The Evolution of the Hatebeast

Vic Rosecrans explores the swift and merciless nature of internet hate.
By    December 10, 2018

Rosecrans Vic just got subtweeted by a low rider model the other day.

The internet can turn on you in a blink of eye for a misunderstanding—a series of subliminal or direct tweets towards a more popular rapper, or a cold bar that is so catchy it flips fans into foes. Being labeled corny, whack, boring, a snitch, a weirdo, or being accused of having Twitter fingers, by an overwhelming amount of people on social media can cause real life damage to artists’ self esteem, as well as overall perception, which leads to a decline in popularity. When the internet turns on you, it becomes extremely difficult to remove that stigma and go back to the way things were prior. When an artist has trendy hate plastered to them like Venom’s black symbiote is to Eddie Brock, it’s nearly impossible to eradicate unless you score a hit record and turn it all the way up.

Tweets like,“I need a producer to send me a hard ass beat because FUCK Vic Mensa” by @PrydeKnxwledge- are what you will read when you search “Vic Mensa” in a Twitter search bar right now. Juxtaposing an act with an artist who has been bitten by the venomous hatebeast is always a winning formula for retweets and likes. A young kid who became a fan of hip hop only because he loves Lil Pump and has yet to hear J. Cole’s music, may only read negative things about Cole online such as “J. Cole is boring” and accept that as a fact. Or whenever a celebrity dies and people start tweeting, “Why couldn’t it have been Wale?” many who don’t actually wish death on Wale or may not even be entirely familiar with him want to join in on the laughs and participate. Hypebeasts love to hype, and hatebeasts love to hate.

Fandom is becoming more divisive and tribal in hip hop. You can’t like this artist because artist A doesn’t like artist B. I felt like I had to take a side in a beef when The Game and 50 Cent had a public falling out in 2005. I was 13, I loved 50 Cent and all of G-Unit to that point, but The Game was hailed as the west coast savior, and was my favorite rapper in the unit. The day I heard Game scream, “G-UNOT” on a record and seen the accompanying baggy t-shirt, I changed my allegiance.

50 Cent as well as the rest of G-Unit suddenly became corny to me, I didn’t want to hear any music, watch any of their videos; they were as good as dead to me as long as The Game kept putting out poisonous diss tracks towards them like “120 Bars.” When he said “here’s a picture of Ja Rule, muthafucka hold that, what goes around comes around, get used to the gold plaques”. Asking people if they were G-Unit or G-Unot was a real thing, and it would spark real arguments during that time as if it were an actual gang allegiance. I would argue that beefing with Game was the beginning of the decline of 50 Cent’s wildly successful music career.

In 2012, Wale was signed to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group and some viewed him as a top-tier lyricist. His popularity mirrored peers Big Sean, and J. Cole, until he made one grave mistake. He tweeted, “For the record, back to ballin’ will be video of the year, I promise you that”. Tyler, The Creator then proceeded to tweet, “SUB TWEET: YOUR VIDEO WILL NOT BE VIDEO OF THE YEAR.” Which sparked an exchange between the two artists and their fan bases. At the time, Tyler had an army of rowdy OFWGKTA followers who assisted him in his masterful trolling and would have marched from Ladera to Yonkers at his command.

Little did Wale know, Tyler had been stating his disdain for him and his music since 2010, but this time Tyler’s platform was large enough to make it an official Twitter beef. It started a barrage of hate that still lingers to this day. It seemed to only worsen over the next few years due to a mixture of arbitrary distaste from hatebeasts and self destruction. One can’t erase the memory of his threatening phone call to Insanul Ahmed, a writer at Complex at the time, which was a reaction to the publication leaving his album ‘The Gifted” off their Top 50 Albums of 2013 list. The “Fuck Wale” movement snowballed and continued to roll downhill.

Sometimes, an artist can catch the symbiotic hate by winning an award many people believed they didn’t deserve as much as their favorite. Macklemore for example, had an incredible 2013 where he dominated Billboard charts, owning two of the top five songs on the Billboard Hot 100 that year. In 2014, he took home 4 Grammys, (“Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song”) in categories Kendrick Lamar was also nominated in. Up to this point, Macklemore was generally accepted in the culture, as he had made a name for himself in the underground circuit for years, even shared a McFlurry with Drake and J. Cole.

