Competition is a good thing. It pushes people to work harder and be more creative. That drive to prove to the world that they're the best has led musicians to some incredible heights. After all, competition gave us Pet Sounds and "Ether."
Yet in the '10s, that competitive spirit has been pushed aside in favor of petty bitchiness. No longer are people interested in proving they're the best -- they just want you to know their opinion, no matter how mundane or uninteresting.
Whether you blame it on the 24-hour tabloid news cycle or the ability of social networking to air our opinions the second we have them, the end result is a crop of feuds staggering in their stupidity. Worse than the stupidity is that these feuds haven't led to anything interesting musically.
Here is just a small sampling of artists more interested in press releases and Twitter updates than they are in putting out quality tunes.The Beef:
Azealia Banks vs. Iggy AzaleaHow It Starts:
Iggy makes theXXL
magazine 2012 Freshmen Class. Banks complains about this on Twitter.Best/Worst Part:
Banks deletes all of the T.I. songs she has from her iPad.
Banks came out of nowhere at the end of 2011 with her single "212." It was a hit with bloggers across the country and put her up as a name to watch in 2012. The fact that she didn't make the Freshmen Class this year was a bit surprising, but probably not that big of a deal.
Banks claims that the reason she was offended by Iggy getting a spot on the list is because she was offended by the fact that Iggy, a white Australian, referred to herself as a "runaway slave master" on the track "D.R.U.G.S."
Since Rocks Off can't read minds, we have no way of knowing if Banks really was offended by the line; however, we do think it's weird she didn't bother to bring this up until after the XXL cover dropped.
The feud officially jumped the shark when T.I., owner of the Grand Hustle Record label to which Iggy is signed, got involved. After a bit of back and forth between both parties, T.I. went on the radio to refer to the situation as "bitch shit" and suggested Banks get a man to address him instead.
Banks did the only thing a responsible person could do in that situation: let everyone on Twitter know she was deleting all her T.I. songs from her iPad. Here's hoping she pirated the tracks in the first place instead of buying them.
The Beef: Steven Tyler vs. Joe Perry, Round 427 How It Started: Tyler takes a job on American Idol. Perry finds out via press release. Best/Worst Part: Aerosmith agrees to perform on Idol's season finale.
That the members of Aerosmith would argue about something comes as no surprise to those of us who have ever had the misfortune of sitting through their episode of Behind the Music. Some bands are born to make great music and not get along with each other; most don't build a brand on it.
Perry's agitation at Tyler's new day job was pretty silly. Sure, a phone call to give the rest of the band a warning about the announcement would have been nice, but you know what's even nicer: The pile of cash they were all going to make once their catalogue sales rose due to Tyler's participation on the show.
CBS, experts at knowing a good thing when they see it, jumped at the opportunity to feature the band's tension on 60 Minutes. In the process, Tyler found out all the mean things the rest of the band doesn't like about him, and the band got to claim the things they said were taken out of context. CBS, meanwhile, made news out of non-news, which is a pretty good hustle when you think about it.
In the end, like all great bad music relationships, money trumps all. The band is set to embark on a tour this summer. How are they kicking it off? With a performance on the American Idol season finale, of course.The Beef:
Rah Digga vs. Tyler, The CreatorHow It Starts:
Tyler is a professional troll. Rah Digga responds on "The Nigga In Me."Best/Worst Part:
They pose together at the Paid Dues Festival.
The only thing worse than a dumb feud is a fake one. You would think that artists would have learned from the great 50 Cent/Kanye West fake beef of '07 that there isn't a lot of money to be made pretending to hate someone, yet here we are.
You can argue the merits of his lyrics and rapping ability, but you would be hard-pressed to argue that Tyler, The Creator is a bad businessman. He's managed to turn his youth from a liability into his biggest strength. What he lacks in years of experience, he makes up for in being a professional troll.
Although the likes of B.o.B. and Tegan and Sara have authored replies in his direction, they sadly miss the point. It doesn't matter what he says, and what you say to him matters even less -- his fan base doesn't care what you have to say.
And so Rah Digga takes exception to his lines about her and MC Lyte and records a diss track, demanding respect from new-school audiences. Blogs celebrate that finally someone is standing up to Tyler.
Too bad that neither party was interested in actually going anywhere with the "beef." Less than a week after "The Nigga in Me" hit the net, the pair posted a photo together on Twitter. If only real feuds could be settled so easily.
The Beef: Black Sabbath vs. Bill Ward How It Starts: Bill Ward pulls out of the Black Sabbath reunion. His picture disappears from their Web site. Best/Worst Part: The average age of the four men involved is 63.
Most fans thought it was too good to be true: Black Sabbath were reuniting to record a new album and tour. It was to be their first album together since the late '70s and although no one could predict its quality, it was still something to be excited about.
That excitement lasted for just over six months, until Bill Ward revealed he was no longer participating on account of not getting the contract he felt he was due.
Bill Ward is a grown man who has to look out for himself. If he feels he isn't getting his proper credit, then he has every right to walk away. No one would hold that against him.
On the other hand, his request to have his image removed from the Black Sabbath Web site is just weird.
At least that's the story so far, anyway. After an uproar over his deletion from various photos on the official band Web site, the band put out a statement that says Bill asked to be removed for the duration of this new reunion so that no one was confused about his status with the group.
It's an awkward situation for the fans having to watch their heroes comment on the contents of photos over 30 years old. It's a situation made more awkward because it's obvious in many of the photos that someone is missing.
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Most of us probably didn't expect much from a 2012 Sabbath release, but the idea of the original four working together was a nice one. Fans want to root for legends.
It's a shame that it's all being overshadowed by contracts and photographs.