Summer 2015 is well and truly behind us, but the summer antics of the music industry this year won’t be forgotten quickly.
It pains me to say that unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six weeks, you will have at least heard of something to do with the Minaj-Swift feud that dominated social media since it began on Twitter.
Last week at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, the seemingly resolved feud was brought to new light with a new face – the infamous Miley Cyrus, host of the show – who was called out on stage by Minaj for her comments on the feud in an interview with the New York Times.
Cyrus quickly deflected the confrontation and continued with presenting, but the damage had been done. Overnight, the internet was flooded with memes, articles and comments on the apparently momentous event of Nicki Minaj saying “Miley, what’s good?” and the feud took on a new life of its own.
The very public fight between the two young stars was met with a collective sigh from music lovers, who saw the feud as the demise of the music industry, descending into something whose main objective was publicity and not talent.
Many online comments accused the women of behaving like “high school girls” and being unnecessarily catty and bitchy. But as we seem to forget, these types of musical rivalries are nothing new and not restricted to ‘bitchy’ women either.
Since the 80s and 90s, these types of publicised musical feuds have cropped up endlessly in the industry, stemming from the ridiculous to the personal to the dangerous and all have had lasting effects on the careers of those involved.
We have all seen that both Cyrus and Minaj are no strangers to clashes with fellow songstresses. In 2013, our very own Sinéad O’Connor began a very public clash of personalities with Miley Cyrus when she penned an open letter warning her of the consequences of her sexualised performances and the dangers of the music industry.
Cyrus responded via Twitter by ridiculing O’Connor’s previous mental health issues, to which O’Connor threatened legal action.
In the same year, Nicki Minaj engaged in her own public spat with then-fellow American Idol judge Mariah Carey. The pair had clashed since the get-go, with Carey accusing Minaj of death threats on set.
Going back to the 90s, we can see musical rivalries taking a much more sinister turn. Take the most famous of all, the Britpop Battle of Oasis vs Blur.
This particular rivalry took on such popularity partly because of it being a symbol of the North-South divide in England. Oasis, the working class band from Manchester, competed against middle-class Londoners Blur in a battle for number 1 in August of 1995.
Insults were thrown back and forth endlessly between the two, with Noel Gallagher famously wishing that Damon Albarn and Alex James of Blur would “get AIDS and die” but in the end, Blur pipped Oasis to the post and Gallagher retracted the comment in 2006.
Another ongoing feud from 90s rock was that between Nirvana and Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl and widow of Kurt Kobain, Courtney Love. The feud extended from legal battles over Nirvana music rights to Love accusing Grohl of making advances on her daughter Frances Bean Cobain, but the pair thankfully seemed to make up at Nirvana’s 2014 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where both were in attendance.
Now in 2015, we see two very different sides of musical rivalries taking to the stage; the Minaj-Swift-Cyrus fiasco and the revival of a much more serious feud in the film ‘Straight Outta Compton’ which tells the story of iconic hip-hop group N.W.A and their rise to fame, which was not without conflict.
When Ice Cube left the group due to royalty disputes, him and the remaining members of N.W.A exchanged numerous diss tracks and remained on bad terms until their reconciliation years later.
Two very different stories, but proof that rivalries over the years in the world of music haven’t gone out of style.
The recurring theme, unfortunately, is that the often important message of the feud is often overlooked while the public focus on the sheer drama of the situation.
Take our most recent example. The feud started with a valid point made by Minaj about race in the music industry, but what do we all remember from the situation now? “Miley what’s good?” Groundbreaking.