Pete Rock & Funkmaster Flex Are Battling Over The Future Of NY Hip-Hop

In the last week, a battle has been going on surrounding Hip-Hop radio in New York. The series of events began with an Instagram Live monologue from Conway The Machineone of Rap’s most promising and acclaimed MCs as of late. The Machine vented frustrations with media gatekeepers, especially on the radio. He named HOT 97’s Funkmaster Flex and Power 105’s DJ Suss One in particular, pointing out that despite relationships and verbal support, he and others do not receive support. “You’re Funk Flex. Everybody done came up there to get bombs dropped on they sh*t, and rap on your platforms. But, see, that’s what’s wrong and why the sh*t won’t grow, and why the South, the West, and Detroit and them ni**as…everywhere else is winning and having long ass, infinite runs that don’t end. ‘Cause ni**as f*ck with they own.” The Buffalo native, whose 2019 Funkmaster Flex’s earned over 4 million views, suggested that Flex was overlooking his region.

It did not take long for Flex to respond. The HOT 97 DJ blamed Conway’s music. He listed Conway’s powerful associations and alliances (ranging from Eminem to Kanye West to JAY-Z), then dismissed him as a “40-plus bars rapper” and alleged that the Griselda affiliate had “peaked.”

Funkmaster Flex Is Trying To End Conway The Machine

On Wednesday (July 13), Conway clarified the reason for his earlier comments. “I just want to make a few things clear: I don’t care about a ni**a playing me on the radio, bro. That never was my premise. I’m not asking or crying out for why you don’t play me.” Conway continued, “Ni**as sent me a video of [Funkmaster Flex appearing on the A Million Dollaz Worth Of Game podcast]. Wallo asked about Griselda. Flex was like, ‘I f*ck with them, I like what they doin’, but it ain’t my vibe. I don’t listen to it personally.’ Why you have to do that, bro? You don’t know what they sh*t could potentially do, your opinions and sh*t. Keep that to yourself.” Since then, Funkmaster Flex has reportedly offered a beat to Conway The Machine with plans to broadcast the completed song this week on his HOT 97 radio show. Conway seems to have accepted the challenge, warning the DJ to “stay tuned” after claiming he will deal him.

However, as Conway and Funk Flex have their issue, a Hip-Hop legend entered the discussion. Pete Rock used IG to call out Flex in support of Griselda, Wu-Tang Clan, and others. Fresh off of calling out Diddy last month over some remarks during the BET Awards, the producer/DJ/MC jabbed at his former label-mate and colleague. “You don’t play real artists no more. You talk sh*t like you [are] better than everybody, and I believe all threats with real talent in music were removed by plan out the way for that new sh*t to happen. You a New York ni**a treating the other New York artists who put in work like our career is over. You stop playing Wu-Tang [Clan], you play no Griselda, nothing, stopped playing a lot of artists, then you judge maf*ckas and make fun of that fact you control what you want when you on air. So much good music out here to be ignored, and [you are] a Black dude treating other Black, talented people like they [are] beneath you. You don’t make beats or rap, but you sh*tted on artists ’cause you could, and you stopped supporting real Hip-Hop music to cater to whoever got you in their pocket. That’s sucka DJ behavior.” The statement accused Flex of turning his back on his roots, while being on the take—a powerful indictment against a DJ who accused Cardi B’s camp of payola several years ago.

Pete Rock Blasts Funkmaster Flex For Not Supporting Real Hip-Hop

Flex responded to Pete online, then promoted a proper reaction to his Thursday night (July 14) radio show. There, Flex not only condemned Pete’s criticism, he listed multiple accusations, ranging from the adversary’s career ending after the success of Bad Boy Records to legal actions involving Nas and Heavy D & The Boyz’ DJ Eddie F, to reportedly snitching on former band-mate C.L. Smooth. Flex also chided Pete Rock for using writers on some of his verses, not doing right by his late cousin, Heavy D, and getting fired from his former radio posts.

Regarding his position in Hip-Hop culture, Flex said, “It’s not my fault. I have made a decision, New York. I like new Hip-Hop. I like the new music. I like what people make. I like songs that move the club. I am not an A&R, and I’m not a label owner. My job is to play the heat. And what I do is I find the good records and I play them. The word is called Hip-Hop, emphasis on ‘Hip.’ If you are 45 or 50, there nothing Hip left in your body to rhyme about. Now, let me be specific though: You can be 40 to 50 and make great songs for your fanbase; I love that. I love people who do that. Artists should do that all the time. I like to DJ for my fanbase, and I play on this radio for my fanbase. I never take a penny to play songs. I love what I do. This is my dream job.”

Funkmaster Flex Accuses Pete Rock Of Snitching On C.L. Smooth

On the latest episode of the What’s The Headline podcast, Ambrosia For Heads unpacks this multifaceted issue among three important voices in Hip-Hop culture. The episode sets the table with context and opinion surrounding these issues and clarifies a few items that may not be clear among the harsh words (including Pete Rock’s reported lawsuit regarding Nas’ Illmatic royalties). The discussion also weighs in on the state of terrestrial radio, the responsibility of DJs like Flex and Suss One, and predictions on where this feud may be headed. Episode #86 also breaks down DJ Premier’s new EP featuring Nas, Remy Ma, Rapsody, Slick Rick, Lil Wayne, and more.

The time codes for episode #86 of the What’s The Headline podcast (with hyperlinks to skip around):

0:00 Intro
1:20 Funkmaster Flex is in a feud with Conway The Machine and Pete Rock, and it’s turned ugly
2:18 Pete Rock’s Hip-Hop resume
7:30 What Funkmaster Flex has meant for Hip-Hop
13:00 Conway The Machine’s Hip-Hop credentials
17:35 AFH’s relationships with each of Pete Rock, Conway The Machine and Funkmaster Flex
20:16 Why do most Hip-Hop feuds start on social media now?
23:00 Conway The Machine’s beef with Funkmaster Flex
27:23 Why FM radio plays so little variety today
44:10 Funkmaster Flex’s response to Conway The Machine’s attack
49:25 Pete Rock blasts Funkmaster Flex for not supporting “Real Hip-Hop”
58:55 Funkmaster Flex responds to Pete Rock and makes several serious allegations
1:31:20 Where will this feud go next?
1:33:00 Does being played on FM radio even matter for artists anymore
1:39:08 DJ Premier released an EP featuring Nas, Remy Ma, Rapsody, Run The Jewels, Lil Wayne, and Slick Rick

AFH readers can catch regular discussions about the culture on our What’s The Headline. The podcast also has interviews with Joell Ortiz, AZ, Blu & Mickey Factz, Kurupt, Evidence, Skyzoo, Pharoahe Monch, Prince Paul & Don Newkirk, Statik Selektah, Lyric Jones, The LOX, MC Eiht, Havoc, Duckwrth, photographer T. Eric Monroe, and Lord Finesse.

Remy Ma & Rapsody Go Scorched Earth Over A Preemo Beat

All episodes of the show are available to view or for listening wherever you stream your pods.