They don’t make beef like they used to.
When Joey Bada$$, in his dis track responding to a dis track from Lil B, invokes Nas’ classic Jay-Z skewering “Ether,” the comparison illustrates how trivial hip-hop feuds have become since that early-2000s commercial and critical heyday. Azealia Banks’ recent dispute with Angel Haze, which pitted two virtuosic rappers who between them have yet to release a proper album, did little for anyone except boost music sales and force fans to choose between condoning homophobic language and encouraging Perez Hilton’s trolling. Last year, when it looked like Pusha T’s “Exodus 23:1” might push Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music and Lil Wayne’s Young Money into a major lyrical conflict, Wayne responded so limply that any further verbal beatings would’ve been inhumane.
Which brings us to Bada$$ and Based God. As with Banks and Haze, these are two talented rappers who still have mostly mixtapes between them, though Bada$$ guests on A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP and Lil B saw commercial success as a member of “Vans”-repping hyphy heroes the Pack. Joey Bada$$’ 2012 mixtape 1999 included this shot from the New York rapper’s late Pro Era groupmate Capital STEEZ directed toward Lil B: “Well tell the Based God don’t quit his day job.”
Earlier this week, as Fader was first to point out, Lil B responded — in surprisingly un-Based fashion — with soul-sampling “I’m the Bada$$,” in which he unmemorably promises to “turn you into trash, you little bitch.” Now, as Pitchfork notes, Bada$$ — who previously tweeted the beef was “not worth the time” — has returned the rough-sounding, G-funk-flavored salvo “Don’t Quit Ya Day Job!,” where between shout-outs to every Bay Area rapper imaginable he, regrettably, finds room for the same homophobic slur that got Azealia Banks in such trouble. Lyrics are different than tweets, of course, and we’re not expecting any denunications by civil rights groups. But it’s all a sad illustration of how when it comes to recent rap beefs, all we’re getting is pink slime.