30 Years Later, the Battle Continues: The Psychology Behind the Bridge Wars
I had considered doing a followup to the Roxanne War (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/the-roxanne-war-complete-chronology-of-hip-hops-greatest-saga/#comment-4278), on “The Bridge War” which basically superseded it, with all the relevant videos, but didn’t bother as I never liked the outcome of that one (though I did contribute heavily to the Wikipedia article). Also, for one, rap at the end of the Roxanne war entered the transition where in those few years inbetween it had become much more vulgar and violent, which I was against. Plus, there are’t nearly as many entries in the Bridge war, so all the relevant videos can easily be found, but here is the list of them:
(“12:41” aka Scott La Rock and crew including KRS, “Success Is The Word”, record dissed by Mr. Magic leading to retaliation)
MC Shan–“The Bridge”
Boogie Down Productions–“South Bronx”
MC Shan–“Kill That Noise”
Boogie Down Productions–“The Bridge Is Over”
Rockwell Noel & The Poet:
–“Beat You Down”
(When I first heard this one, his voice being much higher, I actually thought it was Shan, answering “The Bridge Is Over”, and that “poet” was just a description and not his name; and I was like YEAH! Now THAT’s more like it!”)
—“Taking U Out”
(Even stronger followup, though I thought was way too hard on Ms. Melody, who did not seem to be involved in the war. It’s really baffling that KRS never responded to that part of it. All I can imagine is that she and KRS must have broken up at the time, and so he didn’t care).
MC Butchy B—“Beat Down KRS”, mocks the whole reggae theme of “The Bridge is Over”
Boogie Down Productions–“Still No. 1 (Numero Uno mix)”. A remake of his popular “Still No. 1” that starts off adding who he’s not down with (Poet and the other “Juice Crew” members), in addition to who he is down with, and then does a whole new rap against Poet.
Related records: the radio DJ’s and one-shots (mostly ca.1988):
Roxanne Shanté–“Have A Nice Day” (ends on a quick shot at the BDP crew; ’87-8)
MC Shan–“Juice Crew Law” (some believe also contains shots at KRS)
Cool C–“Juice Crew Diss” (mocks “Juice Crew Law”)
MC Mitchski–“Brooklyn Blew Up The Bridge” (made fun of Shan’s on-stage appearances)
Craig G–“Duck Alert” (About rival KISS-FM’s DJ Red Alert)
Butchy B–“Go Magic” (Mentions “Juice Crew Diss”, and then attacks the “lipstick” of the KISS-FM logo).
Deuces Wild—[Chuck Chillout KISS ID] (Samples “South Bronx”, “…Chuck Chillout on the mix…“, and includes lines, “you turn the volume up, 107.what?…” [i.e. WBLS=107.5], and, apparently aimed at Magic: “You ain’t smackin’ no lipstick, you can just kiss this; you’re just an old man, finished in this business“, and ends with the ad libs “Let’s dis Magic”; “Madame Tragic!” and “Marley Moo Moo!”
Aftermath reference raps:
Boogie Down Productions–“Black Man In Effect” (Discusses the concept of “juice” and reiterates “I’m not down with a juice-crew”)
Poet + Hot Day—“Without Warning” (contains samples of “Numero Uno” and briefly answers one of them, but otherwise is general ‘ego’ rap)
Screwball (later Poet crew):
“You Love To Hear The Stories” (a followup to the original “The Bridge”, featuring MC Shan. Shan now protests “Nobody said it started there. But some playa hater tried to end a party there. Niggas didn’t care they burned it, put it in the air“)
“Bio” (anonymous reference with the citing of Doug. E. Fresh’s “You Ain’t Nothin” from “The Bridge is Over”)
QB’s Finest (showcase of Queensbridge hip hop artists)—”Da Bridge 2001” (Another followup to the original. Shan quips: “The Bridge was never over, we left our mark. The jam is dedicated to you and your boys, I brought my Queensbridge thugs to kill that noise”.
KRS One With Marley Marl, Hip Hop Lives album:
“Rising“: (KRS recounts the whole story from his perspective)
“The Victory“: featuring [by then, “Blaq”] Poet; (quashes their part of the beef)
How I chose sides
It seemed 9 [almost 10] years ago (wow, that long already) that battle was officially resolved by KRS teaming up with archenemy Marley Marl on an album, which included his strongest opponent, Poet in a duet rap.
However, I was always disturbed by what I would now call the “archetypal” implications of the original aftermath, of the obviously “strong” bass-voiced rapper “taking out” the weaker looking higher pitched voice rapper, which was the official narrative. And the latter is now beginning to react to this as well.
How I got to this position in this war: As I chronicle in my essay on the gradual downfall of rap http://www.erictb.info/rap.html I did not see Run-DMC in a favorable light, because of the fierce in-your-face aggressiveness and braggadocio of the “ego” style they introduced with “Sucker MC’s”, which quickly took over rap, and began transforming it, basically into the negative “gangsta” style in just a few years, where it had started out more positive, as party, talent and then “message” oriented.
Run, with rap pioneer Kurtis Blow (who also went from a message style to pure ego, dubbing himself the “king of rap”), and the others surrounding Run’s brother Russell Simmons (aka “Rush”) then formed a “mainstream” inner circle of rap, all dominated by ego-bragging, and culminating with their 1985 film Krush Groove.
(And “Krush/Crush” seemed to be a name that figured prominently in a thematic way. Run-DMC’s “Sucker MC’s” series of tracks were subtitled “Krush Groove I”, “Krush Groove II”, etc. even before the movie came out. These were named after an “Orange Krush” singing group produced by Simmons and headed by “Larry Laa [Smith]” whom the Run rap series drew beats from, and were mentioned in the first one. The early influence of these rappers were the “Cold Crush Brothers”.
So these figures seemed to mark in part, what I’m calling the rap “mainstream”. It seems the center of it all was “Rush” [Simmons] himself, whom those names were likely based on).
Major Rap Division begins
A sort of “counter”-movement began with Roxanne Shanté, who of course started off dissing UTFO, but then would later take shots at Run and Kurtis Blow. Her DJ, Marley Marl would later introduce MC Shan and others, who would go after LL Cool J and even Run-DMC (which Shan now claims to have ghost-written).
As stated above, I first began to become sympathetic to Shanté when I thought Sparky D’s (and later, UTFO’s own final) response was “unfair”. (I really got into the whole “story”, treating it as an audio “soap opera”!)
I of course knew Marley was associated with Shanté, as she praises him in her raps, just as all other MC’s did for their DJ’s back then (and this was the MC’s original function!) I didn’t know he was associated with Mr. Magic (not initially, that is. There was a clue in Shanté mentioning Magic “saving the day” in “the Queen of Rox”, but I didn’t know what exactly she was talking about).
They both discovered her together, in fact. (I later find out this latter point from the internet, telling how long I was in the dark on that!)
Back then, I just knew Marley always seemed to be involved with a lot of these dissident rappers coming out, several associated with the small Pop Art record label Shanté debuted on, who were independent from the mainstream.
So I came to associate Magic with the “mainstream” rappers because of his DJ album he put out c.1985, which had Run, Kurtis Blow, LL, Fat Boys, etc. (Not sure if it was part of the Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack series, as what I’m seeing now looks different. The one I think I remember is the one where he wore the white magician suit, and Vol. 1 looks different, though has a similar lineup).
