Get Famous or Die Trying
Rebecca Black and Jenna Rose revive music's East Coast-West Coast rivalry
Between Black's fronting of West Coast label ARK Music Factory and Jenna's New York posse, the dueling divas could plunge the music industry back into the dark days of the deadly mid-90s intercoastal music rivalry.
Just like the early 90s rap scene, the West Coast has emerged early and strong. Black — from Anaheim Hills, Cal., slightly east of East Compton — finds herself in the Dr. Dre role as the first breakout success. Just as Dre released The Chronic about getting high, getting laid and having fun, Black's hit "Friday" is full of subtle drug references.
She opens by getting up and saying how she's "gotta have my bowl," which stoners call a wake-and-bake. And unbeknownst to parents, in the the underground L.A. dupstep party circuit, anytime you repeat the word "fun" more than twice, the third "fun" refers to a line of coke and the fourth requests an eight ball.
Why did Black choose "Friday" over Saturday? Rather than call up memories of Saturday Night Fever or Saturday Night Live, both NYC-centric pop culture staples, she's aligning herself with N.W.A. and Ice Cube, who starred in the 1995 movie of the same name.
But just as East Coast rappers grew increasingly frustrated with the focus on West Coast hip-hop, a hijacking of a sound style invented in New York, the theater kids and spoiled princesses of the Tri-State area are not going to give up their My Super Sweet 16-style vanity music video crowns so easily.
Enter Jenna Rose Swerdlow, a.k.a. Jenna Rose, an all-around talent like Christopher Wallace a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. Jenna's also been hustling to make it since childhood, though in Rose's case by hustling we mean "acting in local theater productions, mall fashion shows and television commercials," not selling crack. Biggie and Rose both represent Brooklyn (if by Brooklyn you include any part of Long Island) and Rose even shares the rapper's lispy, muddled delivery.
The hip-hop crews fought for respect on the streets, but these girls are already ready to throw down over any perceived slight to their status. In "My Jeans," Rose even throws a diss out over denim. "I bet she's mad/'Cuz I look fab/Ha ha ha, ha/Jack my swag/ Sticks and stones/May break my bones/but mine look new/And hers just look so old." You heard it here first: Jeans are the new kicks.
It's only a matter of time before Jenna's reps stand up at the Teen Choice Awards and declare "Any artist out there who wants to be an artist and stay a star, and don’t wanna have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos, all on the records, dancing … Come to ReverbNation!” a blatant diss at Puff Daddy and ARK's Clarence Jey, who performs awkward raps in all his artists' tracks.
From there the rivalry really goes to hell, with Black taunting Rose via Twitter about having stolen her jeans and her man, Rose releasing an album called Fuck Anaheim Hills and finally a violent and bloody showdown at Forever 21, where several members of both girls' cliques will be killed by projectile iPhones.
We've seen this kind of East Coast-West Coast war before, and it killed two of the most talented rappers of their generation. Hopefully Rebecca Black and Jenna Rose can work it out before Alana Lee re-records Diddy's "I'll Be Missing You," to perform at their funerals while the videos for "Friday" and "My Jeans" stream silently and the tweens of America gently weep.