For avid fans of the culture surrounding rap, it’s felt like hip-hop has been on high alert in 2018. First, Pusha T promised a “surgical summer” during his tiff with Drake. Then, Machine Gun Kelly and Eminem lobbied shots after the elder rapper leveled a volley at the younger rapper on his surprise Kamikaze album. Even Nicki Minaj and Cardi B have gotten in on the action, upending a New York Fashion Week event when Cardi attacked Nicki using her shoe as a projectile. Now, even seemingly serious-minded Atlanta rapper Russ is losing his cool after he apparently hit his limit on sass from his contemporaries.
Way back in July, Russ performed at Splash Festival in Germany alongside one of his many online nemeses, Florida rapper Smokepurpp. Purpp was one of the many rappers who lashed out at Russ for his controversial, anti-drug T-shirt which made Russ the object of ridicule and derision on Twitter. Purpp quote-tweeted one of Russ’ explanatory tweets, writing, “Shut the f*ck up, you a b*tch.” He also repeatedly tweeted (and deleted) “f*ck Russ,” a favorite epithet of the Soundcloud rap set, who’ve adjusted their targets throughout the year, from Russ to J. Cole. However, unlike the level-headed Cole, Russ wasn’t about to let the tough talk slide, especially after Smokepurpp posted a photo of Russ’ sister as his Instagram profile page.
When the opportunity presented itself, the irritated do-it-all rapper cornered Purpp with his crew and from the footage that surfaced online today, hands were definitely thrown. On Tuesday, Russ bragged about the attack on The Breakfast Club radio show, warning the then-unidentified rapper: “Don’t make me play the internet game, and have you humiliated… We got video too. I’ll leak the video of you getting your ass beat.” Clearly, that warning went unheeded, as the footage surfaced online courtesy of one-man hip-hop tabloid show, DJ Akademiks.
In response, Smokepurpp took to Instagram Live to explain himself, calling Russ “scary” and claiming that the older rapper didn’t want to fight him.
Maybe when the heat breaks, cooler heads will prevail, but for now, it seems like the rough-and-tumble early days of hip-hop are back in full effect. Hopefully, everyone remembers that at the end of the day, the stakes just might be greater than anyone is really willing to risk.