ATLANTA (AP) — When Rick Ross posted a photo of himself on Instagram posing with Diddy, a woman joked on his page about the burly, bearded rapper wearing shades inside a nightclub.
Ross noticed — and didn't take kindly to it. In retaliation, he replied with an insult about the size of the woman's nose.
He's not alone in responding to unflattering comments with vitriol. From Rick Ross to Rihanna to the Kardashians, celebrities are going out of their way to "clap back" at regular folk who have the audacity to come for them on social media.
"It's for people to say 'Oohh and aahh,'" said the rapper, who's had his fair share of clap back battles on social media, mostly against 50 Cent. "Sometimes it makes you laugh at something that someone said. Social media is an avenue to say what's on your mind."
Clapping back is a way for someone to instantly gain the upper hand against an adversary who disrespected them, their family members or close friends. Most use social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to fire back at someone (it's not clear when the phrase originated or resurfaced. In 2003, Rapper Ja Rule released the song "Clap Back," a diss track directed toward 50 Cent and Eminem).
Chris Brown is a repeat clap back offender. Nicki Minaj cursed out an Instagram troll who criticized the rapper's supportive post of the N.W.A. biopic film "Straight Outta Compton." Kim Kardashian pointed out the poor grammar of someone who came on her page to criticize her.
It's become such a regular occurrence that gossip outlets like The Shade Room regularly highlight the best celebrity clap backs in separate social media posts.
The woman who was the butt of Rick Ross' insult, Holly McKelvey, said she was surprised by Ross' unflattering response to her joke. Even though she saw a substantial increase of 1,400 followers after her spat with him, she endured enormous backlash from countless numbers of the rapper's fans.
"I was shocked," said McKelvey, a Texas native. "That was odd to me. It's not often that celebrities come to somebody's page. But oh my God, it was insane. People were going to every single picture, any video I made, criticizing me. They called me stupid, talking about my skin because I have really sensitive skin. It was the meanest stuff ever."
Rihanna is notorious for showing low tolerance toward anyone who dares to express negativity her way. Last year, the singer responded harshly when she was criticized for not donating enough to a cause.
"My Prada shoes that I spent nothing on cant stop anyone from dying!" Rihanna wrote in response. "However the $100,000 I just sent to the Philippines will! Now eject reject witcho ratchet (explicit), begging for purses!"
Rapper The Game went on a verbal assault on Instagram in response to someone who made a homophobic slur about his son, called his other children ugly and the mother of his children old. The rapper boldly told the critic: "Tonite when you go to sleep I hope pitbull fleas infest your armpits ..."
R&B singer K. Michelle said she doesn't try to stress over comments too much, but much like others, she is ready to respond when she feels compelled to put someone in check. She recently clapped back at someone for making fun of her post of the late singer David Bowie.
"I clap back for fun," K. Michelle said. "I really don't clap back because of anything else. It's for fun. People say, 'Oh, you're hurt.' No, not really. I'm really hurt for you because you're pathetic."
Even though K. Michelle doesn't take it too seriously, some believe she and other entertainers should.
Jesse Mills, who runs an Atlanta-based branding agency, said clapping back on social media could benefit or hurt stars. He said celebs shouldn't let regular people or other celebrities get under their skin.
"You shouldn't let anyone know they can penetrate your psyche," Mills said. "Once someone sees that you are responding, it opens up a Pandora's box for others who will try to antagonize you to see if you react to them emotionally. It can create a vicious cycle."
Usher, who is rarely combative on social media, echoed those sentiments.
"Be careful what you say and don't take anything personal," the Grammy-winning singer said. "Don't get me wrong. I have emotions just like any other person. I tweet little bitty humorous things, because I think it's funny. But you have to be impeccable with your words."
Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrLandrum31. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/jonathan-landrum-jr