The Near-Impossibility of Beefing With Kanye West

How do you diss someone who won't say anything back (at least in a song)? Beefing with Kanye West is nearly impossible.

kanye west getty walter mcbride

Image via Getty/Walter McBride

kanye west getty walter mcbride

If you’ve spent any time on the internet since 3:53 pm on Thursday afternoon, you’ve come across Kanye West’s most recent tweetstorm.

It all started by Kanye revealing that he received a clearance request from Drake to use Drizzy’s “Say You Will” remix for an unnamed purpose. That ignited a long stretch of tweets—many addressed directly to Drake—that brought the long-simmering hostility between the two men into the open.

There were accusations of threats (“if anything happens to me or my family, you are the first suspect”); claims of influence (“I’m your oxygen”); calls for racial unity (“That’s why black people never get ahead we stay controlled”); vague threats of his own (“If I’m bipolar, this kind of shit can get me ramped”); accusations that Drake was “playing with…mental health”; and through it all, plenty of protests that all he wanted to do was to be “making the world better at all times.”  

Kanye then dragged Travis Scott into the mix. ‘Ye thought that Drake’s tough talk on “Sicko Mode” was directed right at him, and was upset that Travis would allow it to appear on ASTROWORLD. Kanye accused Travis of selling his soul. “You got a number one record, but you got it by letting this dude diss your brother-in-law,” he wrote.

But despite quite literally creating a fray by insulting two of the biggest stars in the world, Kanye insisted that he was above it all. “I will never make a diss record,” he tweeted. “I will never put negative energy into a song. Only positive energy.”

So what now? How should Drake or Travis respond to this latest outpour? If this were the ‘90s, sneak disses would be settled with a punch in the eye outside of a concert, or perhaps with a pointed skit about “biting off your album cover and shit.” But it’s an age where everyone has a video camera in their pocket, and the three artists in question are also far too famous to be throwing hands themselves (something Kanye acknowledged).

So if an eye jammie is out of the question, what then? What recourse does Drake have to explain his side of the story, or to get the tweets to stop?

The traditional recourse in hip-hop, of course, is the diss song. But Kanye has already said, repeatedly, that he will never make one in return (and really, do you want to hear a 2018 Kanye diss song? Or even a 2003 one?) So to go that route risks making you look like a bully, since you’re (verbally) punching someone who won’t hit back, at least in that same arena.

If a diss song is out of the question, what’s next? You can’t send a text message, because we all know what Kanye does with texts. He screenshots and shares them with his 28.8 million Twitter followers. Can you call? Well, it’s been tried. Whatever Drake and Travis said, West portrayed both calls as threatening.

So what’s left? If you give an interview saying anything negative about Kanye, you run the risk of looking like you’re, in ‘Ye’s own words, playing with his mental health.

Intentionally or not, Kanye has ended up in an unprecedented position: he’s nearly impossible to beef with. And yet, he continues to throw jabs at some of the biggest artists in the world.

In the end, the safest play seems to be exactly what Drake is doing: laughing it off and saying nothing at all.

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