And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #291: Ghostface Killah v Martin Shkreli

By | Published on Friday 29 January 2016

Martin Shkreli

It’s been quite a beefy week, all told. People falling out left, right and centre. Perhaps dry January is starting to take its toll. Just hang in there, guys. We’ve almost made it to the end.

Contender number one for Beef Of The Week was Kanye v Wiz Khalifa. Kanye misunderstood something Wiz said on Twitter, and then launched into an epic rant before realising his mistake and retracting it all. But some things you can’t take back. Kanye claimed ownership of Wiz’s child, and wrote these actual words: “Maybe I couldn’t be skinny and tall but I’ll settle for being the greatest artist of all time as a consolation”.

He also managed to piss off his ex-girlfriend, Amber Rose, the mother of Wiz Kahlifa’s child (that Kanye apparently owns) in the process. She then made claims about West’s sexual preferences. This led to Kanye today posting probably the greatest tweet of all time (OF ALL TIME): “Exes can be mad but just know I never let them play with my ass… I don’t do that… I stay away from that area all together”.

Twitter beefs though. They’re so easy. Anyone can have a Twitter beef. You need to make it out into the real world to do this beefing thing properly. Rapper B.o.B and scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson did a better job of it, their Twitter beef spilling over into trading diss tracks over whether or not the Earth is flat.

But sometimes you have to take it old school. And what could be more old school than a rapper and a hedge fund manager trading threats in a series of videos? Yes, that’s right, Martin Shkreli is back in the music news again.

When it was announced last year that Shkreli was the buyer of Wu-Tang Clan’s single-copy-album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’, there was criticism that the group had become involved with the man who bought the rights to a drug used to treat cancer and AIDS and then massively ramped up the price.

At the time, RZA issued a statement saying that he and the rest of his team had been unaware of Shkreli’s business practices when they had agreed the sale in May. Although those business practices possibly explained why the Clan didn’t seem keen to name the buyer of their record when the deal was finalised in November. It was Shkreli who confirmed that fact in an article published by Bloomberg.

Beyond the RZA statement, which stopped short of offering any real opinion about Shkreli, the Wu-Tang Clan have stayed pretty silent. Until this week. When Ghostface Killah was stopped on the street by TMZ.

“That shithead. You don’t take some AIDS pill you have for like $7 and then make it like $800. You know? You don’t do it like that. I don’t care if you bought the Wu-Tang whatever, whatever, whatever. I don’t even know him, but when I heard what he did with the AIDS like that, that’s not right”.

He added that he doesn’t think there should be just one owner of ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’, and that “the people” should own it.

Shkreli, clearly contravening the rules I laid out very clearly earlier in this article, then took the beef to Twitter, saying in response: “Ghost [is] mad that ‘Shaolin’ outsold his last five albums… dude’s a non-profit rapper. Calls himself Ironman, but sounds rusty [as fuck]”.

Bold words. So TMZ – never one not to fuel a fire – went and found the rapper again. In a second video, Ghostface referred to Shkreli as “the Michael Jackson nose kid”, adding: “Come on brah, you don’t even wanna do it. I’ll break your heart in four days. We could play. We could do that. We could get it in. You know, I’m just laughing off of the dude’s face”.

I really hope there are opportunities for me to use “I’ll break your heart in four days” in the future, because that is gold. But all this talk about his nose clearly riled Shkreli, who realised that he was going to have to come out from behind Twitter if he was going to gain the upper hand here. But rather than wait around for TMZ to find him, he made his own video and sent it over to the website.

Flanked by three “goons”, he claims that if he doesn’t receive a written apology from Ghostface Killah, he will erase him from the ‘Shaolin’ album, and from “the record books of rap”. Not really sure how he plans to do either of those things, but I guess that’s not the point.

“Every one of my enemies, they try to stay anonymous”, he says. “You’re trying to reclaim the spotlight from my spotlight … You’re my son, you have to listen to me. I butter your bread, you understand me?”

That’s all fine, but none of it has the beautiful simplicity of “I’ll break your heart in four days”, does it?

Shkreli also did an interview with TMZ Live about the beef, in which he showed that he was using the Wu-Tang album as a coaster, adding that it’s “100% none of your business” if the record is any good or not. “I paid the money so you won’t know”, he said.

He added that he’s not worried about the repercussions of the beef if people take it seriously, saying: “No, they’re worried about the repercussions. You saw the video … At the end of the day, I react to things how I react. It’s not an act. You know, Ghost is in trouble”.

So, we’ll see about that. Those four days aren’t up yet. But at least all of this confirms that Shkreli’s copy of ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ wasn’t seized by the FBI when he was arrested on charges of fraud late last year.

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