Monday, June 4, 2012

Manufactured Beef?

It's hard to feel the reality in the Young Money Cash Money/G.O.O.D. Records beef. The story trickles along, but almost everybody involved is trying to back away from it, offering endorsements of their side without taking hard swings at the other.

The flashpoint seems to be Drake's lines, "Good ain't good enough / yo hood aint hood enough” in "Amen," the Meek Mill track with guest verses by Drake and Jeremih. "Good" has been heard as a reference to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Records imprint, and it prompted G.O.O.D. recording artist Pusha T to respond with "Exodus 23:1"

Pusha T fired back not at Drake but at the top of the Young Money Cash Money roster - Lil Wayne. "Throw your flag up / you're hot shit / taking half of everything you get," Pusha says. "Contract all fucked up / I guess that means you're all fucked up / you signed one n***a that's signed to another n***a that's signed to three n***as / that's bad luck."

Lil Wayne responded with the menacingly titled "Ghoulish," which starts, "Fuck Pusha T and anybody that love him."

Beefs often bring out the best of their combatants, and the 1:30 running time for the song is wittier and less forced than most of Tha Carter IV. Still, it's hard to feel like his heart's in the feud. After the aggressive first line, Lil Wayne fights fire with weirdness. Besides, it looks like he had other priorities because only days later he dropped "My Homies Still" with Big Sean from his upcoming album, I Am Not a Human Being 2. Young Money exec Mack Maine also tried to downplay the beef, but he couldn't do with without taking a backhanded swipe himself:

if a gnat or a fly keep flyin' around you, eventually you gonna swing and swat it and just get it out the way," Mack said, using an analogy in which Pusha would play the insect. "Sometimes you swat it and the gnat dies; sometimes it just go away. ... You can keep flyin', just fly somewhere else, though. We chillin'.

Big Sean has done his part to dismiss the conflict. He is on G.O.O.D. "I feel like we need to come together and put all that aside," he said. "Because I work too hard!" Elsewhere, he said:

I think beef is weak. Crack is wack. I don't encourage that. Yeah, I'm cool with Pusha T, I'm cool with everybody. The thing is, people gotta understand that we got no point in beefing. We got families to take care of, we got moms to take care of. I ain't about to be over here arguing with nobody. We all on the same team. We all young men, black men, black, white, it doesn't matter, but just entrepreneurs trying to get it.

Pusha T hasn't made peace, but he hasn't stoked the fires either. Last night he was asked about the beef at the Hot 97 Summer Jam in New Jersey, where he didn't talk about it in interviews or onstage.

Behind the scenes, it's hard to imagine that there isn't a long-standing sense of rivalry, but someone's going to have to feed this thing if it's going to get musically interesting.

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