What’s Beef?


Back in 1997, Biggie set the record straight for us all.

“Beef is when your Moms ain’t safe up in the streets/Beef is when I see you/Guaranteed to be in ICU”

Biggie wasn’t playing around. If he had beef, he’d make his enemies start his jeep. He rolled 30-deep. We don’t even wanna mention what he said his man Gutter would do to kids.

Big was trying to tell us that whatever was going on between him and West Coast rappers, at the time, wasn’t really beef. It was something tamer.

Us regular folks are far looser with the phrase. If your homeboy seems upset, you might ask him what’s up and he might respond, “Nuthin’ – just beefin’ with shorty.” That doesn’t mean he was fist fighting his girlfriend. This cornball back-n-forth between J Cole and Diggy Simmons has actually been referred to as a beef. Diggy dropped a song I’d feel comfortable playing for my middle school-aged girl cousins. With respect to the young homie (I like Diggy, a lot), no rap squabble he’s involved in can be considered a beef.

And, to keep it 1,000, I’m probably the worst culprit of us all, displaying an embarrassing amount of gall when referring to a “beef” between Nick Minaj and Mariah Carey – a hypothetical one at that. I’m ashamed.

What would you call what’s going on between LeSean "Shady" McCoy and Osi Umenyiora? As Cannabis spit in “Second Round K.O.” to dismiss his “beef” with LL: “It’s not what I would this/see this is something different.”

Shady called Osi a ballerina. Osi called Shady “Lady Gaga.” It’s cute. Their E:60 segment was entertaining.  But, they spent half the time smiling. I don’t even know if I’d call this genuine animosity.

What I refuse to do is call it “beef.” This is just my call/urging to become a little more judicious with the term beef. Let’s do it for Big.

Back to top