If we’ve learned anything from the modern hip-hop and rap scene, it’s that “beef” sells records: Drake and Meek Mill, 50 Cent and Ja Rule, Jay-Z and Nas, and most recently, The Rap Community as a Whole and Donald Trump have gone head to head to massive response from the media and fans (and subsequently, have seen huge spikes in record sales). Electronic music has seen its fair share of “beef” as well, from the targeted antics of producers/DJ’s/labels who attack each other directly, such as Hudson Mohawke and Zomby, or Soulection and Lucky Me, to the flagrant and seemingly indiscriminate lashes of others who have essentially have built their careers on public disagreements with the world at large (cc: Mimosa, Caked Up, Deadmau5). Whatever the grade of “beef”, it’s clear that on all accounts, conflicts between key players in the scene are a quick path to at least temporary relevancy for all involved. The real question we should be asking ourselves, however, is: how many of these conflicts happen organically, and how many are the product of effective marketing strategies?
Before we ask this question about our current situation, though, let’s take a step back for a moment, and examine all the factors involved in the scenario that led us to even ask this question in the first place. The setting is as follows: Northern California, December, 2015. The weather is wet and wintry… the days are short, sunshine is rare, and there is a general feeling of dullness that lingers in the air. Enter ONHELL and The Originalz – two excessively mediocre EDM techno artists hailing from the mythical woods of the Interstate 101 corridor. They had both experienced moderate relevancy in the West Coast “spiritual gangster” scene at this point, and had grown as artists together over the past several years as they climbed the ranks of “headiness”. Their relationship had often been described as “brotherly” and “inseparable”. Things were looking up for the young lads around this time: the booking offers were pouring in, their crystal collections were quickly expanding into uncharted vibes, and there were certainly no issues in the luscious locks department. Unfortunately, despite their close kinship, their shared affinity for unoriginal trap beats, and their parallel successes as memelords and as leaders in the electro scene, their relationship seemed to take a turn for the worse around mid-December. Some say the change was caused by jealousy… others think the pressure of their success simply became emotionally overwhelming. Whatever the case might be, the “shift in astral energy” could be immediately felt by all those receptive to such changes up and down the West Coast.
New Years Eve, 2015/2016: The local discotheque promoter, Camp Questionmark, was throwing what appeared to be a relatively innocent party in Willits, CA. Both ONHELL and The Originalz found themselves on the lineup, along with many of the other well-known EDM techno artists in the area. This was quite the reason to rejoice at the time, as this local discotheque promoter was renowned and well-respected in the area. All the townspeople were thrilled to see these strapping youngsters on the bill, and eager to leave behind the woes of California mountain-life, just for one night. Unfortunately, the scenario was all too perfect. Before the townspeople could even get their extravagant costumes prepared for the night of debauchery, a devastatingly inane issue arose, rearing it’s troubling head from the fiery pit of brewing turmoil…
On the flier for the party, Sir ONHELL’s logo was partially obstructed by a hanging dreamcatcher feather of the The Originalz’ logo (pictured below). Naturally, such a grievance could not be ignored. Words were exchanged, feelings were hurt, diss tracks were produced… It was clear neither of the parties involved were pleased with the actions of the other.
Tensions grew between the two artists over the seemingly insignificant matter, until the conflict quite suddenly exploded in a public display of psychotic fury and hatred. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Snapchat… no social media platform was safe from the raging crusade. Slurs were flung from every possible attack point: bloodshed was the objective, and it was easily achieved. The battle raged on for months and months, as fans grew more and more distressed; dreading the quickly approaching climax. Shots were taken during interviews, insults hurled from DJ booths during EDM concerts… the conflict seemed only moments from devolving into a physical brawl by the end of April 2016. Although only “virtual” blood had been spilled on both sides at this point, the emotional wounds were very real.
On May 3rd, 2016, a shining beacon of light shone through the darkness: there were rumors flying among the townspeople of Northern California… “An ONHELL and Originalz collab is coming! Sound di alarm!!” The West Coast bass music scene collectively felt something it hadn’t felt since 2015: hope. The rumors were true. The Originalz and ONHELL had squashed their Grade A Manufactured Beef, and gotten together in “the lab” (see pictured below) to create a commemoration of their resolved conflict, aptly entitled “The Beef”.
Unfortunately, what the West Coast bass music scene did not know, and is about to find out, is that the “beef” in question was but a rumor itself, a magical concept known across the kingdom of the Northern California mountains as a “troll”. AND WHAT A TROLL IT WAS! For months and months, the poor townspeople of the West Coast had suffered from the savage trickery of these egregious tyrants. The emotional roller coaster experienced by the public at large was on par with even the most heart-wrenching of celebrity controversies, rivaled not even by Brad and Jennifer conflict of 2005. It may have even been the most well-executed “troll” the mountains had ever seen. The deviant EDM techno artists had created a fallacy so powerful, that the only way to defeat it was to fulfill its self-titled prophecy: “The Beef”. (Save the beef, save the world.) Fear not, West Coast Bass Music Scene: ONHELL and The OriGinALz were just m8’s having a wee giggle the whole time. But, now that they have your attention…
As a consolation to the so savagely “trolled’ community, in hopes of rebuilding their obliterated trust, it is without further ado that we at Booms and Claps present the world premiere of the Official Beef-Squashing Anthem of 2016: “ONHELL x The Originalz – The Beef”