I love Hip Hop. As a result of my love for Hip Hop - I LOVE rap beef. No matter how low emcees go - I live for it because I feel like it forces rap to upgrade itself and evolve again. Rap FREQUENTLY goes through seasons of being really lazy and boring - and emcees put little to NO effort into being great, or being witty, or really writing good rhymes. I have found that a good rap beef will force innovation. Because when somebody starts talking about what they did to your baby mama or announces to the world that "YOU ARE HIDING A SON" - you have to either kidnap their childhood pet and snapchat yourself sitting at their mama's house with it - or you have to level up so hard that it makes your opponent seem silly at the end of the day.
One of my favorite rappers of all times is Jay Z. I've never said this out loud but - Jay Z lost that rap beef with Nas years ago. He did "Takeover" (which we all know was a classic) but then Nas did "Ether" and... well... THEN END! Jay Z responded with "Super Ugly" and that was just - wrong. It was sad, actually. BUT - in the end, that loss made Jay Z better because he stopped talking about the beef / like legit just went silent / and reemerged as a better rapper, a better businessman, signed Nas a few years later to his label, and basically solidified himself as the best rapper alive over and over again with every album he has released in the last several years. Debate your mom on this fact - not me. Bye.
Then there's the recent rap beef between Pusha T and Drake. I have no energy to even recount the horror of what has happened in this rap battle but Pusha T called Drake out in a song on his latest album, Drake responded in normal, "I'm so tired of y'all coming for me as a way to sell records" Drake fashion - then Pusha T basically tore all of our "Innocent/Corny Drake" dreams to smithereens when he told the world that Drake was hiding a child in his follow up to Drake's response.
So what did Drake do, in response to this major upset?
He did not talk about the fact that Pusha T has had that same forever protective style that does not seem to have grown at all since "Grinding" came out when we were in high school.
He did not call Kanye out for being a petty, messy, gossiping auntie.
He did not report the drug stash that Pusha T is always rapping about to the FBI.
He just stayed silent. For weeks. As a Drake fan - as a rap fan - as a battle rap fan... It was painful to experience. But he was silent and, to be honest, I stopped holding my breath hoping for a response - which in turn, caused me to stop thinking about how bad Pusha T did that boy a few weeks earlier. Drake. Just. Stayed. Silent. And we all (for the most part) let it go.
Then yesterday, he dropped a new video to a song on his upcoming album, that was the Degrassi Reunion that everyone that loved the show Degrassi had been wanting forever. And what we are talking about is that reunion. We aren't talking about his beef anymore. We aren't even talking about Pusha T's album anymore.
What we can learn from both Jay Z and Drake is that sometimes when you take a loss, it's better to just be quiet, take that L, regroup, create/release something new, and change the narrative.
This is what me, Drake, and Jay Z all have in common. When I take a loss I know how to take my loss with dignity. I get quiet for a minute, I regroup, I create something new, and I come back better than ever - to the point that you might forget that I just took that L a minute ago.
Losing does not always have to be a bad thing. If you are willing to learn the lesson that the loss came to teach you, remain gracious in your loss, regroup, and start again - you have the ability to turn your loss into a huge win! We do a lot of talk about winning but we don't do enough talking about what it looks like to lose and still win. Especially for those of us that believe that ALL THINGS work together for the good... even a humbling moment of losing.
I'm interested in knowing what loss you've experienced that you learned something from in the end. Or - what loss have you experienced that you wish you would have handled differently? Send me an email to freepeople (at) thefreepeopleproject.com and share your story with me. It's actually not too late. You can still turn any "loss" into a win.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
EbonyJanice Moore is a womanist scholar and activist doing community-organizing work, most specifically around black women’s body ownership as a justice issue, and equal access to education and pay for women of color in the U.S. and in several African countries. Her research interests include issues pertaining to blackness, woman-ness, and spirituality - most specifically black women's use of spirit, conjure, and/or the supernatural as a tool to impact social justice, and the pluralism of Black Christianity and the interconnectedness of the Southern Black Christian experience with Indigenous African religions and African Spirituality. EbonyJanice has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Political Science, and a Master of Arts in Social Change with a concentration in Spiritual Leadership, Womanist Theology, and Racial Justice. Plus she is a Hip Hop Womanist and knows all the words to "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" and mostly wants you to be impressed by that.