Slang City Mail

Click here get this free weekly newsletter delivered to your e-mailbox! Want to see more? Go back to All the Words main page.

August 7 , 2003

Slang of the Week: beef (noun)
Problem or complaint

Michael Moore’s beef with the President made headlines when he called Bush a fake during the Oscar ceremonies.

Celebrity quote:
“It's not like I got a beef with New York or nothing, but I do have problems. And I'm representing the West Side now. There's people disrespecting the West Coast … The artists now who selling records stole our style. Listen to 'em - Biggie is a Brooklyn nigga's dream of being West Coast.”
-Late rapper Tupac Shakur

Many slang words begin in the hip hop world and are later adopted by mainstream society. Beef is a different story. Though it has been used for over 100 years by the general population, beef has only recently become associated with rappers, who use it heavily to discuss rivalries and disputes.

Whatever he may have said about New York, Tupac Shakur did have a beef with East Coast rapper Biggie Smalls (a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G.), as you can see from his critical remarks. Smalls felt the same way and when Shakur was killed in a drive-by (shooting from a moving car) in 1996, many believed that he'd had something to do with it. Six months later, Smalls was shot to death in what may have been a response to Shakur’s murder.

Nonetheless, beefs continue to play an important role in rap music. On the Slang City website, check out 50 Cent’s beef with Jah Rule, who he disses (criticizes) in Wanksta for fronting (pretending to be something he's not).

What’s new at Slang City?
Why is Sting tantric? Who is Bert Kaempfert? This week, Slang City explains the slang and cultural references in One Week, by Barenaked Ladies.