The Rap Fan’s Guide To Political Blogging

December 31, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Blogging about blogging | 6 Comments

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Sensitive thugs, y’all need hugs

Since we’ve already discussed what a bunch of callow indie rockers can teach the rest of us about blogging tribalism, I wondered whether there were any other pop cultures which could explain our strange little ways.

A non-blogging friend of mine once asked “why do you bloggers seem to spend half your time attacking each other? I thought you started blogging because you had something constructive to offer.”

It was a good question for which I had no simple answer, so I decided to explain things by comparing the blog game to the rap game.

Because it’s an aggressive, proud and often quite vain genre, ‘beef‘ and rivalry between rappers is as old as hip hop itself.

There are two categories of beef. The first is basically a personal vendetta which snowballed out of a few slights (either real or imagined). For example, Tupac’s beef with Notorious BIG started because Shakur thought Biggie had tried to kill him.

But it’s also created by market forces. Feuding is the rap game’s equivalent of quantitative easing: if your sales are sloppy & your commercial stock is low, the best way of getting back into the game is by calling out another rapper. This is why the lowly (but fittingly titled) Game has spent half the year trying to get the better-selling Jay-Z to respond to his disses. If Jay responds, Game’s commercial stock soars. Always has, always will.

To show how this applies to the blogosphere, here’s a useful recent example. You can decide for yourself which category this particular beef falls into:

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What you have here is a diss; an example of one rapper blogger trash-talking somebody from another clique. To people from the same clique, this diss may be flippant or a little risque. However, to people from Rush Limbaugh’s clique, it’s a grave insult and enough to start a beef.

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Soon the game was ablaze with recrimination. As with any rap beef, the frayed tempers produced a raft of daft accusations, from the mildly amusing (Lib Con has become ‘plain nasty’) to outright lies (“most days you can read bile rejoicing about the day Margaret Thatcher dies”). Unpleasant stuff, but it’s all necessary for the rapper blogger to succeed in persuading his own clique that beef is necessary. Demonise your opponent, and all that.

Thankfully for Mr Dale, his plan had worked; his clique was down to ride:

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So you see, for all our fancy words & hyperlinks, our blogwars really aren’t much more sophisticated than your average rap feud; we just use CAPS LOCK AND RIDICULOUSLY OVER THE TOP STATEMENTS instead of hip hop beats. It’s not enough to merely better our opponents in debate; we have to actively show them up and stoke antipathy. This is true of folks on both the left and right.

So how to resolve this particular conflict? Unlike a rap beef, we can’t send for Jessie Jackson & Louis Farrakhan to help cool the tempers, and just think how bad things will get when election year rolls around!

I have an idea. I suspect that much of Dale’s mischaracterisation of Liberal Conspiracy comes from the fact that – as he recently admitted – he doesn’t actually read it. Sure, he’ll read Sunny (despite saying he doesn’t), but that’s because Sunny is the goateed blogging boogeyman who stalks his dreams. And so all the analysis, news articles & wonkish thinkpieces on the site get ignored.

So the solution to this problem is really quite simple; just follow this advice that Jay-Z dished out to his own haters:

You ain’t feelin’ me? Fine. It costs you nothing; pay me no mind.

Given he’s mentioned Hundal in no less than 7 posts this month, that might be a hard habit to break. Still, it is a time for resolutions!


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  1. Such a good post!

  2. Thanks jim, and a happy new year!

  3. […] atmosphere, or are disrupting debate. Bleeding Heart Show has an amusing article explaining that political blogging is a bit like a the confected fueds between rappers.¬†Inspired by this perhaps Left Foot Forward have taken on the Notorious […]

  4. Hah! This was wonderful.

  5. Just internet ‘grazing’ and came upon this article and had to post:

    ‘That was a bloody funny article’


  6. […] August 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Posted in British Politics, New Labour | Leave a Comment Being such a well-versed connoisseur of hip hop, I do have a love for the way words sound. When spoken, ‘fetish’ […]

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