April 11th, 2012
Some of you may remember a Diva Death Match that went down last summer between Ms. Jill Scott and a one Mrs. Beyonce Knowles Carter. It happened to take place shortly after they’d both put out two fresh records: Scott’s excellent The Light Of The Sun and Bey’s momentous 4. They came out a week apart and it seemed obvious to everyone that this was a direct call-out. They were less-than-obviously saying to each other ‘How you like me now?’ They were pitted against each other in a number of categories: Hoodness, Fierceness, Vocal Chops, Singles and Sales, and Clout. Beyonce took the title of Baddest Bitch home with a score of 19-11, picking up big points in the categories of Sales and Clout.
So what if Bey and Rih-Rih got into it? Unfortunately, we can’t really see any direct challenges being thrown down in our pop cultural radar. You may have heard that Beyonce’s coming back after having a baby and she’s doing it PIMP-LIKE. She’s selling out a multi-night extravaganza at the brand-new Revel resort in Atlantic City this Memorial Day weekend. If you haven’t bought your tickets already, be prepared to pay THROUGH THE NOSE. Seriously, you might not want to go out to dinner tonight. Start a Beyonce fund. And until then, root her on in this vicious battle. Let’s say, for the purposes of a girl fight, that Rihanna’s fuming. She was going to sell that damn weekend out. She’s got a beef and she wants to settle it RIGHT NOW.
This is a category where Bey tends to be weak. Growing up in Houston, Texas and being groomed as a child music star from the tender age of 7 pails in comparison to Robyn Fenty’s. Get this: Rih’s father had three kids by three different mothers (that’s three half-siblings) before she was born in Barbados. Already hood. Then, as it turns out, her father was addicted to crack, herb and the devil juice. She and her two younger brothers lived in a three-bedroom bungalow while her parents screamed at each other regularly until their divorce when she was 14. She sold clothes from her father’s business in street stalls. Oh, and Rih got a “Thug Life” tattoo on her fingers. Damn, that’s hood. Bey: 0, Rih: 5
This is the category that Beyonce generally sweeps. When it’s time to perform, she knows what she’s doing. Not sure if you knew about this, but, B put out a live DVD at the end of last year called Elements of 4. In it she rips through Destiny’s Child hits and early Beyonce solo record hits before she does the entirety of 4. She mean mugs, she shoulder shimmies, she emotes and she talks street to the nines. It is practically two hours of concentrated fierceness. Rih-Rih’s fierce and all, but doesn’t have the personality to back it up. She’s young, maybe it’ll come to her in time. She’s a bit of a pawn, really, of bonkers producers and Jay-Z, oddly enough, her combatant’s husband. But she’s photographed in INSANE fashion outfits smoking blunts in Ibiza. That’s pretty fierce. Bey: 4, Rih: 3
Does this category need to get fleshed out? Rihanna’s schtick is that she can’t sing all that well. Her singles are crafted to accommodate her goat-bleat of a voice. But when it aligns with the anthemic chorus at 1:30am at Woody’s, you’d think she was vocally trained by Whitney Houston (R.I.P., girl). Bey’s got pipes. Try to deny it, but listen to her nail the run in “I Care” and you will think differently. Bey: 5, Rih:1
SINGLES AND SALES
This one’s a toss-up and a bitter fight to the end. Somehow, Rihanna’s accumulated 14 platinum U.S. singles. With six studio albums and 43 singles at the age of 24, she’s got an impressive roster of accomplishments. Bey’s really only got 8 platinum singles as herself AND Destiny’s Child’s songwriter, and only five more charted singles than Rih. When you look at the success of “We Found Love,” which has peaked at #1 in like ten countries, it makes the sales of “Run The World (Girls)” look pathetic. Bey: 4, Rih: 5
Ah, the nebulous and subjective bout-decider. With the whole Chris Brown thing, she’s become the face and talking point du jour of discussions of feminism and abuse. Even Oprah’s weighed in. But a scandal does not a diva make. Bey’s got time on her side; as Destiny’s Child she tore it up with hits we’ll never forget like “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Jumpin’ Jumpin’,” and “Survivor.” Don’t forget she’s been in films like Dreamgirls, The Pink Panther and Obsessed. What’s Rih been in? Oh yeah, she’s in that ghastly battleship movie. Yeah, Rihanna’s got no chance. She shouldn’t have hit that blunt before she came into the ring. She’s getting light-headed and Beyonce’s raising up her fist like the survivor that she is. Bey:4, Rih: 2
Bey: 17, Rih: 16