From the Roxanne Wars to the Biggie-Tupac diss showdown, here are the top 10 Hip Hop beefs of all time
If you think this year's Hip Hop entertainment has seen major feuds between top rappers, here's a rewind upto a decade ago to recall the wildest beefs of all time
Diss tracks targeting the assassination of character can be one way to define Hip Hop beefs. The Hip Hop entertainment industry has witnessed epic feuds between rappers and, though, September might have brought forth two of the most baffling Hip Hop beefs of all time namely Nicki Minaj and Cardi B as well as Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly, here is the list of more rappers who went for a head-to-head showdown in 2018 and even a decade earlier.
Let's start with the latest:
Eminem v/s Machine Gun Kelly
Eminem's latest album 'Kamikaze' calls out a number of rappers on various songs including Joe Budden, Lord Jamar, Lil Pump, Lil Xan, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), Tech N9ne, Vince Staples, Tyler the Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt. MGK was the only one to respond, with an ongoing diss track battle. Important to mention that six years ago MGK had tweeted that Eminem's daughter 'Hailie' is "hot as f**k". So in the 'Kamikaze' track titled 'Not Alike,' Eminem raps directly to MGK to stop commenting on his daughter. On September 8, a week after the release of Eminem's album, MGK dropped a diss track titled 'Rap Devil' which opens with “Ayy, somebody grab him some clippers (zzzzt)/His f**kin’ beard is weird,” which is both hilarious and true. On September 16, Eminem fired back with yet another diss track 'Kill Shot', where he raps; "Realized I forgot to call you back / Here's that autograph for your daughter, I wrote it on a Starter cap / Stan, Stan, son, listen, man, dad isn't mad / But how you gonna name yourself after a damn gun and have a man bun?" He continues; “But I’m 45 and I’m still outselling you/By 29 I had three albums that had blew/Now let’s talk about somethin’ I don’t really do/Go in someone’s daughter’s mouth stealin’ food.”
Meanwhile, G-Eazy, who shares a mutual dislike towards Machine Gun Kelly took to Instagram to post a picture with Eminem and explicitly captioned “Let’s talk about it.”
And in a hilarious comeback, MGK posted an Instagram, simply declaring “he missed,” which doubles as a response and effective promo for his EP Binge.
MGK took to the same stage and opened his performance of 'Rap Devil' and called Eminem out; “The real Slim Shady can’t stand up...F**k Marshall Mathers.”
Nicki Minaj v/s Cardi B
The beef has escalated between the two top female rappers. It all started in March 2017, when Nicki seemingly liked a comment taking digs on a video of the 25-year-old rapping on Instagram. The comment read: ‘Dumb ass bars,’ but many fans pointed out that the social media activity could be fake. But the tension built up from there. In August the same year, Nicki featured on 'No Flags' with 21 Savage and Cardi B's husband, Offset. Nicki rapped; "I heard these labels are trying to make another me / Everything you’re getting little hoe is because of me." Many believed it was about Cardi, but Nicki later tweeted a response to backlash saying that the line was not about her. Even Cardi B clarified that she wanted nothing to do with an "industry beef" at the 2017 MTV VMA’s awards.
But the "beef" bounced back when Cardi jumped on G-Eazy’s song 'No Limit' and rapped "My career takin’ off / These hoes jogging in place / Swear these hoes run they mouth / How these hoes out of shape? / Can you stop with all the subs? / B*tch I ain’t Jared." Things got personal when both rappers appeared on Migos’ track 'Motorsport'. Following the release, Cardi B told in the interview with Capital Xtra; "When I heard the track, her verse wasn’t finished. It was not the verse that is on right now. Quavo told me to get on the song, and I just felt it was a perfect opportunity for me to be on a track that’s big like them."
Nicki promptly responded on Twitter to her 21.3 million followers; "How can you say someone changed their verse & forget to say Quavo TOLD me to remove my singing part (which I loved) & Atlantic told me to remove your name from my verse per your request?"
However, in May, a truce was reached and the two set aside any tension to capture a sweet moment on the Met Gala red carpet.
Then in a turn of events, for the worse, Cardi B darted straight to attack Nicki Minaj at the Harper’s Bazaar bash. While making the advances, the 'Bodak Yellow' rapper was elbowed by Nicki Minaj's bodyguard so Cardi attempted to fight and also threw her shoe. Cardi addressed the situation, which left her with a bruise and ripped dress, on her Instagram page claiming that Nicki ‘mentioned her child’ and made comments about her abilities to look after her daughter. Nicki responded by saying that the incident was "mortifying and humiliating" experience. She even made a diss track about Cardi B, or so it seems.
