In the Oxford Dictionaries, “beef” is defined as “the flesh of a cow, bull, or ox, used as food”. However, the modern presence of the word has taken on an informal definition: “a grudge or grievance”. In current months, the latter definition seems to be trending on the internet – most recently in the “beef” between Drake and Meek Mills.
Anyone who’s been following celebrity news on social media has probably come across internet memes of Drake, or clicked through stories about Meek Mills blasting fans at concerts. The famous Drake/Meek feud that consumed the media has persistently captured public attention.
The internet “beef” between the two rappers jumpstarted on twitter, where Meek Mills took to social media to accuse Drake of not writing his own raps, claiming that Drake refused to promote Meek’s album. In the following weeks, Drake responded to these allegations by releasing two diss tracks against Meek that triggered a chain of supportive online responses.
At first, this spontaneous fight might seem to come down to an ever-changing question of authenticity of hip-hop and ghostwriting. However, it operates as something much more strategic for both the rappers: a brilliant marketing strategy.
Drake and Meek have engaged in a battle that spans across Twitter, Instagram, concerts, diss tracks, and the vastness of the music industry. It’s hard not to notice the extra publicity that both rappers have received since the feud began, along with exposure to new potential audiences. In terms of sales and popularity, profit for the rappers shot through the roof.
It’s no coincidence that the dispute erupted right as Meek dropped his new album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, which perfectly overlaps with his extended promotion. The so-called beef pushed Meek’s album up the charts during opening week and kept his name in the headlines after the initial album sales begin to wane.
The media speculation is benefitting Drake as well, even if Meek is no longer a “woe” that Drake runs with. Exchanges on twitter between the rappers went down a few days before the sixth annual OVO festival in Toronto, which is headlined by Drake himself. By swiftly releasing two new tracks before his festival, Drake moved ticket sales by recapturing interest from his listeners.
The drawn out beef also amplified both the rappers’ public images. Before recently, Meek Mills was not a commonly known name (it still might not be), but Mills has been exposed to a much larger fan base than previously available. Similarly, after releasing his two successful diss tracks, Drake’s been able to legitimize his musical prowess. The feud gave Drake an opportunity to reestablish himself with more edge in his lyrics and delivery. People will undoubtedly be paying more attention to both rappers.
Whether or not the rappers are legitimately beefing or the whole thing is a brilliantly extensive publicity stunt, the payoff is evident. As the Drake/Meek beef has proven, competition in hip-hop, or in the music industry in general, increases profits. As more celebrities figure this out, it seems like every new album release or award show has the potential to trigger some serious beef.