What does the burgeoning beef between rappers Jay-Z and The Game have in common with US foreign policy? Plenty, writes Marc Lynch in Foreign Policy. Like America, Jay-Z is a hegemon: “Nobody, but nobody, in the hip-hop world has his combination of hard power and soft power.” But like America, it’s debatable how much of that power Jay-Z should actually use against lesser threats.
The neo-conservative approach would be to crush The Game, but Jay-Z—who’s learned from beefs with Nas and 50 Cent—would risk lowering himself to his opponent’s level. A structural attack—blocking The Game’s album releases or Grammy appearances—might seem petty, and inspire more anti-Jay-Z sentiment. Lynch advocates a realist approach: ignore The Game, and shore up alliances.