Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Game, set, match...

The Game, a very good rapper in his own right came out swinging (all-the-while committing career suicide) when he released a couple Jay-Z diss tracks last week. Whether its silencing his critics at Glastonbury with Wonderwall or writing an entire album after having watched a movie... its undeniable that when it comes to hip hop, the pinnacle is Jay-Z.

Generally speaking, I ignore the "beefing" and whatnot in hip-hop. Though some good things can come of it (Jay-Z vs. Nas, 50 cent taking Ja Rule out of the game), it has done its share of damage to the genre (r.i.p. Biggie and 2pac).

Though the link seems obvious, its not until now that I've seen someone actually take the beefing of hip-hop and analyze it from an International Relations perspective. In sum, Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy asks:

"So what does Jay-Z do? If he hits back hard in public, the Game will gain in publicity even if he loses... the classic problem of a great power confronted by a smaller annoying challenger. And given his demonstrated skills and talent, and his track record against G-Unit, the Game may well score some points. At the least, it would bring Jay-Z down to his level -- bogging him down in an asymmetric war negating the hegemon's primary advantages. If Jay-Z tries to use his structural power to kill Game's career (block him from releasing albums or booking tour dates or appearing at the Grammy Awards), it could be seen as a wimpy and pathetic operation -- especially since it would be exposed on Twitter and the hip hop blogs.

The Realist advice? His best hope is probably to sit back and let the Game self-destruct, something of which he's quite capable (he's already backing away from the hit on Beyonce) -- while working behind the scenes to maintain his own alliance structure and to prevent any defections over to the Game's camp. And it seems that thus far, that's exactly what he's doing. We'll see if that's a winning strategy.... or if he's just biding his time getting ready for a counter-attack."

Read the whole article here.

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic goes further and ties in Obama, Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez for the purpose of analogy.