For most musical performers and their fans, alike, May 26th was your average day in the industry. There may have been a few singles drop, some shows to attend, and some autographs to sign/receive, but for the most part, it was just another day. Then the clock struck midnight.
“Daytona” dropped. It was the first album from artist, Pusha T, in nearly three years and boy, did it come with some controversy. Among other tracks, a notorious diss track aimed at Drake sent the web world into a full-blown frenzy. Pusha took shots at Drake’s music, his dating life, and even rumors about the artist hiding a child. Here’s an excerpt from the line:
“A baby’s involved, it’s deeper than rap;
We talkin’ character, let me keep with the facts.
You are hiding a child, let that boy come home,
Deadbeat mothaf**** playin’ border patrol, ooh”
Of course, Drake fired back. The hip-hop mogul not only put out a diss track of his own (we’ll let you decide on its true relevance in the feud) and even went as far as sending Pusha T an invoice for “reviving his career”.
I say all that to say this: from May 27th to June 2nd, Google searches for Drake nearly quadrupled, and for Pusha T, the explosion was nearly 50 times greater than in any week of any other year, according to an Economist article. “Daytona” became Pusha T’s highest-charting album on the Billboard 200 while Drake’s “Scorpion” earned platinum status on the day it was released.
So, it begs the question: who won and who lost the diss track showdown? The answer: both won.
From a marketing standpoint, the number this spat brought in for both artists made it impossible for either of them to lose. From a lyrical standpoint, Drake’s clapback might not have been as significant as he’d hoped depending on which hip-hop groups and pundits you follow. Opinions aside though, this was an objectively successful marketing move whether it was intended as such, or not.
Minaj a Truce?
The latest Nicky Minaj drama has become a threesome of sorts with Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner and over what? It seems like Minaj screamed “that’s not fair” when Scott’s “Astroworld” was being doled out to Jenner’s millions of Insta-followers.
Here’s a cut of Minaj’s complaints:
Petty or nah? You decide. Regardless, it resulted in some awkward moments at the VMA’s, as many publications noted Jenner stomping on the brakes to avoid a red-carpet encounter with Minaj.
Here’s the question though: From a marketing standpoint, does this and the soon-to-follow “clapback” prove beneficial? Researchers say, yes… and no.
Edgylabs.com writes about this. (Yes, musicians are artists and business professionals. It’s possible, people.)
“A good comeback is as good as landing a punch on Joffrey Baratheon. It sparks the competitive nature in people. That’s why debates can be so engaging. But they can quickly get out of hand if someone doesn’t “play by the rules”. This has a number of extreme consequences from the outbreak of physical violence to the sudden termination of the debate entirely. Clapbacks can do both simultaneously which may explain their popularity. They fuse the “revenge story” and “triumphant victory” conceits with humor or comeuppance.”
Remember our discussion on Pusha T and Drake? Hold on to that lyrical feud because they’re few and far in-between anymore. Much of the time, and unfortunately, feuds won’t leave the binary world of 1’s and 0’s for these musicians. They’d rather let their “characters” do the talking than their music. Pairs like Zayn and Naughty Boy, Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks, Rhianna and Ciara, and Kanye West vs. The People, have all taken their beefs public in the social media world where, either people forget about them, or they drag on for years and years.
Perhaps Pusha and Drake and resurface a good ole fashioned feud in the way it was meant to be! And it wouldn’t only benefit their pockets. When you look at the industry in general, it’s worth billions of dollars. Of course, over the years that has ebbed and flowed in different directions but it appears that it’s finally back on the right track. In 2017, nearly 25% of all music consumed was in the hip-hop/R&B genre. It was the first time in a year that the category led music consumption numbers.
Could all this fighting be leading to music fighting its way back in a world of digital streaming where free music is at our fingertips? Time will tell.