This makes it funny how Magic could promote these rappers, but then also raise up these two others, to dis them.
If it seems strange that I didn’t know that Magic and Marley were such a big team, it’s because I never listened to their station, WBLS. I, as it is, was already on the “other side” of the radio battle going on at the time, with rival “KISS-FM” (98.7; WRKS), which I listened to (switching over from the old WKTU three years earlier, because they played Stevie’s “Do I Do” to death! I liked them so much, when I was in VA, I found an apparent sister station, “Kiss 96”, WQKS out of Williamsburg, but could only get the distant station from the opposite side of the dorm from my room).
Also, Shan would never appear in the “Rap Attack” series, and Shanté would not appear until vol.3, with “Have A Nice Day”. (Her entry in the Bridge War, several years later. I don’t even think Marley was mentioned on them either). Inasmuch as Shan and Shanté mentioned Marley on the records more than Magic, it was easy to miss the connection between them.
This series, I can now see, was a showcase of whoever was popular (and thus playing a lot), and not who he was necessarily “down” with.
I also knew nothing about the dispute between Magic and UTFO which led to Shanté’s introduction in the first place (something about some show they were supposed to do or something). So I saw UTFO as on the “mainstream” side. For one, they were associated with Whodini, who seemed pretty mainstream. Also, again, that “The Real Roxanne” was actually produced by them (to counter Shanté), and she would mention that “Larry Laa” person (of “Sucker MC’s” fame) in a favorable light, as if they were all “down”. Then Sparky D came to defend them from Shanté, and she was associated with a “Spyder D” who was on Profile, which was Run-DMC’s long time label. (The Rap Attack albums were also on Profile, perhaps partly explaining the selections on them.
So record labels also figured in my assumptions of who was “down” with who. I much more recently find out that she had a spat with Pebblee Poo, who was also on Profile, and made a name dissing the Boogie Boys “Fly Girl”, and both she and Spyder were also on the aforementioned Mr. Magic album).
You also had Doug E Fresh, who seemed to be mainstream (and was in earlier “mainstream” film, Beat Street), who would be dissed by Salt & Pepa’s debut, on Pop Art, and then Shanté would spoof “LaDiDaDi”, as mentioned in the Roxanne article.
The mainstream “Fat Boys” seemed be be countered by this new group called “The Skinny Boys” (and I think there was also a “Fat Girls” as well).
The even earlier pioneers, such as Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambataa, Spoonie Gee, etc. as mentioned in Kurtis Blow’s “AJ Scratch”, were of course respected by the mainstream, and thus could be seen as on the same side of the spectrum.
(Rush was said to be the person you had to go through to get “in” back then, but those who came before Rush were of course already in. A YouTuber named Karaceno4life, who seemed to be some sort of old time hip hop insider, recounts a “legend” that a rapper named “Swan Love” was who Run’s “Sucker MC’s” was actually aimed at, and I can’t find that info anywhere else. This was someone who was going to start a group called “the Force” with Run, but Rush and others thought his rhymes were “wack”, and so when Run-DMC finally came together, they thought this guy was bitter at them for not getting a deal; Run taking his style and mocking him by calling himself “Run Love” in the rap. That would actually make this the first “diss record” of hip hop and not “Roxanne’s Revenge”!)
So I, in my typical Ti “categorizing”—Ne “imagining” sort of way imagined rap divided into two camps, the “Krush Groovers” and the “Pop Artists”. (Perhaps I listened to too much politics, which I was becoming well aware of in that age of Reagan, with its clearly defined “Right and “Left”. So Kurtis Blow and allies were like the “right” wing (“conservative”, gatekeepers of “the old guard”), and Shanté and friends were the “left” wing (“liberal”, progressive).
I figured if Magic was down with the Krush Groovers, then I imagined the Pop Artists being featured on a similar DJ album by rival Chuck Chillout or Red Alert. IIRC, one actually did surface sometime afterward, and I clearly remember coming home from college one summer, winter or spring, and hearing Shanté actually doing a promotional for KISS! (Which further added to my ongoing homesickness when I went back. Trying to remember whether she mentioned Red or Chuck in that promo. This, well before the Bridge War, which became solidly centered around the two stations and their DJ’s. Sparky would later do a promo for Red, i.e. “Red! Where’s the beef? DJ Red Alert, gone berserk!“, around the era of the Bridge War, and one of the last things you ever heard from her).
Where the crew that would actually form around Magic was said to be the first “rap collective” (like the ones that began developing in the 90’s), in reality, all the Rush-associated acts (featured in Krush Groove) were in practice such a “collective” as well, but just did not name themselves as such.
So the whole point of all of this is, I came to like Shan, Shanté and the others they associated with because of their “countercultural” stance against the rap mainstream, whose egos had become way too bloated by 1986.
(You also then had Kool Moe Dee, having gone solo after coming out of the old Treacherous Three, going after LL, who had really hit big by then).
From “old” to “new”: Rap further divides
This ‘binary’ appearance of rap all changed with the Bridge War. First, what I called “Krush Groovers”, as the previous “mainstream”, was now starting to be called “the Old School” (a term I previously heard applied to older generations, particularly grandparents and before. Like Dad saying “[someone from his parents’ generation] is from the old school. They believed children should be ‘seen and not heard'”, for instance). The exception was LL, who was on the later end of that wave, and was called “mid”-school.
And now, a whole new crop of rappers coming out were called “the New School”. However, this time-like division began to break away from the old apparent divisions of rap. (Like Moe Dee was technically “old school”, even anonymously dissed as such in LL’s “Jack the Ripper”, in response to him having blasted LL as a “new jack” in “How Ya Like Me Now”, but in his solo career at least, was clearly estranged from what had by then become the mainstream “core” of the “old school” [i.e Rush, et.al] which LL was apart of; and was in some ways more like some of the new school rappers).
So KRS-One on one hand was also going against the mainstream, even putting down the whole notion of “kings” that defined the ego-style of the “Krush Groovers”, along with the rampant commercialism. But then he actually defended LL from Shan! He took a swipe at Run DMC and “Adidas”, but otherwise seemed to respect them. The rest of the “new school” emerging then—Eric B & Rakim, etc. also seemed to be counter-mainstream, but still respecting it. (They, to my surprise, were actually associated with Marley, but were not in the crew with Shan and the others, and were among those KRS would say he was “down” with). Public Enemy was even produced by Russell Simmons. While LL himself would soon go on to hook up with Marley!
So this lends credence to the claim that KRS and Scott La Rock at one point wanted to be in what by then came to be known as the “Juice Crew”, centered around Shanté, Marley, Magic and Shan. (Basically, arising from the core of the old “Pop Artists”; now centered around Magic, aka “Sir Juice”, and having left Pop Art and moving to a new label, Cold Chillin’).
I would have loved that. I think they would have been so good together on the same side, for they were all against the mainstream (save Magic). I would have loved to have all that intellectual lyrical genius on the “side” I favored, in contrast to the ego-tripping, “suped up” sellouts! I even imagine what it would have been like if they had been “down”, and perhaps “South Bronx” could have still been released, but not dissing the Bridge. It would just be like a compliment to it, like Cutmaster DC throwing Brooklyn into the mix in a followup referencing the Bridge war, and another group adding a rap about “Uptown”. (Only a few lines of “South Bronx” are actually directed specifically at The Bridge, and no names are even mentioned in that one).
