The New York rappers Ma$e and Cam’ron gave us some post-Thanksgiving entertainment over the weekend by releasing diss tracks against each other.
On Friday (Nov. 27), Ma$e released his scathing cut “The Oracle,” where he accused Cam’ron of stealing from his former artist Juelz Santana, moving to Florida during his beef with 50 Cent and leaving Jim Jones to fight the members of Junior M.A.F.I.A.
Afterwards, The Dipset leader came back with “Dinner Time” and refuted many of his former friend’s claims. He also landed some well-aimed blows and shifted much of the conversation from Ma$e’s song to his own.
Cam’ron also brought up that Ma$e was a pastor and said he did it to trick people into giving him money. On top of that, he accused the former Bad Boy artist of running a Ponzi scheme.
Soon after, Ma$e talked about being a pastor when he broke down the lyrics of “The Oracle” on Genius.
“All I did was go from the hottest part of my time of life and chose to use that to help inner-city youth,” he stated. “You may call that church, but that’s helping the inner-city, that’s helping families,” he wrote. “I don’t see nothin’ wrong with that. I don’t think nobody intelligent will see anything wrong with taking your strengths and using it to help people. That’s really not a weakness. It’s called charity.”
The relationship between both Harlem natives goes back to when they played basketball together at Manhattan Center High School. Later they would connect with rappers McGruff, Bloodshed and the late and very much respected Big L to form the group Children of The Corn.
Throughout the years, Cam’ron would often send shots at Ma$e in interviews and songs, while the rapper-turned-pastor-turned-rapper again barely responded. Of course, all of that changed once “The Oracle” dropped, which folks are still talking about.
As it now stands, both rappers seem to be on decent terms again since they contacted each other on social media and squashed their beef. But later Ma$e reneged on the truce and made it clear that he and Cam weren’t friends at all.
The remaining question is who won the battle?
Is it Ma$e for wrapping his insults to Cam’ron in a slew of well-worded punchlines and metaphors? Or is it Cam for coming right back just a couple of days later and defending himself with lyrical force?
Either way, A.D. Carson, who’s an assistant professor of hip-hop at the University of Virginia, said the battle between the rappers was good for hip-hop.
“It’s cool that you’re hearing something about these particular artists that ultimately ends with their reconciliation after a weekend, after a couple of back and forths,” he told Atlanta Black Star in an exclusive interview. “Because in the history of this type of discourse there’s always a potential for those words to turn into things that occur outside of the recording booth. So there’s the hope that it doesn’t escalate to that.”
“But in the spirit of competition, it likes ‘Okay, Ma$e brought it. This is interesting. Let’s see what Cam does,’” added Carson. “And you hear what Cam does, and now you like jump in the message group and you’re like ‘Okay, so you know, who took the L?’”
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Carson, who received his Ph.D. at Clemson University and created a 34-track hip-hop album for his dissertation, also spoke about where battle rap fits in today’s hip-hop climate. Currently, the young professor teaches a course called Writing Rap and despite what many older rap fans may think, a lot of young people are still interested in strong lyrics.
“That’s another one of those comments that [creates] the careless lumping of everybody who’s born in a particular year to like intellectual, aesthetic, artistic appreciation levels because they’re born at the same time,” said Carson.
“Because there’s several artists who couldn’t exist if people didn’t appreciate lyrics … You wouldn’t have a J. Cole or a Kendrick Lamar, even Joey Bada$$. If people didn’t care about particular content then we would only have one kind of artist,” he added.