How do you end an incredible year for rap music? By talking about beef.
Rap beefs in 2017 ran the gamut from hilarity to curiosity. Remy Ma came out of nowhere with “ShETHER,” challenging Nicki Minaj and her status in the game. Young Dolph and Yo Gotti, two Memphis heavyweights, have moved past their beef and thankfully so; it escalated to Dolph getting shot earlier this year. And for East Coast rap heads, the idea of Cam’ron and Mase exchanging diss tracks in 2017 is a dream match-up come true.
More recently, there have been tensions brewing between former friends XXXTentacion and Ski Mask the Slump God. Azealia Banks is always out here doing the most on social media and reigniting beefs. Then there’s Drake and Meek Mill, but the 6 God decided to officially end their feud in a freestyle over Jay-Z’s “Family Feud.” Just when you think the year will start off calm and friendly, rappers always seem to have something to settle.
So, which one was your favorite? We asked New Yorkers to tell us theirs and you’ll be surprised to hear some of their answers.
While the 90-minute set featured “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” “Where I’m From,” and new 4:44 fare such as “Family Feud,” one particular track gave Jay an opportunity to offer a quick opinion on current events in the sports and political sphere.
“I want to dedicate this song to Colin Kaepernick tonight,” Jay-Z said before launching into “The Story of O.J.” Hov also dedicated the song to the late comedian Dick Gregory, who passed in August, as well as “anyone that was held back and you overcame.”
The song takes its title—at least in part—to former NFL great O.J. Simpson, whose seemingly lifelong struggles with identity politics and code switching get a reference in the track’s opening bars courtesy of an anecdote from ESPN’s O.J.: Made In America.
Kaepernick remains unsigned and doesn’t appear likely to wind up on an NFL roster this season, after sitting and subsequently kneeling in protest during the singing of the national anthem as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. Players such as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers have gone on record as saying Kaepernick is being passed on in favor of players with inferior statistics and talent because of his protest.