I imagine, if this happened, then KRS might have directed all that energy, perhaps in unison with Shan, Moe Dee and the others, toward Run, LL and the rest of the so-called “kings”. THAT would have been a BOMB rap war! (KRS always did seem poised to potentially go after LL, like when asked, or more recently, actually say something and then apologize. LL may have been less likely to survive BOTH KRS and Moe Dee on his hide!)
I imagine a counterfactual version of “The Bridge Is Over” even, which could have actually been similar, and even go as far as to still maintain the Bronx vs Queens premise, but directed at the OTHER end of Queens (“Hollis is Over”? “…Can’t sound like LL, or Run DMC…”? and then twist one of their lines to claim they said hip hop stated in Hollis).
That then would have been much more suited, as Shan and the Bridge were not the ones “posing as ‘kings'” and claiming to be the center of hip hop, which was KRS’ whole premise beyond the battle. (And not even the “juice” moniker necessarily implies that, outside of their connection to Magic, who as it happens, was the real perpetrator). Shan is not the one who said he was the “baddest rapper in the history of rap itself” like LL (which is one of the things that drew Moe Dee’s ire. Karaceno has another video on a small beef between Shan and Run-DMC, where he points out that eastern Queens ⦅Hollis, etc.⦆ was basically more bourgeois and actually looked down on the poorer southern Queens and the Bridge. He points out that many of the Juice Crew members weren’t even from Queens ⦅some were from Brooklyn, etc.⦆ By all accounts, Queensbridge ⦅representing the “inner city” like the Bronx⦆, should have been on the same side as the South Bronx against eastern Queens!)
It should be mentioned, that at the time, I knew nothing about the real reason KRS launched his war against the Juice Crew, which was Magic dissing an earlier record. Scott LaRock (with KRS already by his side) had begun with a pair of good “message” raps, “Success Is the Word”, and “Advance”. By that time, these types of raps were very rare and basically out of fashion, and neither of them did well at all. It was when “Success” was slammed by Magic, that they formed Boogie Down Productions, aligned themselves with Kiss and Red Alert, and began the attack on Queensbridge.
But to me, only hearing the records coming out on the radio, it just looked like a tough guy picking on a weaker guy just to be “bad”. This is why I was totally put off by KRS, and never appreciated his messages and ingenuity back then. (If I knew the whole story, then I would have been more sympathetic, since the arrogance of the rap “mainstream” represented by Magic is precisely what I had been annoyed by; but still wish he hadn’t taken it out on Shan and the crew —and with all the others who would follow him in that. They weren’t the ones who were too puffed up and needed to be taken down a notch or two. He could have just focused on Magic. Even one of these diss followers, Mitch Ski pointed out that it was all falling on Shan: “you’re down with Magic and the whole Juice Crew, but the only one they’re dissing homeboy is you”. This blog https://blackceezar.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/10-reasons-why-krs-one-didn%E2%80%99t-diss-everyone-in-the-juice-crew-but-mc-shan/ covers this point as well).
Marley says in an interview that KRS singled out “Magic, Marley, Shan, Shanté”, because that’s who Magic said “is hip hop” when calling Scott’s demo “wack”. (Now imagine if Magic had pointed to the more popular “LL, Run DMC, etc.” Then we may have seen the teamup I had wished! And though I haven’t seen it said anywhere, since Run, LL and the others were way bigger than Shan and even Shante, the Juice Crew was perhaps easier to go after. ⦅He then basically went for the “weakest link”, but if that’s so, then it also means he is not as all-powerful as he puts himself out there to be⦆.
And it almost seems, Magic threw them under the bus by putting them out there like that, rather than the obviously bigger stars. Sensing a sort of betrayal of some sorts even back then, I actually used to think that the “Bridge Is Over” lines “Magic’s mouth is used for sucking” was “Magic counted you for sucking”, following “Instead of helping you out, he gets the same thing I gave you”, which I thought was “…he gives [you] the same thing…”; meaning took advantage of them! ⦅And that’s certainly how Shan feels now! So hearing it that way, the rap didn’t even sound like much of a dis on Magic at all! [Being that was the only mention of him]. This further made me think “what the hell is wrong with this guy? Why would he rap something like this?”⦆
Also, KRS says in an in interview that the term “the monument sitting right in your face” is specifically what he reacted to as implying hip hop started in the Bridge).
So rap was sort of now splintered into at least three main factions; the “Rush & friends” former “old school” mainstreamers, KRS and those other “new schoolers” he mentions as being “down” with him (Just Ice, Jungle Brothers, Rakim, etc.) and the Juice Crew collective. Even on the Kiss side of things, there was apparently rivalry between those closer to Chuck (such as the Dismasters), and those closer to Red (Jungle Brothers, etc).
The small Philly-based rap circle that remained centered around Pop Art would turn against Shan and Shanté in the war. Former Shanté protegé Steady B would hook up with Cool C (himself actually on another label) and co-write his raps, including “Juice Crew Diss” (mocking Shan and slut-shaming Shanté), and then even do a collaboration with KRS! (Though having likely nothing to do with the battle. Pop Art for while became an imprint of the Jive-RCA label KRS was on).
Public Enemy was sort of inbetween, being associated with the “Old School” Rush, but clearly apart of the emerging “New School”. Arising legend Big Daddy Kane was Juice Crew, but also in the same category as Rakim and the other respected new-schoolers.
In fact, in a video interview of Kane, he reveals that he and [other Shanté protegé] Biz Markie, were actually down with KRS, partly explaining likely why he did not get involved with the Shan battle, aside from ghost-writing Shanté’s entry, with one closing line of “Have A Nice Day” taking (at that) a rather weak shot at Kris/Scott. I had heard rumors of some level of kinship somewhere between the two sides, as well. It was so hard to believe or imagine! (Though Kane is also cited in a video as saying KRS was “the battle he wanted”).
He would have been a much better match for KRS, being in that same class of more respected, popular, clever and tougher sounding rappers. Even more clear, the rap “Wrath Of Kane” would say “Juice Crew’s the family, Slick Rick’s a friend of me; and Doug E Fresh, Stet, KRS and Public enemy”!
Biz and Kane and a couple others had become sort of a separate faction within the Juice Crew. Which may have also figured in their abandonment in the battle and eventual breakup, as Shan and Shanté were the “inner circle” with Magic and Marley, and Shan was said to speak down to Kane at times, so he and Biz were like the distant members. Biz even went as far as to do Red Alert promos for KISS right in the middle of this whole period!
(In passing, the soon-to-emerge West Coast, and later Wu-Tang collective and others would further splinter rap, and the notion of large factions would be irrelevant).
The record battle escalates, and then fizzles out
In both of the battles that ensured; KRS vs Shan, and the similar-to-KRS Moe Dee vs the similar-to-Shan LL, you had these tougher deep voiced rappers going against skinny higher pitched guys (who often tried to seemingly compensate by showing off their bare chests, as both Moe Dee and Mitch Ski would snap on). Only, the outcomes were very different.
Shan responded to “South Bronx” with “Kill That Noise”, but after KRS followed up with “The Bridge is Over”, Shan seemed to let it drop. Poet then took the reins (and occasionally others, such as Butchy B, who did mainly Mr Magic promos, dissing the “lipstick” of the KISS logo, but then added “Beat Down KRS”), but then it died down, and the final answer seemed to be KRS’s “Numero Uno rap”, which was a special version of “Still Number One” aimed at Poet.
