The biggest stars on Vine are waging an epic rap battle

They spit six-second disses, but all in good fun.


Kate Knibbs

Internet Culture

Published May 15, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 7:34 am CDT

Vine’s most popular users have developed into niche celebrities, with scandals and movie deals and millions of followers hanging on every six-second video.

Power users like Marcus Johns (4.5 million followers) don’t treat their popularity as an excuse to isolate themselves from the community; instead, many Vine “celebrities” interact and engage with each other through the app. Over the past week, evidence of the Vine community’s collaborative spirit cropped up from an unlikely source.

Johns kicked off a sprawling rap battle, roping in other big Vine names like Nash Grier and Brittany Furlan. And while it was full of insult comedy and disses, it brought many of the major Vine stars together… and it’s not over yet. 

It started when Johns was bored at home and decided to challenge his fellow viners:


Others quickly responded, launching a multi-day rap battle.


Despite the extreme lack of actual, you know, rapping talent, people in the Vine community were into it, posting reaction videos and taking the idea and recording clips aimed at each other.

Johns encouraged other Vine stars to keep the rap battle going next Saturday night. Though he’s spent the past few days getting dissed, it’s clear from his updates that it’s all in good fun.

When Vine debuted, people wondered if it’d be the next Instagram. The Twitter-owned app hasn’t gone mainstream in the way that the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app has (it didn’t help that Instagram added video shortly after Vine came out). But Vine’s lower profile has been a benefit for the community. It’s still a huge app with millions of active users, so it’s not exactly an underground phenomenon. But Vine has managed to cultivate the same kind of sense of community that Instagram had when it started, and that feeling of intimacy is especially clear when you look at how its power users interact with each other. Yes, they spar and compete, but they are eager to engage and collaborate.

The rapping back-and-forths are expected to pick up this Saturday night. And even though the major players seem to be more focused on each other than more casual users, who knows? It is a tight-knit community, after all. Make up something clever and you could be on the fast track to Vine stardom. 

Photo via Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: May 15, 2014, 1:08 pm CDT