It was all good a few years ago. Two separate personalities were dominating the urban culture of Hip Hop and even earning an international buzz. Aubrey Graham better known only by his middle name, Drake and Robert Williams who was epic on the Philadelphia streets as Meek Mill. Their respective “camps”, October’s Very Own (OVO) from Toronto and Maybach Music headed by rapper Rick Ross and stationed in Miami could not be any further from each other.
The one from the north boasts a polished flow with apparent studio finesse while Ross’ influence has a more street level connection laden with graphic stories. What does any of this have to do with conflict? Great question, and as I get to the meat of the beef it will all make sense.
In late 2015, a Tweet from the active social media account of Mill seemed to launch a random shot across the bow. The Philly rapper made the accusation that Drake was, in fact, a phony because he used a professional ghostwriter to pen his lyrics. This is considered the ‘Kiss of Death” in the rap game. A genre born from the desperate need for personal expression; you never want to be labeled as anything but “real.” Without saying a word directly to Mill, Drake came back with a flurry of bars from songs that leveled Meek in his tracks. You would be hard-pressed to find a fan who would not be honest that the scoreboard definitely lit up in Drake’s favor. Being from Philly, I rooted for Mill to storm the gates, dethrone Drake, and put the “City of Brotherly Love” back to a prominent place in Hip Hop. However, he was never able to get over the hump.
In the business world, nothing stalls a culture faster than unproductive conflict. I preface this with “non-productive” because I want to strike a stark contrast between the value of conflict and the mishandling of it. Let’s be clear, conflict can grow a culture like fertilizer does plants. It is literally a blessing in disguise. Therefore, your organization, small business, and personal relationships can benefit greatly when you understand the hidden value of conflict and harness that energy.
Here are some of those gems from conflict that are both relevant in everyday life as it was with Meek and Drake:
- Conflict often reveals the need to re-evaluate the relationship: Truth is Meek and Drake had previously recorded together. Things were going well but it would later be revealed that Mill had unresolved conflict with Drake. While the relationship benefited him, he seemed to be able to look the other way to the fact Drake was utilizing a ghostwriter. But when the opportunity presented itself, he attacked Drake on Twitter. Why? The first week sales of his new project were on the line. Additionally, to him, Drake was not active enough in promoting their song. Conflict is a great way to see what someone’s true motive is. Use the situation to evaluate the people you are collaborating with. If conflict makes them switch their loyalty, you have all the answers you need.
- It is better to postpone a response than to act on impulse: No one types faster than a person responding to negativity on social media. I too have pulled over on the side of the road to write a dissertational response to some jerk online. When you go back and read it, you are almost embarrassed that something so inaccurate could get you so flustered. Drake on the other hand never tipped his position. He was calculating in waiting to take his frustrations out in the studio instead of on his keyboard. Whenever you pause long enough to think things through, you are positioned to have a collective response.
- Whatever you do, never allow the conflict to dominate your attention: Both artists were in the middle of launching projects: Mill’ “Dreams Worth Chasing” and Drake’s “Views”. It was Mill who seemed obsessed with posting rants and venting about his status in the game. I learned a long time ago if you have to tell people you are a boss, you are not! Drake must have been reading Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” the way he calculated his attack. He spoke on having more respect amongst Philly fans than Mill, his relationship with fellow artist Nicki Minaj and comparing their gross earnings. All were direct hits against the failing armor of Mills. He lost respect, and to date, has not fully recovered. Drake won in short because he had the patience and discipline to strategize his movement.
Whether you are a fan of rap or not, I would bet heavily, you have had your fair share of conflicts. At the office, home, or in your family, you have had to navigate the stickiness of not getting along. My advice to you is to see it as the gift it is. Conflict, when used correctly can be the catapult of momentum you really need.
Opinion by Early Jackson
(Edited by Cherese Jackson)
BET: Rick Ross Details His Meeting With Drake Amid His Beef With Meek Mill
Top Image Courtesy of Brennan Schnell – Flickr License
Inline Image Courtesy of Sean Molin – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Amber – Flickr License