There was so much that could have been said in a response, especially the way KRS was simultaneously claiming to be such a “unifier” and even peacemaker of rap (“I try to tell them, we’re all in this together…“; [I’m like “HUH?!”], “Stop the Violence”, etc.) yet causing such beef, and adding violence to the lyrics (and even the whole image on the album covers). And the rap pushed the self-glorifying egotism to the hilt, far beyond anything Run and the other old-schoolers had done; now claiming to be even greater than the “kings” (“I throw them down to the floor, they stare up at me in awe…”. Remember, he in the original version of this track, and “My Philosophy” broke down for us how “ruling” was futile, but here, even by the title of the track, he is claiming to rule over the “rulers”! Other lines included “Do not interrupt when I’m teaching; do not speak when grownups are speaking“, “I’m criminal minded, you’re soft minded; just like a dog, here’s a lyric go find it“, “WE ARE, without a doubt THE STAR”, “What possessed you boy, to go freestyle? What are you stupid? You must be senile! Poor child, I’ll pull that card and smile…”. and “I haven’t heard a decent thing from you yet; creativity is something hard to get” [Edit: more in comment below]).
Don’t know how anybody could ever swallow all of that and not answer! He is ingenious, but it just seemed to be increasingly going to his head, and he really needed to be taken down a notch or two, —or three, or a hundred or a thousand!
But (listening in vain on the Friday and Saturday night DJ shows, including switching to Magic/Marley at times) nothing ever surfaced. Shan made a couple more albums that didn’t seem to include any responses to it (at least not direct ones), but then dropped out, and Poet seemed to just disappear as quickly as he appeared.
(As we enter the 90’s, the whole setup dissolves, as Magic and Marley have left BLS, and are eventually replaced by DJ Premier, where I first heard his name on the rap shows. Being mainly a producer, it’s hard to find info on his run on the radio show; like it’s not mentioned on Wikipedia, though several broadcasts or albums produced from the shows are on YouTube. He would become very big, and get involved with a lot of acts, including both KRS and Poet, ultimately producing the “Victory” track featuring both. So he sort of brought back together a large chunk of hip hop, where the main division now became East vs West coast.
Inbetween, Chuck Chillout reportedly went to WBLS for a couple of years, but I didn’t remember that. Red Alert stayed at Kiss until ’94, then they were bought out and became R&B only, and Red and the rap all moved to new sister station HOT97.
Of note; I find that there was shortly after the Bridge War, a strong diss track against KRS by another “KRS”, Kool Rock Steady: “You Ain’t Nobody”. This was the guy who pioneered “hip house” ⦅that mix of hip hop and house music best embodied by “It Takes Two” and his own “Turn Up The Bass”⦆, and was Bronx rap pioneer Afrika Bambataa’s cousin, though himself from Chicago. He took offense at KRS-1 apparently dissing hip-house, and completely dressed down his claim to “rule the party” and claim to have such “knowledge”; speaking “like you did ten years of college”. (You wonder why KRS1 would be against hip house, when Bambataa’s “Planet Rock” and subsequent hits are what sparked off “house music” to begin with, and so were the first blends of rap with that electronic sound).
I never knew anything about this until now. I wish I had heard it back then, as he mentions the Bridge war, contrasting himself “I’m not MC Shan, or King Poet…”. I would have felt much more satisfied with that as the “final word” of that battle era. ⦅Not able to find whether KRS-1 answered it or not⦆. I wonder why Magic and the others never played this! Or, maybe they did, and it was when I was in the Air Force. I didn’t know where the rap-playing stations were in TX, CO and CA, and so had fallen out of the rap circuit during ’89).
The other main battle going on simultaneously, and its opposite outcome
Even though Moe Dee was clearly slamming LL, far harder than what KRS ever said to Shan; LL managed to “win” that one, by in essence “tiring him out”, where Moe Dee was the one whose career faltered, and he just dropped it after a while. The same with Ice T, and Hammer, who had also joined in making snaps at LL, which he would respond to in a later*[see track list, below] record (after they had already quit the record business. Basically, as we see these days, “winning a battle” is now defined by “making the last diss record”; i.e. “having the last word”, just as much as it is for winning an actual battle on stage. And that was how I saw it.
It’s basically a more upgraded and poetic version of the old “ranking out” game we used to do in the street ⦅where “your mama” often got called out, An early rap had even been done cautioning about this, back in the halcyon days of the “message” style⦆. So to “win”, they just needed to not give up, but then since the goal is now selling the records, that might make it more difficult to hang in there and devote so much time to a back-and-forth battle like that and have a company publish it).
LL, while looking and sounding a lot like Shan in the beginning, at one point deepened his voice and developed a lot of muscles, and became basically a sex symbol, especially with some of the sexual-but-in-a-more-‘romantic’-way raps he started doing. So this is what I believe saved him (in addition to being so connected to Rush anyway, whose enterprise expanded into a big multimedia empire). So he of course continued to “blow up” as a famous rapper and then screen star, and now is basically an “all-around” Hollywood celebrity. (Where Ice T and others also became bigger on screen, but not making raps as much anymore).
So in this instance, the “lighter”, higher pitched guy actually won for a change, but he was also apart of the highly commercialized “mainstream” (which I, again, never cared for, and was precisely part of Moe Dee’s whole issue with him in the first place).
So while not physical or especially lyrical “strength”, it was still “power” that prevailed; only in this case, commercial power. Which is really the greatest power in this country anyway, beyond the street environment hip hop is centered on.
Here is the list for their battle:
MD How Ya Like Me Now (1987 “dissing LL Cool J for some Behind-The-Scenes offenses”)
LL Jack The Ripper (1989; “Jingling Baby” also said to contain indirect shots at Moe Dee)
MD Let’s Go (1989)
LL To Da Break of Dawn (1990)
LL Mama Said Knock You Out (1990-1 “BLAAAAW, how ya like me now?”)
MD Death Blow (1991, answers/mocks both previous raps)
LL I Shot Ya (1995; very indirect references, via “Mama Said Knock Ya Out” and
“Ya jinglin, baby” references. *I thought this was where Ice T and Hammer were mentioned, but it was “Break of Dawn”. So really, LL’s years-later “last word” was weaker than the ones Poet/Shan aimed at KRS. But by that time, he really didn’t need to have the last word; his success was the “win”).
Article breaking down the whole feud:
(And the poster and most commenters say Moe Dee won, lyrically. “Even if Moe Dee replied only with Let’s Go, he still would’ve won”)
The bad “narrative” forming down to the present
So the natural narrative that arose was that KRS “took out Shan”, and even “took Queensbridge off the map” as others bragged for him. The remaining “Juice Crew” rappers, who were having better success— Biz, Kane, Kool G Rap, etc., just seemed to go their own separate ways. Shanté would increasingly launch an all out crusade against all other female rappers and then suddenly drop out (as they all responded, and she was dead silent in all these new simultaneous “wars” she started, and never came back. I was frustrated on how hard she was on them, who never did anything to her, compared to how relatively soft she had been with KRS and Sparky, who actually had started with her. This actually became another occasion for KRS to take a shot at her, as he even opened Lyte’s response, which also looped a sample of his harsh dis of her in “The Bridge Is Over”).