A Grammy is an achievement that you are supposed to be applauded for, especially as an independent artist. However, the hatebeasts began to attack him because the popular consensus was Kendrick Lamar should have won Best Rap Album at minimum. Macklemore agreed, but the Macklemore slander already began. The Seattle native quickly tried to put the fire out by texting Kendrick, “you got robbed… (among other things)”, then screenshotting and posting it on Instagram the night of the award ceremony. A majority of fans will never let that go and will forever think of Macklemore as the guy who robbed Kendrick’s Grammy.

Stop comparing drake to me too…. He don’t write his own raps! That’s why he ain’t tweet my album because we found out!

— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) July 22, 2015

That now deleted tweet speaks for itself, it sparked the most talked about beef in the past decade, Drake vs Meek Mill. What happened is well documented, Drake kept quiet for 4 days, until he premiered “Charged Up” on his Beats 1 OVO Sound radio show Saturday July 25th, 2015. Meek then responded via Twitter (fingers) “Baby lotion soft……” and “I can tell he wrote that 1 tho……”. July 29th, is when Drake delivered the most streamed and arguably most discussed diss track of all time, “Back To Back” which included the infamous lyrics, “trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers”. Sometime during this beef, a phrase sprouted from the depths of Twitter, “Meeked” became a term now used in the culture to describe taking a monumental loss.

A rapper with a large cult following and lack of close rapper friends is an easy target for hatebeasts. Rabid fanbases who put their favorite artists on a pedestal and act as if the artist can do no wrong is another way to activate hypebeasts. Being extremely opinionated and not having any rapper friends or industry people to have your back publicly creates a recipe for one-sided banter coming from the culture.

On April 22nd, 2018, Super producer Metro Boomin’s triumphant return from a social media sabbatical holding up a blank card that read, “Russ is whack”. The tweet was a response to a 2016 interview where Russ said, You used to be able to tell who’s beat was who’s. Everyone had a real unique style and sound. All the shit be sounding the same now and that’s a fact. If the shoe fits, that’s on you.” It led to Russ, one of the most popular young rappers, simultaneously becoming one of hip-hop’s most hated on. He wore a shirt to Southern California hip hop festival Day N Night, which read, “How Much Xans and Lean Do You Have to do Before You Realize You’re a Fucking Loser”. Instantly, Russ a rapper with a strong core fan base, saw himself attacked on Twitter as the preachy guy who lacked empathy.

On November 18th, 2017 following Lil Peep’s tragic death, Russ decided to Tweet,  “Abusing xanax and other pills drugs etc in private cuz your depressed/other mental issues is one thing(still not good)..constantly recording yourself doing drugs and putting up pics and videos of doing it is when you start CHOOSING to publicly glorify it and make it an image.” It arguably brought on the most hatebeasts in history. Countless rappers came at Russ for the comments, most notably Smokepurrp, who eventually was assaulted by Russ’ crew earlier this year at Splash Festival in Germany. The hatebeasts war cry went from “Russ is whack to “F**k Russ.” Recently, a user tweeted, “If a mf with a gun to my head says “listen to a Russ song or die” tell my mom I love her, I will never listen to that garbage”.

These exaggerated statements are scattered all across the internet with varying artists names and alternative forms of preferred torture.

On October 7th, Vic Mensa participated in this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards cypher. During his freestyle, Vic included a diss to XXXTentacion, “Your favorite rapper is a domestic abuser. Name a single Vic Mensa song, XXX we all know you won’t live that long. I don’t respect niggas posthumously, homicide ain’t new to me, catch up with Akademiks at your eulogy”. The freestyle was played in front of the late rapper’s mother during the taping of the award show. When the show aired, BET omitted the “XXX” bar, however days earlier DJ Scheme had revealed to the world via Twitter that someone made a slight towards X and the next day Mensa fessed up and attempted to clarify his statements, but it was far too late as 24 hours can seem like 52 weeks in internet time.

The hatebeasts had already began calling for his head and “F**k Vic Mensa” was born, the symbiotic transfer was complete.

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