Great article by Marc Lynch, a political science professor and rap aficionado, drawing parallels between timely feuds in the rap world and the international political scene. Sound like a stretch?
The article has its roots in L.A. rapper “The Game”‘s attack on rap behemoth Jay-Z. Lynch’s comparison likens The Game to a small nation and Jay-Z to a superpower (the only remaining one) like the United States. He says that it’s a crap shoot whether The Game will actually make a dent in the Jay-Z’s hegemonic rap empire, but it’s the effort that will make a name for The Game. Kinda like a newbie politician who knows that he’ll lose his first campaign but gain name-recognition for future runs.
Jay-Z is entrenched in a prince-like seat of power in the rap world. Lynch notes that few rappers have challenged him:
As a young 50 Cent spat at him (twisting one of Jay’s own famous lines), “if I shoot you I’m famous, if you shoot me you’re brainless.” He’s generally avoided getting embroiled in beefs since reaching the top, only occasionally and briefly hitting back at provocations from rising contenders like 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, and others. Responding to every challenge does not become a hegemon.
We know that often our greatest success comes in the student surpassing the teacher. This may be the case for The Game, a rising young star who was once a protege of Dr. Dre. We’ll see how the feud–and its parallel to international politics–plays out.