A new generation of rappers would eventually revive the “QB” name, most notably Nas. But by that time, I was so disgusted by the way rap had gone (of which the KRS hard core style “victory” was the par-for-the-course travesty), I no longer followed anyone (other than the Christian rappers appearing at Big Splash, particularly the Bronx-bred “Storytellas”, and would otherwise only know of the most popular secular raps you heard everywhere. I at times did watch Video Music Box or Yo! MTV Raps to keep up to date in the rap scene for awhile, but gradually lost interest).
This was the age where the aggression and violence rapped about were starting to spread to real life, and the whole image embraced the worst stereotypes of blacks and criminality, which were at the same time, festering virtually unanswered across the tracks in the white conservative sphere, which is figuring heavily in their now being able to rise up to elect a rather bizarre choice for president, with clear racist connections, and now their voice becoming more loud and radically blatant in what’s being called the “alt-right”, as a major rash of police, steadily taking out blacks in the streets occurs, and blacks criticized for complaining about it, because “look at all your thuggery and murders in the cities”!
(I just now find another good “allstar” positive message rap, from ’91, “Heal Yourself” from the H.E.A.L. Human Education Against Lies – Civilization Vs. Technology album, featuring KRS, Run DMC, Kane, Salt & Pepa, etc. I of course knew about “Stop The Violence”/Self-Destruction”, and West Coast’s “All in the Same Gang”, but these messages fell on deaf ears, while the whole “gangsta” theme it was speaking against, and were supported by many of the same acts, was what was taking over).
As late as almost 10 years ago (until the Marley/Poet collaboration), reflecting how KRS “won” over Queensbridge (after discovering and contributing to the Wiki article, and then KRS claiming to be “Hip Hop incarnate” and talking about creating a hip hop nation), and how it figured archetypally with all the life issues I was ruminating over in my own midlife battles (where the “strong” always “win” in this world), I was imagining, wishing I could go back in time and write the much needed response to “Numero Uno” and send it to Poet or someone. I would have taken an intellectual approach to match KRS’ (us being the same [Keirsey] “Intelligence Variant”; NTP “Engineer”, see below), which I believe was the real key to matching wits with him. Shan came back with a more defensive stance (though titled “Kill That Noise”), while Poet took the opposite extreme, of almost pure aggression (especially in the second record). It was intellect KRS had the final word with in “Numero Uno”, which the rap rubbed in their faces; with the aggressive tone only adding the further “street cred”.
Poet would say in an interview somewhere, he initially gave up, because KRS was becoming too big. There actually was another record after the second KRS diss, c.’89, which should have been the response to “Numero Uno”, that was called “Massacre”, and is typically battle themed, but is very general (as common at that time), and does not mention any names or rap line references.
I find this out not too long before the Marley-produced reconciliation, through internet resources where I would follow Poet’s career and see that he afterward joined other groups off and on, and would occasionally take little retrospective (though anonymous) shots at KRS (bearing that same latent old resentment as Shan, who guest starred in one of these raps), up into the 2000’s. “The Bridge was never over, we left our mark”, one of these went. But that’s not how it looked! What it looked like (as KRS is retelling it now) is that an all new “QB” was effectively created by Nas! It’s actually not so much about “Queensbridge”, which is a place; a housing project that will probably always be there. It was really about the “Juice Crew”, which was “over” after all that, and Nas and the new QB rappers are not considered apart of.
When reading of these little-known responses, it was like the whole thing was so foul. KRS “won”; his victory narrative firmly established, and he was by now pretty big, can brag about it in a “matter-of-fact” way, and the presumed “taken-out” losers seemed to give up in ’88, and can now only make these passive-aggressive little “ancient history” references up to over a decade later when everyone else and all of rap had long moved on and no one else was even thinking about that battle anymore.
Just now, in getting the above list of entries from the Wiki article, in converting this from a comment (on the Roxanne article) to its own post, I find that an earlier one of these raps, called “Without Warning” (performed as “PHD”) was a more direct response, sampling two bits of “Numero Uno”, but was otherwise similar to “Massacre” in being very general (i.e. addressing “rappers/MC’s” rather than naming one in particular. He does respond to one of the samples at the end, with “You called me soft?”, “What are you, bassin'”? and “Did we serve those punks? [yes]”. It was also ’91, which was three years after Numero Uno already. ⦅The rap is so clean in language though, compared to what was by then popular, and even his other stuff on the same album; with only one “N” word, and so seems older than that⦆).
I would never hear of any of these.
This ended when KRS put out the album with Marley which included a track with Blaq Poet. In the main track, “Rising”, he even spoke well of Shan, in explaining in the rap why a diss record was the only way he could get into the industry back then.
You didn’t hear much from Shan, who seemed to have retired completely from the industry. When you did hear from him in interviews, you could detect this long-standing old resentment. (In total contrast, Blaq Poet would two years later do an interview saying, regarding working with KRS, “What we did back in the day was real hip-hop. We didn’t really battle face-to-face but we got s___ out. Go back to making your songs because you’re going to waste the whole rest of your career talking about this nigga? Nah. Get it over with. Let the fans decide who won the battle. It’s not like you’re going to stop selling records. There’s too much pride and people are getting punked.” http://www.djpremierblog.com/2009/05)
Temperament/Type: the likely “personality” side of the clash
Becoming familiar with personality theory during this time, and typing everyone I could think of, Shan stood out as as a “Melancholy” temperament, which is very common in the black community. A pure Melancholy is likely an ISTJ type (introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging), whose main world view is “introverted Sensing”, which filters reality through past fact and experience.
So the type can hold on to a lot of resentment and never forget or let it go; hence being named “melancholy” in the first place. Yet, being introverted, it can be rather passive. So rather than venting quickly, they will hold it in, maybe even appear to pass it off and move on (which they will often pitch as a philosophy in life, especially when giving advice to others), but nevertheless let it build up and explode, after many years of non-resolution.
KRS on the other hand seems to be an ENTP (extraverted, iNtitive, Thinking, Perceiving) or the Sanguine-Choleric. This is a combination of the two “extroverted” temperaments, which (as most “classic temperament” profile systems testify) then seems to amplify the aggressiveness of both. (The other blend of the two, the similar ESTP, is the Choleric-Sanguine, which is also pretty aggressive).
KRS is obviously very “intuitive or “conceptual” (being a Five Percenter and/or “Khamet” [i.e. Metu Neter], which are very “heady” intellectual religions, with his name standing for “Knowledge Reigns Supreme”, which likely has a whole deep theme behind it, as do other Five Percenter and Khamet names and concepts), and seems to show Ti and Ne (introverted Thinking with extraverted iNtuition) “genius”. (BTW, Shan was also reportedly once a Five Percenter, but left. Never heard of anyone leaving the religion. This to me, is another evidence of an S preference, as S’s might not remain as intellectually committed to something like that).
I believe this “N” focus also leads to a problem, in concepts like “Criminal Minded”, and with the guns on the cover and all, which he always said was not promoting violence, but really is metaphorical [i.e. iNtuitive perspective] for street smarts (he has said specifically, the album cover mean “think violently, but act righteously”), and rap battle skill. This seems to end up getting taken literally [especially a tendency for those with a more Sensory focus] by many people.
And the processing of these implications will be largely subconscious, and thus can start being acted out without even thinking of it. That’s why I believe these concepts did still promote violence, even if they say they didn’t intend to.
