Last week, Lil Durk released, “Ahhh Ha.” It’s a fiery record that flirts with the line between art and reality, as the Chicago rapper chronicles his hunt of imaginary foes with bars like, “They dropping locations, I’m getting it done.” NBA YoungBoy apparently felt certain lines on Durk’s song were aimed at him, and returned fire with “I Hate YoungBoy,” a similarly on-edge record where the Baton Rouge MC berates Durk, as well as Lil Baby, Gucci Mane, and others.
It’s the latest round of disses between the one-time collaborators, who crossed the point of no return after Durk’s right-hand man King Von was fatally shot during a scuffle with YoungBoy’s partner Quando Rondo. Von and Quando were former friends who reportedly fell out over Von being seen with YoungBoy’s ex—the kind of petty discrepancy that could have easily been talked through. But instead, tragedy happened, and the longer these two proud, grieving men wield their power (and their pain) against each other, the higher the chances get that more violence could occur.
The fracture between Durk, YoungBoy and Quando may already be too far gone to mend. As Von’s uncle Range Rover Hang proclaimed, “Niggas got points to prove. [Von] was a real one. They killed a real one and we ain’t never going to get nobody else like that.” Durk has echoed that sentiment on record, and YoungBoy and Quando have each struck back at Durk lyrically.
All the while, the rap community has enflamed the drama since Von’s death. We should know better, though. We’ve been at this point too many times with rap drama that spills into the streets. When tragedy happens, we publicly mourn, and some of us are reflective. But then, it seems, the machine churns back up, ignoring all tact and respect for the dead in the name of metrics—until tragedy happens again. How many times are we going to let the cycle play out? What does our passive enjoyment of this spectacle say about us? Will any artist’s loss actually cause us to relinquish our thirst for sensationalism out of respect for them? These are questions that we should be asking, instead of blindly watching two gifted artists going full force at each other. One person has already lost their life, and we don’t need anyone else to.