Diss Tracks’ Fall From Grace

I’m sure that whether you’re on TikTok or not, you’ve probably heard of that song: Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo. Whether it’s a run-of-the-mill pop love song is a matter of taste. Whether she will be a one-hit-wonder is a matter of time and perceptions. What you can’t really deny is its virality. It’s so viral, it’s everywhere. Social media, radio, streaming services, everywhere. The song which was released on January 8th of this year has 276,158,666 plays on Spotify by the time I started writing this (February 3rd). Its virality is, of course, credited to the backstory and beef that has now emerged between the parties involved: a girl who just got her driver’s license, a blonde girl who was mentioned in the lyrics briefly, and the boy the song is directed to.

Whoever they are. Image credits: https://stylecaster.com/olivia-rodrigo-drivers-license-lyrics-meaning-joshua-bassett-sabrina-carpenter/

Last that I heard, both the boy and the blonde girl have both released a song each, some would say giving their own take on the situation. From what I’ve managed to find out, a melodic and lyrical beef is currently at play. Apparently, the blonde girl’s song disses both the situation mentioned in the song and the lyrical composition of the song itself. The thought that occurred to me is: “Really? Is this what diss tracks have become? Petty social media-fueled lover’s spat? This can’t be real.”Diss tracks used to be cool, as far as I know. Diss tracks are usually attributed to hip-hop, although they didn’t weren’t always like that. Even Lennon and McCartney once has a diss battle between them, and I too was quite shocked by this fact.

Then again, diss tracks are usually a hip-hop thing. There was Notorious B.I.G vs. Tupac, a famously infamous rivalry between two former friends that was the cornerstone of the Coast-to-Coast rivalry with tracks like “Who Shot Ya?” and “Hit ’Em Up”. There was Jay-Z vs. Nas, two New York-based rappers who were fighting over who was the best MC with songs like “Takeover” and “Ether”. There was Nicki Minaj vs. Lil’ Kim, a long-standing beef that started from similar promo pictures, record claims, and a slew of other points with songs like “Roman’s Revenge” and “Black Friday”.

There is still a lot of examples out there like Machine Gun Kelly vs. Eminem and Pusha-T vs. Drake but this is not an article on the history of diss tracks in hip-hop or a history of diss tracks in general. Here’s the point I’m trying to make: diss tracks are supposed to be a cool way of arguing in the music world, and the subject of the argument is usually something that has actual significance between the artists involved. The fact that diss tracks are now “diluted” to a squabble over a boy (who, to this moment, I still don’t know who he is and couldn’t care less) is in my opinion just sad. I guess this is the effect of social media and the fact that these days any sort of influencer or celebrity to the few can just come into the studio and write something. It’s not about the artistic process for me because a process is a process, whether the final product is good or not is really a matter of opinions, but it’s the fact that something like a diss track has now seemed like it’s just a Twitter debate about semantics is what really gets me. It may be just me.

Thank you for reading, trust no one, and see you on the next post.

Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Universitas Indonesia. Football. Cars. Pop culture. Current affairs. Personal rants. Random thoughts.