Like the whole “take you out” expression, or “slaying MC’s”, KRS’s “bodybags” (“My Philosophy”), etc. which all literally mean murder, but of course are really metaphors for defeating rivals on the mic. However, during this time, the imagery was becoming more graphic, including guns, and even this far back, while the Bridge War never became physically violent, it could have, with Poet reportedly threatening to go after BDP armed (and he would say in one of the later raps that thankfully it never came to that), and then Just Ice would threaten the same when Poet dissed him.
So of course, a lot of the aggressive words are also defensive, against disses or even real life offenses, and thus would fall under self-protection (survival), which is a more “practical” [S] cause. Intuitive or not, who’s going to ignore actual threats from someone else?
This will add to the whole image being promoted and then, outright glorified (or at least “romanticized”). So then, beefs between industry factions would famously begin leading to death in the 90’s.
What it looks like, is that the rappers saw no contradiction in the different messages they were sending because they seemed to assume or expect people would take the whole “criminal/violence” imagery figuratively, but then take the calls for stopping the actual violence literally; but they didn’t realize that in many people’s psyches, it doesn’t get sorted out that way, and what actually ends up happening is that the violent imagery is what takes hold and gets acted out, while the calls to peace are then brushed off or ignored. Again, who can survive if we’re not prepared to fight and kill or be killed ourselves. We hope people will listen to “reason”, but if they don’t, then what else can we do but be tougher than they are?
Where other recording geniuses, such as Stevie or Steely, seem to be more Ti with Se (extraverted Sensing), which is useful for the melody and harmony of [true] “music”, rap has mainly the rhythm (with sampled or electronic background music beneath it), and is otherwise really spoken poetry (set to the rhythm), and thus doesn’t need as much of the Sensory mastery required for writing and playing full music. (A lot of artists advocating traditional music structure often complained about rap, and also other electronic styles, and how anyone could just throw it all together without even knowing how to play an instrument).
So the mastery lies in the words, rhymes and concepts.
ENTP is actually considered “role-informative”, which is softer than “directive communication”. This, from the Sanguine being in the “social” area, represented by the E and the “open” P. But in the leadership area, it’s the harder Choleric, which is the NT, which is about “mastery”, and is very competitive, and doesn’t back down. He does seem very “directive”, (acknowledging I could be wrong), but the next similar type, ESTP (which is common in the black community, especially in the “party” scene), I doubt, because I think he’s a clear NT.
(The “directiveness” analogue for the leadership area is “structure focus”, which definitely fits, and can lead to similar communication and behavior. And the Sanguine in the leadership area would not be as persistent in a battle.
Poet might very likely be an ESTP, the way he came out swinging fiercely, including at Just Ice and several other MC’s in another concurrent rap back then ⦅”eighty sa’en, I was crazy sa’en…” he recounts in “Bio”⦆; but quickly dropped it. Shanté might be that type also, behaving pretty much the same way.
Then there’s the ENTJ ⦅pure Choleric⦆, which is the next type I would go for if this is wrong, but he doesn’t really seem like a J, and his Thinking seems introverted (stimulated by internal analysis), not extraverted. The “directive” Choleric in the social area would be more “dry” or aloof-seeming in interviews and lectures.
On the other hand, in a recent FB type discussion, someone suggested LL was ESTP, but he actually seems more like KRS in overall personality, including having to have the last word, so I think ENTP. His background most likely not as rough as KRS, that’s why he doesn’t seem quite as “hard”, and he didn’t becomes as “philosophical”, so he would represent the more familiar “lighter” side of Ne dominance. Moe Dee might be INTP, like me. Similar to KRS with the lyrical ingenuity, but introverted, and thus not as aggressive).
But while Sanguine is “friendly”, it is also still aggressive, with a “hot temper” like the Choleric. They just don’t hold on to it as long. I could tell you about an ENTP typology friend, who loudly defended my wife and I from a restaurant owner or whatever, who wasn’t being totally nice (and she now seems ready to battle, over the escalating race-and-politics issues, in her new home state). The Sanguine often rapidly “swings” between emotional states. But the addition of the Choleric will give it more of an “anchor” on the aggressive side.
So KRS when he’s talking (not rapping) carries the “friendly” air of an “informative” type, and even his teaching style is very pleasant, where other types are very “dry”. So he looks like he’ll easily accept you and be cool with you, as long as you’re not attacking or dissing him. The social Sanguine (“Inclusion” area, or “Interaction Style” in type) is readily accepting of anyone. If you do get into a beef, then he responds rapidly and brutally and won’t back down. This is the Choleric, in the area of “Control” (or “leadership” or “action”, which is ultimately what Keirsey’s temperament groups are about), with the Sanguine’s social ‘extroversion’ (expressiveness) only fueling the fiery reaction. Yet at the same time, if time passes, and the other side is willing to quash the beef, then the accepting Sanguine will readily restore friendship and bear no resentment. And this is what we saw with the Marley and Poet collaboration.
30th year: The beef resumes!
So forward to this [past] year (as of 2016), Shan began doing new interviews, and basically reignited the old beef, and you can just hear all the old resentment coming out. Not following rap regularly, I would occasionally hear about this this past Spring, likely from Facebook posts, but didn’t follow up on it, and the months passed. You can see this progress here (this last one, just posted today; i.e. original “Roxanne” article comment time), with Shan even freestyling a 3+ minute rap in an over the phone interview (which really should have been done back in ’87), and then KRS in his usual fashion, quickly responding with a “hardcore” track.
Shan naturally resents the claim the KRS “took him out” and having to live with the ‘stigma’ of “losing” the battle. He would claim he wanted to record a response to “The Bridge Is Over”, but Marley Marl stopped him. (Likewise, he has a video saying Simmons similarly stopped LL from responding to Shan’s dis of him, “Beat Biter”).
So all of this coming out now is 30 years late (which KRS makes certain to mention in his response track). It looks odd to hold that for so long, and only now come out with it (it looks “passive-aggressive”, which is basically, in street lingo, all the more “weak”, so he better come back strong and stick with it), but this is how an introverted, but “directive” Si type will respond. Extraverted non-SJ’s will more quickly get into and out of a fight and think less about it. Also, ENTP is what’s called an “Aligning” type (Ti/Fe), where ISTJ is “Ordering” (Te/Fi). So tertiary Fi (introverted Feeling) is likely playing a part in Shan’s approach, and is not syncing with KRS’s tertiary Fe (extraverted Feeling), which favors external harmony and was evident in the willingness to resolve the issue in a conciliatory way (plus all his “[down] with us/against us” lines, like in the old battles).
I also wonder if Shan could be possibly INFP, which is a Phlegmatic or Supine, which are also pretty passive, and also even more likely to allow others to control them. The type is very close, cognitively, to the ISTJ, using the same functional perspectives in a slightly different order. I think I often don’t recognize pure Supines in the black community because they, from what I’ve seen, learn to hide their passive temperament behind the street toughness they learn from others (where I had the Choleric in the mix that resisted peer pressure to change my behavior). So they will look like all the Melancholies.
If so, Si would be tertiary (like it is for me), and still hold on to resentments like this, perhaps even more than the mature Si of SJ types.
