The PR implications of ‘Beef’ in Hip Hop

Rap Public Relations - Drake Diddy

The world of hip-hop stars, and rappers in particular is quite unique. This is exemplified the best when arguments and confrontations, otherwise known as “beefs”, erupt between opposing rappers on the hip-hop scene. Of course these confrontations occur on a fairly regular basis, so much so it has made some people wonder if some of them were planned for public relations purposes.

Regardless of whether or not some these beefs were contrived, the corollary effect on each artists popularity cannot be denied. One need only look on social media and see that the twitter sphere has been talking non-stop about the recent beef between rapper/producer Sean “Diddy” Combs and rapper/producer Drake. The driving force behind this story is that these two artists are some of the most successful hip-hop artists alive today

Rap Public Relations - Drake Diddy Rick Ross

Nevertheless, even artists of such magnitude as Diddy and Drake can be harmed or benefited at least to some extent from a public confrontation. According to reports, Diddy and Drake were both attending a birthday party for hip-hop producer DJ Khaled when an altercation broke out which ended in Drake getting punched several times. The fact that hip-hop fosters such an ultra masculine environment could lead one to believe Drake’s popularity could be damaged given the reports of eye witnesses on the scene. However, the public has still yet to hear from Drake’s camp and get their side of the story regarding the altercation with Diddy.

<Drake’s own publicist and PR representatives will more than likely tell a different story which will leave the public to figure out which side is telling the truth. Of course, response on social media and on music websites and blogs is not the only thing that will determine whether or not this story has negative PR implications for either artist.Indeed, one must also take into consideration the previous reputations of both artists before extrapolating further into how each will be effected by the fallout of this altercation.

Considering the fact that Drake is an artist that fans have seen croon to women and be sensitive on a myriad of records, not the least of which is his 2011 hit “Marvin’s Room”, fans are probably less likely to stop purchasing his music or going to his concerts because of a less than favorable outcome in a fight.

For example, Drake recently ended a months long beef with R&B/Hip-Hop singer Chris Brown. The beef saw Chris Brown and Drake get into altercations in nightclubs, parties, and even into sparring matches on Twitter. The PR fallout for both artists seemed to be miniscule at best as both continued to sell out venues and sell a lot of records. Drake in particular sold over one million copies of his 2013 album “Nothing Was The Same”.Despite the thrown and broken bottles, and words of animosity over the radio waves and twitter, neither artist seemed to suffer all that much when it comes selling their music to their fans. Nevertheless, rappers like Drake would be wise to stay in their own lanes and not engage too frequently in public physical beefs.

Rap Public Relations - JA Rule 50 Cent

Other rappers involved in beefs have not been as fortunate in their PR outcomes as Drake. For instance, the rapper Ja Rule fell off considerably when he beefed with rapper 50 Cent, Eminem, and the whole Shady/Aftermath record label in the early 2000’s. Ja Rule not only failed to win the beef in the eyes of the public he also has yet to make a significant comeback. Many people within the music industry consider the Ja Rule beef with 50 Cent and Eminem as a testament to when it is smart to just let a beef end before it ruins someone’s career.

Beefs between opposing rappers can have a myriad of public relations outcomes. No matter which rapper is considered the winner in a beef, the public relations fallout depends on a lot of factors. As a rule, rappers who have a large enough following can endure almost any hit to their reputations as the result of a beef. What are your thoughts on the current outcome of the Drake and Meek Mill situation?

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