It says a lot that rappers Nas and Jay-Z squashed their beef, given that Jay is rumored to have biblical knowledge of his baby-mama and put it out there for the world to hear. This, probably a punk move on Jay’s part. Leon said it best, but wveryone out there knows the rules: no women, no kids. So color me stunned at this most recent beef, between 50 Cent and Rick Ross, each one evoking the names of their baby-mamas, with Fiddy going as far as taking Ricks’s baby mama on a shopping spree after letting her air him out and offering her a book deal. This kind of thing moves records—both Rick and Fiddy know that—but it also gets people killed.

I can remember the first hip-hop beef: UTFO vs. The Real Roxanne. I appreciated the artistry of rappers with the courage to exchange conflicting world-views head-to-head.  Then L.L. Cool J and Kool Moe D went at it, which was more a case of New School vs. Old School, not unlike Ice T going at Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em some years later. I think both of these battles inform and edify the hip-hop community about the importance of history and perspective. I was an intern at Vibe Magazine when the Biggie/Tupac beef jumped into full swing, and I knew nothing good would come of it. Because, like hip-hop culture at its essence, beef-type conflict is made for men. When you start involving women and children, then you cross a line: you enter into a place where the conflict cannot be easily quashed. You raise the stakes into the realm of grown-man honor and respect, insuring that inevitably, someone will get hurt or killed. I advise both 50 and Ross to ease back. Because snapping on someone’s music is different than snapping on someone’s misses.

Single Father, Author, Screenwriter, Award-Winning Journalist, NPR Moderator, Lecturer and College Professor. Habitual Line-Stepper