If for some reason that much time had passed on a beef with me, and I still had resentment, but the other person was that friendly in resolving it, I might not have been able to just let it go like that, but would still appreciate the olive branch, and find some way to express my frustration over the negative consequences, and not come out swinging like Shan did. KRS really spoke well of Shan, on record (in “Rising”, even going as far as to call “the Bridge” a “dope rhyme”, now he’s of course taking it all back), and in interviews (saying he wouldn’t have had a career if Shan had ignored him, but he didn’t, because “he knew what hip hop is”). I would never be able to come out like this with someone who turned to speak well of me like that. I’m not sure what I would do. Perhaps do the interview freestyle, but not attacking like that, but nevertheless calling out the assertion made (where battling someone, claimed in a triumphalistic way “I took Shan out already”!) Really, I would prevent such a scenario in the first place by never having quit the battle in the first place, even if it meant leaving Marley right then. Nothing good could ever come out of swallowing something like that.
I would only come out like that once it is established that the beef is still on or at least unresolved.
If KRS is an ENTP, then Si is inferior, which is also fairly unconscious, but being a year or so older than I am, should figure more in consciousness now, as you can see evidenced in his rap “Rising” covering the recollections of how the beef started (which includes great detail, though not perfectly remembered. This to me is another evidence of him being an “Inquiring Awareness” or Si/Ne compatible type, and with the Ti/Fe, an “Enhancing” Intentional Style). So he will have a nostalgic recount of history, which we do see a lot from him elsewhere (like most notably in 1993’s “Outta Here”, which greatly resembled “Rising”; and he will bring up past facts, like against Shan now), but it is still part of an “inferior” complex, and avoidant or at least intimidated by too many negative past facts and details. For me, as a similar type: the introverted counterpart, Si moves up to tertiary, and is similarly nostalgic, and vulnerable-feeling. Though it is also closer to consciousness; close enough to really flare up at past negative occurrences.
Shan’s dilemma, and key mistakes
But as these are but divisions of reality, neither perspective is more “right” than the other, and the past is something that can come up (from the “shadows”) and wreak havoc, and so should be dealt with.
Given the overall “narrative” that has become entrenched, the man does have a lot of reason to be resentful! He got the really bum deal out of the whole thing. So upon studying the whole battle (especially when contributing to Wikipedia and learning all the details behind the scenes), I began lamenting the irony of KRS being angered by Magic, and yet he and Marley walk out of it with their careers unscathed (even getting bigger, in fact), while Shan takes the fall for their actions. Former Juice Crew rapper Craig G even later turned against him and effectively rubbed this in his face in a rap. Now hearing that Marley specifically kept him from fighting back more, makes it all the more messed up.
And Shan also points out the business aspect of it, where Marley (actually his cousin) was very shrewd, and as with as many other producer-performer associations, apparently did not give him all he was due.
(So he also focuses on the money aspect of it, answering the natural charge that he’s probably only doing this now because he “needed money”. So he’s claiming to have been doing well over the years, with the proceeds off of the hit single Snow collaboration and others).
If Marley was really the problem, you wonder why, as KRS says, he didn’t pick up the battle all of that time inbetween (after he parted ways with him). But what he seemed to always express during that whole time, was that he ‘didn’t have to’ respond; for “I gave him a career already” [edit: quote in comment below]; “it made us more famous”, etc. Even on “Kill That Noise”, his answer to being accused of saying hip hop started in Queens was simply “they’re only trying to jump on the bandwagon” (which Cool C would only throw back at him). While not quite as braggadocious as LL and the other “kings” on the mic, he did have an arrogant streak, as in the way he treated Kane, and apparently Craig G as well, and stuck his nose up at joining in “The Symphony” rap. He basically isolated himself, and also underestimated the threat before him, until it was way too late.
If that weren’t enough, I’m reading that (likely based on this notion), they would do shows together, and KRS would perform “The Bridge Is Over”, and Shan would basically play along with it!. In fact, Juice Crew member Masta Ace has a video (YT v=YkMYu_wGEZA) pointing this out, and saying “You get on stage, with a guy who’s dissing you…the song is dissing you, and you’re doing ad-libs. Once that happened, it’s over! It’s squashed! There’s nothing else that needs to happen, just high five; keep it moving”, and thus begging them to stop this now. There was also the similar well known Sprite commercial, showing them in a boxing ring, with the groove of “The Bridge Is Over” playing, and they both ad-lib something to the effect of KRS winning. Even back then, I didn’t like that whole image being presented!
(BAD MOVE! I would never do something like that! You don’t do something like that all that time, and then do a turnaround and revolt against it later.
This is one of the things that makes him sound Supine or Phlegmatic, where I, again have the Choleric in the mix, that would never go for something like that).
I, right after KRS and Marley’s reconciliation, would then enter a very similar battle online, with a so-called “type expert” who didn’t like me sharing my ideas on a list. We would go back and forth off and on at different times, then there was a whole blowout that caught me off guard, and I felt totally humiliated and needed to regroup. As the type concepts, which I was still learning, were involved, I even came to have some uncertainty about my type, and then tried to consider some of what the person was saying and move on. This “move on” part would later be used against me. But when I saw how the concepts were being twisted (to justify the other person’s own rash behavior based on alleged “mutually shadow functions” in particular archetypal positions, which supposedly couldn’t be “coped” with), and then finally verified my real type, the person felt attacked, and suddenly came back snarking, anchored by an [ever since] accusation of me going back on a “truce” we had and reigniting the beef. Not only was it not a real truce, but the person had been making snarky or gloating remarks about the whole affair over the course of months in the interim, (and then have falling outs of their own with others as well and storming off from that; this after having tried to make me the black sheep of the group. The person felt “railroaded” off the list when challenged by the others, but now this is being tagged on me).
In further clashes (including where I went back and tried to answer earlier comments I wasn’t able to answer before, and then the spouse eventually taking over after the person cut me off completely), I would (among other things) be chided for “holding on” to that stuff for so long. These are introverted iNtuitive (NJ) types, for whom Si is “shadow”, so past stuff isn’t as relevant, and should just be forgotten. However, the whole point of the theory is that this stuff, when unresolved, does still remain in the “shadow” from where it does arise and cause problems.
I admit I should have handled it much better, but that should have made it all the more clear, especially to them, being the primary online teachers of the archetypal model of type, that the introverted Feeling they constantly pointed out was a “Demonic” function that undermined my whole aim and position, rather than being “supportive” as a preferred function.
I mention all this, because I can identify with Shan’s position, and made a similar mistake in not taking an opportunity for a better more straightforward resolution earlier on; but the difference is that I didn’t play along with it, but was rather dealing with someone who takes a totally different tactic than KRS, in turning the tables and casting you as the aggressor and getting their “last word” by taking the defensive position and shutting you out, but nevertheless getting their attacks through via others.
So still, it would carry a stigma, as he recognizes now, and KRS mentioning “taking Shan out” one last time seemed to be the last straw. In fairness to Shan, this is really what “re-ignited” the beef. Yes, he may have “quashed” it on his end by playing along, but if the beef is really quashed, then the winner shouldn’t go gloating about it, for then it’s not really “quashed” on his end; it’s simply “won”, which implies it’s still “a thing”; it’s still implicit; hence being able to be brought up anytime, to be bragged about. (Especially if he ever performs “The Bridge Is Over”, and as an all time hit, how could he not? So it’s technically “past”, but unless the loser has died, it’s still lying dormant, and has the potential revived. It’s not a stable situation, it’s a “false-resolution” [scientifically, a “false-vacuum”], as I called my own experience, which is easily unraveled by poking the wound with careless acts or statements). Some say Shan will only add another defeat to the one 30 years ago, and if he would leave it alone, then he would be remembered more for the positive side of his career. But not when KRS keeps bringing up “taking him out”!
