The Internet has long been a tool that various artists of all genres have used. It wasn't until the mid-aughts when the music industry, particularly rap, began to truly explore all of the possibilities that the web could bring. Although first utilized -- as early as the 1990s -- by many as a distribution point for their music, merchandise and everything in between, more than a few artists also utilized the Internet to keep in contact with fans via chat rooms and message boards, both of which could be viewed as some of the earliest incarnations of social media. The introduction of websites, blogs and file-sharing sites catering to hip-hop would truly help pull the genre into the Internet age.
However, social media sites like MySpace would break all barriers between rappers and their fans, opening up communication like never before. In 2016, with platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, artists that once shunned the Internet and social media have begun using both as a valuable tool to express themselves to get their message across and to vent -- a lot.
With the freedom of expression comes much responsibility and publicity, which some rappers may forget when spilling their feelings or going on an ill-advised rant. 2016 was an especially eventful year full of social media shenanigans, mishaps and everything in between. Azealia Banks is a prime example of social media use gone wrong. Her Twitter account was terminated in May for violating the social media company's rules surrounding abuse. Then there's Kanye West, who takes long breaks from tweeting but when he gets going, there's no telling what topic he'll cover and the end result is a rant of epic proportions.
With a crazy year of tweets, Instagram posts and status updates behind us, here are 10 rappers who experienced social media meltdowns in 2016.
Plenty of artists have created a ruckus on social media from time to time, but rapper Azealia Banks is the queen of rocking the boat, with a long-running reputation of speaking first and asking questions last. 2016 was much of the same, with Banks first making waves on Feb. 1 with her endorsement of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump on Twitter. She would double down on her co-sign months later on May 7.
Her sentiments regarding the increasingly polarizing businessman-turned-politician would raise a few eyebrows, but would be trumped by a Twitter rant on May 10, in which she lashed out at pop star Zayn Malik for allegedly biting her music and ideas for visuals. After issuing his own response, Banks would answer by hurling racist insults at Malik, calling him a "sand n*****" and referring to him as "curry scented" and a "Punjab."
Banks' rant would land her in hot water and lead to her being suspended from Twitter, indefinitely on May 12. The rapper continued creating controversy. On July 6, Banks took to Facebook to defend bleaching her skin, and would later use the platform to withdraw her endorsement of Donald Trump in October, only to later congratulate him after being named President-elect in November, capping off what has been a bizarre year on social media for the Harlemite.
Kanye West is as unpredictable as they come, but on social media, you truly never know what to expect. On Jan. 27, after being called out by Wiz Khalifa for appropriating Max B's "waves" term and making it the tentative title for his album, a misunderstanding would lead to a rant of epic proportions from the G.O.O.D. Music leader. Kanye would go on a Twitter rant disparaging Khalifa, going as far as claiming to be the reason that the Taylor Gang head honcho was even a father, referencing the fact that his breakup with Amber Rose enabled the two to be together.
Yeezy ended up apologizing later on but his antics would continue all throughout February, with the rapper calling out everyone and everything, from high-profile music publications and their coverage of rap music, to music producer Bob Ezrin and his comments on him as an artist and producer, which he responded to on Feb. 24. Yeezy took the rants to another level in the beginning of March, calling out producer and fellow TIDAL co-owner Deadmau5 and mocking his infatuation with Minnie Mouse. The MC went after him in a series of tweets as a result of Deadmau5 chiding him for perusing Pirate Bay, a popular torrent site, which would put Kanye in conflict with what TIDAL was attempting to do by empowering the artist.
Less than a week later, on March 7, Kanye would clap back at people's critiques of his rants, urging fans to stop "trying to talk me out of being me." He continued to use Twitter to rant about humanity and to reach out to Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer on March 13. 'Ye would be tamed for months on end before another social media rant occurred on July 30, when he would give his take on the streaming wars between Apple Music and TIDAL, accusing both platforms of "fucking up the game."
Aside from bigging up Frank Ocean in another diatribe on Twitter, Kanye wouldn't make headlines for his social media rants until Dec. 14, after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. In his tweets, he explained his reasoning behind sitting down with the divisive figure and continue to hold the attention of the rap world, one post at a time.
