Going back all the way to when L.A. Sunshine fat shamed Santa Claus ("Listen bloato in your big fat suit") and even before, hip-hop has gleefully leveraged various prejudices for humor, rhymes, and profit. It's not very surprising, then, that the recent Twitter beef between Snoop Dogg and Iggy Azalea moved instantly into sexist and racist insults. As anyone from Eminem to Nicki Minaj ("All these bitches is my sons…If I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on 'em") could tell you, that's how you play the dozens.
Here’s what happened. Snoop initially posted a picture of an albino African-American woman with cornrows saying it was "Iggy Azalea No Make Up." Iggy posted a picture of Snoop titled, "When your drug addict aunt gets clean" (she later deleted it). Snoop posted pictures comparing Azalea to Marlon Wayans passing as a white girl in the film White Chicks. As things escalated, some commenters called Snoop out for sexism while Snoop himself posted a default-gangsta threatening instagram video (which is not even a little bit safe for work).
Many articles about the Snoop/Iggy altercation have emphasized its triviality and stupidity. "Nicky Young [a professional basketball player and Azalea's boyfriend], Iggy Azalea and Snoop Dog are Engaged in an Enormously Dumb Beef," Bleacher Report trumpeted, before meticulously detailing every back and forth. In some senses, observers are right—the beef is enormously dumb. But insults, inventive or otherwise, are an integral part of hip-hop, and they can often be revealing.