Music by VICE

The Rules of Rap Beef

The definitive list of WHAT'S OK and WHAT'S NOT OK.

by DVS
26 October 2018, 1:33am

Though dormant since the dawn of time, Rap Beef is enjoying a revival recently, the scope of which has been unparalleled. From Ellen DeGeneres’ on-air insistence that she’ll “smack dr phils dusty lil mustache off his face and then his mouth could be bald too,” to Yoplait’s “Dannon Makes U Sick And Die” campaign, everyone seems to want in on the action.

As is often the case with cultural phenomena, the genesis of this trend can be traced to the music world. Rapper “Slimy Johnny” broke records in late 2018 with the release of his song “More Slimier Than U,” a venomous diss aimed at once-collaborator “Regular Johnny.” Regular Johnny’s response, the midtempo banger “Oh Word?” similarly shocked the world, as did his follow-up “I Misheard What U Said At First. Now I Agree.” A mature admission of culpability, rare for the genre. Amidst high tensions, the blood feud was thankfully put to rest last week as the duo reunited on “Havin Fun In The Park (Such A Nice Day).” In this case, both critics and fans alike declared the winner of the schism to be “friendship” and “togetherness,” but things are often not that simple.

That sort of rap beef, the “I can do more pull ups than you” purely competitive exhibition bout for rap supremacy is a staple, is good for rap and isn’t going anywhere. It gives artists a visibility boost and sells records (similar to how Liam Neeson sayin he HATES Boar’s Head Ham helps sell his AND Boar’s Head’s album). Ideally, it makes rappers try harder, which is always a good look. If you don’t have at least half an idea that you’re the greatest rapper alive, you gotta go. For real. There’s over 25 rappers now, at least. That’s too many. If you not gunnin for the top tier, maybe you could rap into a cup and put it in the fridge and drink it later “for the culture”, but don’t nobody need to hear it.

The other kind of rap beef is the one where people pester rappers 24-7 like “damn u really gonna let Lil Raoul say that? U gotta kill him dude” and then go “Dag yall. We all gotta do better” when Lil Raoul dies. Matter fact, any time somebody die, even if they get eaten by a crocodile we “all gotta do better” for some reason. How you want me to do better about crocodiles? Anyway I don’t need to speak on this kind of beef. As we all plunge even further into insanity somehow, I promise there will be no shortage of real shit and people killing each other that you can view safely through a glass screen. Maybe you can have a little soup about it.

So let’s focus on the rules for the other kind of rap beef.


1) If, during a rap beef, your opponent hurts his leg, and you go “WHATS GOOD YOU LEG ASS BITCH? HOW YOU HURT YOUR LEG, IN A FUCKIN NERD CONTEST? OHHHHHHH SHIIIIITTTTTT” you win automatically, but also its rude.

2) If rap beef occurs in a pool, ABSOLUTELY NO SPLASHING. Someone could walk by and slip and that’s how people get a hurt leg.

3) If someone’s phone rings, all rap beef will PAUSE IMMEDIATELY for them to answer, because what if it's an emergency?

4) That’s it, otherwise just do whatever.


1) Q: Yo rap beef sounds fun how can I do it?
A: the fuck I just say? Stop rapping. Everybody stop rapping.

2) Q: But YOU do it!!!!!
A: Ok but I’m VERY good at it.

3) Q: And also so handsome
A: wow, you’re right, that’s true.

4) Q: Cmon pleaaaaaase can I rap beef?
A: ok howbout this. You know how like in X-men, the guy who can make his neck mad long and the guy who can cough spiders all over everybody will be fighting, but then the government goes “Having powers is illegal and fucked up”, so then the two mutants team up, even though they were just fighting, to fight the government? Do that. Do a voting, cuz shit right now is….ay yo.

5) Q: Wow, so voting will make me a rapper?
A: uhhh….yknow what? Sure. Kinda need all the help we can get right now so, yea. Whatever you want man.

6) Q: SICK! Who should I vote for? Aren’t all politicians lying?
A: prolly. But also the ones that say “we should make it so women, black people, gay people, trans people, poor people, sick people, etc etc should not be able to live, effectively killing them (and also we should directly kill them if possible)” usually turn out to actually feel that way. Soooo….not them. Vote for whoever in your district is going “uhhh no?” when those ones say that.

7) Q: But what if THEY turn out to be lying?
A: my man I’m a fuckin rapper what do you want from me?

8) Q: There’s rappers that know stuff too! What about GZA?
A: So go talk to GZA, iunno what to tell you

9) Q: Ok I voted now what?
A: Donate money. There are plenty of organizations that will never not need your help. Trans Lifeline, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, Color Of Change are only a few

10) Q: Ok I did that too, is there a third thing? I want to spend my money on something more stupid now
A: word, buy my album and/or gimme $25,000 to make a tv show. I promise to use some of the dollars to buy the fancy 8 dollar orange juice that the guy makes right in front of you and he puts antioxidants in it. Then I’ll be healthy like a damn millionaire. That’s “healthcare” like people talk about how countries used to have.

11) Q: I like this list but I was hoping for a more thorough list of rap beef rules
A: I tell you what you do. Go on youtube, I guarantee one of them real flavorless type rappers with a name like “Adidas Infinity” or some shit made a 9 minute song about “THE RULES TO RAP” or whatever. You know who I’m talkin bout, those guys that know they bring nothing to the table stylistically so they become like “Hip Hop, The Guy”? There are thousands of those. Their album is called like “Fresh For Respect” or “Bringin It Back” or whatever, except its 2018? Anyway, their song will have all the info you need, from Kool Moe Dee to Busy Bee to the Bridge Is Over, all that shit. Those motherfuckers do their homework for real.

12) Q: Will their song be good?
A: oh heavens no

You can beef with DVS on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey US.