Dipset once seemed like one of the few rap crews capable of not letting egos or pride come get in the way of their brotherhood. But, that's what has seemed to happen to the group—particularly its two elder statesmen—Dipset Founder, Cam'ron and his trusty right-hand man, Jim Jones. The beef began to simmer at the top of the year, when Jim Jones appeared to take a shot at Cam'ron for associating with Love & Hip Hop New York cast mate Mendeecees, an alleged informant, with an Instagram post on Jan. 15.
Cam'ron wouldn't issue a response, but the two would get into a bit of a spat in April. Jim Jones threw shade towards Cam and Freekey Zekey via an Instagram post, with Cam revealing that he had actually blocked Jim Jones from viewing his account due to their ongoing rift. On June 3, after having his verse taken off a song Cam released with Juelz, titled "Oh Yeah," Jim would become incensed, airing his grievances with an Instagram post, calling out his former partner in crime for the apparent misdeed.
After Cam'ron responded to Jim's post with a video clip of his own, it was apparent that the ghost of Rich Porter had all but been ousted from the Dipset inner circle. This would all be solidified when Jim commented on fellow Harlem native Dave East's Instagram post of him performing with Cam'ron, telling Dave to ask Cam to enlist him as a member of Dipset.
Cam'ron then responded to Jim by informing Dave about comments that the "We Fly High (Ballin)" rapper allegedly made about Cam behind his back. Cam would finally address the situation during a visit to Angie Martinez's radio show on Power 105, revealing that him and Jim were on bad terms, and claiming that his former partner was actually from the Bronx and not from Harlem, as he had claimed. Cam also pretty much put a nip in the bud of any talks of a Dipset reunion that includes him and Jim together.
On Dec. 2, Jim Jones would post a pair of cryptic Instagram posts that didn't mention Cam'ron by name, but appeared to be a response to the comments Cam had made about him concerning Dipset and their relationship. While Cam'ron has decided to stay mum on the matter, something tells us that this won't be the last exchange of words or posts between the two Harlem legends.
YG enjoyed a great year in 2016 with the release of his sophomore album Still Brazy, as well as his take-down of Donald Trump on the scathing "Fuck DT," but the Compton menace nearly blew a gasket this past November after receiving some unfortunate news. After planning to release a new mixtape titled Red Friday, which was set to drop on Black Friday (Nov. 25), YG's record label, Def Jam, decided to leak the tape a day early, posting it on the rapper's Audiomack account in its entirety. YG, who had intended to hold an in-store event celebrating Red Friday's release prior to the leak, took to Twitter to air his grievances. “WTF? Red Friday Leaked?” wrote YG. “On Piru I hate DEF JAM. Always fukkin my shitt up." YG would let off a few more tweets disparaging his label, and held no punches about his disdain for their tactics, making for one of the more direct social media outbursts of the year.
Kid Cudi has no qualms about using his voice to let his feelings be known, but in 2016, even the lonely stoner caught fans off guard with his social media activity. In August, Cudi caught fans' attention with tweets many were perceived to be aimed at Jhene Aiko. She had recently filed for divorce from Dot Da Genius, Cudi's friend and producer, and was linked to dating Big Sean.
"The funny thing is, we aint sweatin these bum bitches and these corn ball ass niggas. We too busy makin better music," Cudi wrote.
His intended targets were easy to identify, but it would not be the last of his social media spats. The following month, on Sept. 14, Kid Cudi would lash out at former mentor Kanye West, as well as Drake for having assistance writing their material, a tirade which would garner responses from both Yeezy and Drake, as well as the hip-hop community as a whole. However, many would allude to Cudi's rants being a byproduct of emotional distress, a claim that would gain some credence when the crooner posted a suicidal confession on his Facebook account while also announcing his decision to admit himself to rehab.
“Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges,” he wrote. “I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I would’ve done something to myself."
Kid Cudi gained the support of fans and fellow artists alike with his bold admission. However, he would go on one last social media rant of the year after the release of Drake's diss record "Two Birds, One Stone," returning to Twitter on Oct. 28 to issue a threat to Drizzy, daring him to repeat the lyrics to his face, a pithy tweet if there ever was one.
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Treach of Naughty By Nature is one of the more unsung influential artists in rap history, and although he may be one of the illest with words. The New Jersey native's rant earlier this year regarding Kanye West and Kim Kardashian was ill-advised.