So in reality, both of them messed it up!
Where to go from here?
I would like to see them resolve this on stage (and you can throw in the LL-MoeDee battle that never occurred; that LL had apparently shied away from back in the day), and hope Shan can do it, not being as active as KRS all these years, and appearing [visually] frail (which KRS and everyone is attributing to the crack I believe he has admitted to recovering from). Though he has actually started to release a few new singles, (adopting the modern 90’s to the present Eminem etc. influenced rap style, which is of course hardcore and vulgar), and he does seem to still have the voice. He does say he has pages of rhymes written for him, that he “won’t know where all of this is coming from”. Wow; 30 years of held-in resentment, welling up like that!
KRS released a second single dissing him, apparently part of an album project coming out, and he’s basically waiting for a response. Shan’s responses now are mostly by interview. It sounds like when asked, Shan is pointing to the moneymaking aspect of the situation. It’s pointed out that this might actually sell. Some commenters are saying this is just what hip hop needs today, since they’re all in agreement that the modern Southern based style has rendered hip hop “dead”. So I hope that doesn’t become a cop-out.
While he’s making much of the fact that they never had a live battle, and thus Shan couldn’t have been “taken out”; it’s still true, that it could have contributed to his downfall, or at least on the surface, it looks like it. So that technically would be “taken out”. He draws the analogy to him dissing LL, so he obviously didn’t “take him [LL] out”. But if it had created the “stigma” he even testifies to, then it could be said he [Shan] was taken out. But instead, LL never went out; he got bigger and bigger in fact, and that’s what makes the comparison impossibly false. (With Cool C, who he also mentions, he was already being barraged by KRS, so for that reason, no one would ever attribute taking him out to this one record act that briefly joined in. However, the similar Mitch Ski, who did a similar diss record around the same time, would actually claim in that record that he, representing “Brooklyn”, took out the Bridge, while South Bronx only “helped us out”. That’s what Shan could have mentioned. BTW, Cool C, hooked up with Steady B in rhyme and in real life crime, has for years been on death row for a murder, which keeps getting stayed, while Steady faces a lesser life in prison as an accomplice).
The response (both spoken and the rap) Shan has done so far seem good (even liked by some commenters). KRS’s disses are ingenious and intimidating, but there are holes in them you can go after, which Shan did in the interviews. Like mocking his “four, three, two, one”, and some sort of scatting he was doing (“deedle, deedle, deedle” or something like that), which are basically “filler”, which may make for an ingeniously nice sounding product as in many of his raps, but (as in that case), it can get silly (Shan called him a “Care Bears rapper” on that), where again, a more intellectual content would be stronger. Crediting Nas for resurrecting QB, by claiming “Shan” is just “Nas spelled backwards”, while again, a strong insult, is also really silly if you think about it.
Shan also pointed out “You ain’t even from the Bronx”, which was a great slam, but again, is 30 years too late, as the whole Bronx vs Queens aspect of the battle is long past relevance. Perhaps that would have been in his immediate response to “The Bridge Is Over”, where it would have been a perfect comeback, instantly blowing up the whole premise he built his career on! We would possibly look back on that battle very differently today. (Though perhaps it wasn’t as widely known back then that KRS wasn’t originally from the Bronx. They all seemed to grant it to him, and he did live in the Bronx at the time. I remember hearing later, that he had been in Brooklyn before, and this where he was actually born, and I immediately thought this made the whole “South Bronx” premise ironic, but it wasn’t until later, with him telling more of his life story, including where he had been homeless and basically all over the place, that it was more clear).
Being an introverted Thinking (TP) type like me, logical consistency is what our rational drive is, and we like to pick out inconsistencies in others’ logic (and even our own). You see him doing this all the time, when discussing race and politics (like Malcolm X, who he is rather similar to, and I also believe was ENTP). But we of course are not perfectly logical, and so will miss inconsistencies in our own logic, especially once the ego becomes fixated upon a particular view of something. Hence his weak spot will be inconsistencies, like claiming to be a peacemaker while promoting beef and violence (which my Ti easily recognized. It’s judged “false” or “incorrect” according to my own analysis of the situation). There’s also several videos of old guys from the Bronx questioning some of his recounts of the history of hip hop up there, especially regarding the Zulu Nation. (Which would figure all the more being he wasn’t originally from there. Again, Si is inferior if he’s driving off of dominant Ne, which can get caught up in inferred ideas and outright flights of fancy if not grounded enough with the judgment function. And those guys interviewed might be the typical ISTJ’s whose whole main perspective is Si, so they would remember everything clearly).
Evidence of this is “shadowy” (rash, sudden) reactions when they are pointed out. The PM Dawn rapper reportedly had claimed KRS was not “practicing what he preached”, supposedly leading to the physical attack on him. He was trapped and the intellect had reached its end; he felt his integrity was at stake so he reacted (Demonic extraverted Sensing, taking the opportunity to bum rush the show) and then came up with a very non-intellectual blanket justification; that he was “light attacking darkness” or something like that. (No explanation of what defined light and darkness in that case and what determined him being on the “light” side. He was the one caught in a lie. As I mentioned in the above fine print regarding my own experience, a “demonic” eruption like that can undermine your aims.
I just now see in an edit for this, that this actually led to Das Efx and Ice Cube jumping in, to call him a hypocrite, and he released “We In There” basically calling out the whole “gangsta” image ⦅e.g. they just “bit” Criminal Minded⦆, saying they aren’t actually down to shoot nobody, ⦅i.e. like they always rapping about⦆, and are not actually “running from the police”, but would make good prey for the prison rapists. Never heard this, and never knew he actually went after the gangsta premise, including a major West Coast rapper, whom, even he, apparently never responded.
You always used to think of the contrast between the tough street “hood” who is either not very intelligent, or if he is intelligent, it is mis-directed and never put to good use; and the diametric opposite intellectual “nerd”, who couldn’t last in the streets and thus stays inside in the books, and this guy is like the total “coniunctio” of them; the best of both wrapped up in one!)
In a more organized “battle”, such as a show, or even response tracks, where it’s already clear you’re battling the other person, and you’re already saying all sorts of hard disses against him, hopefully he wouldn’t get physical like that, but he could still be trapped in his own words.
For now, the internet is conveying the battle, and that’s allowing both sides to get their shots in. Fueling the fire was Karaceno4life, who has been rigorously chiding Shan for reentering the battle (which will “just make the defeat worse”, and talking about “you didn’t learn the first time; he has to ‘school’ you all over again”), and leading to an actual social media battle between the two of them. (Twitter—>Instagram video—>YouTube).
When hip hop started, battles were on the mic. When they became big enough to start making records, in the 80’s, then battles were on “wax”.
So now, the internet is the new medium, and we really don’t have to wait for a new record to be pressed anymore for them to answer each other. (Like commenters on these videos argue either way, and so the fans, once totally voiceless can be like the foot soldiers launching the two sides’ attacks against each other for them. So some have pointed out, for instance how Shan is the one who tells the truth, while KRS, or the YouTuber himself distorts things.
Of course, social media doesn’t require the same skill as the mic; whether live or even in the record studio. But it’s something, now). At least Shan got to finally break his silence, and “Kill That Noise” is no longer his final statement in the battle. Perhaps some sort of resolution can come through that.
So if they do have their showdown, in whatever form, then perhaps afterward, they too can finally team up, as other fans seem to be wishing.