Getting to the bottom of the nastiest local rap beef.
By his own admission rap artist Tyrik "Dirty Rik" Taylor's decade-long association with his former employer was less than stellar. He was a backup, a benchwarmer. "I sat the pine so long I got splinters in my motherfuckin' spine still," he says candidly in last month's YouTube video, before taking a hit off a curious-looking cigar and gazing into the camera. The droopy-eyed rapper then lays out his beef against Major Figgas--the consortium of rap artists from which he'd recently been exiled--and its boss, self-proclaimed "King of Philly" Gillie Da Kid.
The video, Dirty Rik Adresses Da Beef, is an explanation of the first shot fired in the grimiest rap battle Philadelphia has seen in years--one that involves allegations of child molestation, a barrage of violent threats against family members and tales of a gangsta rapper going gay for pay.
It also involves YouTube, the vehicle of choice for rap beefs in the Internet age. No longer are artists taking the time to write and record raps. Instead they're talking to cameras and uploading videos.
A few days and a couple thousand viewer hits later, a visibly irritated Gillie responds to Rik. Gillie talks for a second, then instructs the man behind the camera to go in for a tight shot of the 42-inch flatscreen monitor behind him. The frame blurs before returning to a sharp focus that lingers on a single line of a long arrest record. "Indecent assault person less [than] 13 years age." It's Rik's rap sheet.
"The Internet's a motherfucker!" exclaims Gillie, visibly charged by the prospect of what technology has to offer--especially when it comes to taking down his enemy.
The mood in the room is lighter than you might expect. Gillie, a true showman, hams it up for the camera--eyes wild, hat cocked--joking that Dirty Rik hangs outside elementary schools using Hannah Montana tickets and "Johannas Brothers" posters to entice young female students to talk to him.
After that video, the beef spirals out of control. Gillie stays on the offensive and issues another YouTube salvo. This time, the woman who claims Dirty Rik molested her young daughter stands by his side. Compelling at first glance, Margaret Moran, a white female from Southwest Philadelphia who resembles "Buckwild" from the first season of Flavor of Love, loses credibility by video's end as she laughs with Gillie about the charges she's leveling. She's obviously pleased to be there.
Moran goes by the name "Amirah" on the Internet, whether in the video with Gillie trashing Rik, applying to become a contestant on Flavor of Love or on her MySpace profile. In fact, Moran used MySpace to send Gillie the message about "helping him out any way [she] can" in his beef with Rik, her ex-boyfriend.
She decided to help by talking about Rik's criminal record in the video, saying he plead guilty to the indecent assault charge against him.
He didn't. Rik plead no contest only after his lawyer told him it wasn't an admission of guilt. The plea meant he'd be freed on time served, a plea bargain brought to the table by the district attorney, who saw the case falling apart due to inconsistencies in the testimony of the alleged victim.
Being Black: It's not the skin color