Meek Mill Is Using Small Business Tactics To Win
Yes, he got bodied by Drake. Yes, the memes are hysterical. But Meek Mill’s rap career is far from over.
In two short weeks, media coverage on Meek Mill went from praising Dreams Worth More Than Money to questioning whether his career is over. This feud has been entertaining, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves—diss records don’t end careers, and Meek Mill isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Hip-hop feuds often get started by a lesser-known artist trying to make a name for him or herself by attacking more popular artists. In 1999, 50 Cent dropped “How To Rob,” a diss track where he called out more than 25 artists. According to 50, “A lot of people didn’t [respond to] it. The ones who had egos had to respond.” Jay Z was one of the few who responded. At the 1999 Summer Jam, Jay Z performed on stage and said, “I’m about a dollar what the [heck] is 50 cents?”
At Summer Jam, Rich Nice, A&R for Columbia Records, called 50 immediately and told him what happened. “You on kid, you on right now” he’s reported as saying. “It’s on and poppin’. You got the biggest dude in the game saying your name.”
Drake is the biggest dude in the game right now. He could have easily ignored this. He had no problem ignoring Childish Gambino last year, but he chose to go full force on Meek. This sends a message to fans— especially fans that did not know about Meek Mill—that Meek is worthy of Drake’s time. While Drake won the feud and further increased his own popularity, he brought Meek along for the ride as well.
In business, smaller companies are better positioned than larger ones to take risks to increase their publicity. An article in The Harvard Business Review, called “Bad Reviews Can Boost Sales. Here’s Why,” says that:
“[Smaller companies] might also consider undertaking potentially controversial moves to increase their visibility. If a risky tactic gets a bad response, the attention might nevertheless increase product recognition and ultimately boost sales.”
These small company principles also apply to rappers. Meek Mill knew that calling Drake out in a tweet was a “potentially controversial move”. Even though Drake has gotten the best of Meek, it’s Meek’s recognition that has grown the most; brands like Rosetta Stone were tweeting at him, not Drake. Since July 20, Meek has 617,000 more Twitter followers and 3 million Twitter mentions. That means that millions of people might have recently listened to the epic “Dreams and Nightmare Intro” for the first time. And after hearing that song, how could someone not want to hear more of his music?
Meek’s career is on the right path, but in case he makes a false step, don’t forget that he still has Maybach Music behind him—the same Maybach Music that just revived Omarion’s career. (If Maybach O made his career comeback by rhyming “post to be” with “groceries,” then Meek Mill is in good hands.)
Two years ago, we made fun of Drake for beefing with Chris Brown. Last October, we made fun of Drake for airballing a three at Kentucky. In December, we made fun of Drake for getting in a fight with Diddy. And now Drake’s the man of the hour.
Things change on a dime. It’s easy to get caught up in Meek Mill’s social media slaughter and Drake’s trolling, but this too will pass. Once the dust settles, Meek’s original fans will still be here, and he will gain some more as well. As a crisis PR specialist explained in a recent interview with Complex, “At the end of the day, music transcends beef. If people are really feeling his music, they’ll forget about the beef.”