Kanye West vs. Wiz Khalifa shows that it’s digits over disses in 2016
Kanye West set the Internet ablaze on Jan. 28 with a series of tweets that immediately captivated millions.
West is no stranger to having vast Internet attention, and in previous weeks he had used his typically dormant Twitter account to rally hype for the release of his upcoming album Waves. A notebook tracklisting, a sudden name change, and various photos from the studio have enthralled his 18.1 million followers. This was all until a disagreement with rapper Wiz Khalifa was the subject of a 20-plus tweet spree.
Sparing the actual tweets, many of which have since been deleted, the promotional implications of hip-hop ‘beef’ online and how it can affect one’s name and career is an intriguing case study.
One tweet by West in particular stood out from the bunch, reading “Thank you for the extra promotion #WAVES available February 11th”.
Using social media for promotion is commonplace in today’s world. Using a disagreement with another artist for self promotion can be a significant tool—but it can also be double-edged sword depending on the outcome.
Both Khalifa and West have new albums on the way, and their names were splattered across the Internet and the media for the ensuing handful of days. They say all press is good press and in this case, maybe it’s the truth.
Khalifa became the laughing stock of the Internet for the day, and regardless of the embarrassment, he still gained followers on Twitter. These followers could still positively affect the promotion of his new album as he has gained a new audience. West also gained new followers from the incident, which can be seen as a positive for the promotion of his new album.
For an even more in-depth example of the traction that can be gained from the result of Internet beef, take a look at Summer 2015’s ‘Drake vs. Meek Mill’ feud.
Meek Mill took to Twitter to accuse Drake of using a ghostwriter in his songs shortly after the release of his album. Drake responded with a pseudo ‘diss track’ before unleashing with the Grammy-nominated track “Back to Back”.
After the release of “Back to Back”, both Drake and Meek Mill ascended to ‘household name’ status. However, while Drake earned this title from his rapping and artistic ability to handle the beef, Meek garnered more attention as a joke post-Twitter feud.
Drake possibly doubled his fame in a positive way by participating, as he has become more famous than he has ever been since the feud. As for Meek, the situation caused damage to his ‘tough guy from the Philly streets’ persona, he will likely never live down the time he went after Drake and was embarrased.
The advent and expansion of social media has changed many facets of how society operates, and it seems good old rap beef isn’t immune to it either.