After coming across an article alleging that Kanye West dubbed Tupac the "most overrated rapper in history," Treach, who was a close friend of the deceased icon, took issue with West's comments, taking to Twitter to slander him and his wife. Dubbing Kim Kardashian as "overrated," and writing, “Fuck Kanye his opinion & Kims Clothes he wears!!”
Treach would disparage the couple in a series of tweets. It turned out the quotes he saw from Ye were from a fake news site and were completely unfounded or backed by any evidence. Treach must not have gotten the memo, as no news of an apology from the legend has surfaced to date.
Lupe Fiasco's history of creating or addressing controversy runs deep and 2016 repeated that trend for the Chicago native. Aside from jousting with Joe Budden and taking Kid Cudi to task, Lupe Fiasco caught backlash after releasing a freestyle titled "N.E.R.D." on Dec. 12.
Listeners took note of choice lyrics like "Artists gettin' robbed for their publishing/By dirty Jewish execs that think his alms from the covenant," deeming it discriminatory. SoundCloud, the platform, which Lupe used to release the track, would agree, removing the freestyle the following day for what they perceived to be "hate speech."
After getting wind of SoundCloud's decision, Lupe took to Twitter to express his anger, as well as announce his retirement from rap, writing ""Sooooo @SoundCloud took the NERD freestyle down because of "Hate Speech"??? I'm done," before adding "Getting beat up for telling the truth is not how I plan on spending the rest of life."
The declaration wouldn't be the first time Lupe would threaten to retire, as he has repeatedly stated that he will release three more albums before hanging the mic up for good, but only time will tell if his words hold true.
Having to bide your time sitting on the bench while believing you're ready for greatness is a tough pill to swallow, which TDE rapper Ab-Soul has lamented time and time again, while waiting to release his last two albums, These Days and Do What Thou Wilt.
In between the two releases, Soulo would become agitated with the lack of a release date for his album and would take to Twitter on Feb. 8 and voice his frustration. “I'll be ready when my #'s called," the Black Lip Bastard tweeted, before adding, “This bench is gettin warm as fucc tho mayne," a reference to it being nearly two years since he had released an album at the time.
Fortunately, Ab-Soul would have to wait no longer after Do What Thou Wilt was finally liberated on Dec. 9, almost ten months to the exact date that the tweets were posted.
2016 was a tumultuous year for Iggy Azalea, with the rapper experiencing everything from heartbreak to beef with her record label. On Jan. 21, the Azalea shared her disappointment with her record label not supporting her single "Azillion" with a music video, taking to Twitter to voice her frustration. That would be the first of multiple instances in which Azalea took to social media to let her feelings be known, the next coming on April 25, when the rapper took offense to being called "Becky" by a fan, which some took as shade towards Beyonce, an assertion she cleared up during a three day rant addressing the situation.
Nearly two months later, in June, Azalea's social media accounts would again become platforms for the rapper to blow off steam, first announcing her breakup with her boyfriend, NBA player Nick Young, on her Instagram account due to a lack of trust, and clearing the air about moving out of his house on her Twitter account on June. 22. Her final meltdown of the year came on June. 30, after discovering that Nick Young had impregnated the mother of his child from a previous relationship, with Azalea finding out the news via a E News.
She also revealed the reason why she ultimately decided to break up with Young, explaining "I broke up with Nick because I found out he had brought other women into our home while I was away and caught them on the security footage," on her Twitter account. Although Iggy may have been quiet on the music tip in 2016, her social media was one of the more active ones in all of hip-hop, rants included.
Although rap star Future continued to build on the momentum he had set in 2015 with the release of his DS2 album, he started off the new year in a bit of a funk due to personal matters in his life. On Jan. 4, the "Wicked" rapper took to Twitter to share his feelings on the mother of his child, r&b star Ciara, and held little back in the process. Writing “This bitch got control problems,” which many took as a reference, Future would make no secret of who his ire was aimed at with the follow-up tweet, with him revealing “I gotta go through lawyers to see babyfuture…the fuckery for 15k a month."
The rant was allegedly spurred by Ciara not allowing Baby Future to spend the holidays with Future's other children, and saw the usually stoic Future lose his cool, and was one of the social media rants that got 2016 off with a bang.