at that time. The universally accepted winner of the beef was LL Cool J and his record sales certainly benefited from it. In this instance the hip hop beef worked to perfection and the animosity disappeared and there were no acts of violence between the two. This would not be the case in of the most publicized beefs in hip hop history. Tupac Shakur, who was a prominent hip hop artist from the west coast and the Notorious BIG who was the most prominent rapper in the east at that time used to be pretty good friends. Tupac Shakur was then said to have had relations with the Notorious BIG’s wife which resulted not only in the two ending their relationship but also in the most historic battle in hip hop. For months the two hip hop artists went back and fourth with songs against each other until one day Tupac Shakur was shot outside a studio in New York. Tupac Shakur believed that either the Notorious BIG was involved in the shooting or knew of it in some capacity. The fact that the shooting occurred in the east and Tupac was a rapper from the west caused an uproar amongst west coast hip hop fans. The two coasts were no longer collaborating together on musical projects and it was actually quite dangerous for either artist to even venture to the other coast. The result of this east coast west coast beef was monumental. Both Tupac Shakur and the Notorious BIG were killed 6 months apart from each other. Those two deaths marked the falling of the universally recognized best rappers of all time.
Although hip hop beefs were created to have an outlet or forum for two artists to air their grievances the cardinal rule of keeping it on record was constantly disregarded and many deaths have occurred. It’s sad to say but 10 years after the deaths of the Notorious BIG and Tupac Shakur, beefs are just as prevalent if not more so then they were at the time of their deaths.