Nicki Minaj v/s Travis Scott
Nicki Minaj had another serious issue with Travis' new album 'Astroworld' as it beat her 'Queen,' for the number one spot on the U.S. albums chart. In August, she expressed her outrage as she tweeted; "I put my blood sweat & tears in writing a dope album only for Travis Scott to have [girlfriend] Kylie Jenner post a tour pass telling ppl to come see her & Stormi," referring to the couple's six-month-old daughter.
"I f--king love Kylie and that's never gonna change," Minaj later said on her Queen Radio show. "I f--king love her, so we're not going to do that. It's obvious she's got to ride with her man—why the f--k wouldn't she? We're not going to make this something this is not. She's not done anything wrong except support her people. She's a dope girl."
In September, Nicki said on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' that she felt like she wanted to punch Travis "in his f--king face" for claiming the spot.
"I've had a No. 2 album and I never cared. It's just that when you have a No. 2 album to someone who is selling shirts and merch—and selling passes for a tour that isn't announced yet—it feels like you're being tricked. It feels like someone is playing a game and beating you at a game opposed to just selling music. I want to sell music!" she said. "He didn't have the No. 1 album. Queen was the No. 1 album."
And while we also had Drake's beef with Pusha T and Kanye West, we're skipping those to highlight the biggest ones ever.
Tupac v/s Biggie
The reason why you have the entire East Coast-West Coast rivalry is because of the biggest and also the most tragic rap beef in history. Biggie and Tupac started out as friends when they met in 1993, but in-clique rumors and media frenzy they soon turned against each other. Their friendship was so concrete that Biggie would often crash at Pac's LA house when he visited from New York, while Pac used to send Biggie bottles of Hennessey and pour much-needed advice to the young rapper. The duo also performed on stage together, freestyling back and forth at venues including Madison Square Garden.
Pac soon became a platinum-selling musician and a movie star, while Biggie was still struggling to advance his career Biggie asked Pac to take over from Puff as his manager. "Nah, stay with Puff," Pac told Biggie. "He will make you a star." In 1994, when Tupac was in New York to film 'Above the Rim', he started hanging around with Jacques 'Haitian Jack' Agnant and Jimmy Henchman. Biggie warned Pac not to befriend them but Tupac did not listen. Shortly afterward, Tupac was called up to the studio by Biggie's affiliated rapper Lil' Cease, where Pac was shot, beaten, and robbed of his jewelry. Later finding Biggie and Puff inside the building, Pac was lead to believe that Biggie was behind the shooting. Their friendship ended that night.
Days later, Pac was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for sexual abuse. Unable to pay the $3 million bail, Pac served most of his sentence in a maximum security prison, but during that time Biggie released a suspected Tupac diss track 'Who Shot Ya'. While Biggie and Puff denied that the song was aimed at Tupac, Pac was not assured and did everything he could to trash the Bay Boy rapper by claiming he shot him. Pac also bragged about sleeping with Faith Evans, Biggie's wife.
Even before the two rappers could settle their beef, Tupac was fatally shot on September 7, 1996. There's no evidence that Biggie or Puff knew about Tupac's shooting in advance so the murder has been clouded in mystery, rumors and controversy. Months later, on March 9, 1997, Biggie was killed in a drive-by shooting in LA and just like Pac's murder, Biggie's death has been clouded with conspiracy theories, and ultimately lead many to believe that this was the end of Hip Hop at the time. However, their East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry continues through their legacy, arguably as much as their music.
Jay-Z v/s Nas
In 1996, when Nas was one of the hottest rappers, Jay-Z invited him to contribute a verse to 'Reasonable Doubt'. For reasons unknown, Nas never made it to the studio, so Producer Ski Beatz sampled a line from the Nas track 'The World is Yours on Jay’s 'Dead Presidents II' as revenge for the snub. This was enough to piss the artiste, so Nas took a subtle jab at Jay-Z on 'The Message' that year with the line, “Lex with TV sets the minimum.” As he later explained to Complex: “I saw Jay-Z driving a Lexus with the TVs in them. I got rid of my Lexus at that point and I was looking for the next best thing. … It wasn’t necessarily a shot at him but … he definitely inspired that line."
Nas was subtle when the beef started but shots fired over the next few years. Jay-Z went ballistic during an appearance at Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert in 2001, as he played a never-heard track from his upcoming album, 'Blueprint'; "Ask Nas, he don’t want it with Hov. No!” Nas responded almost immediately with 'Stillmatic', in which he labels Jay both a “fake King of New York” and the “rapping version of Sisqo.”
When 'Blueprint' officially released, the full version of 'Takeover' was more vicious than the Summer Jam teaser; “Your shit is garbage/What you trying to kick, knowledge?” This pushed Nas to the edge and he unleashed the fury on 'Ether', a diss track so lethal that its title has become hip-hop shorthand for lyrical annihilation.
In the diss track Nas compares Jay-Z to the Joe Camel cigarette mascot and to J.J. “Dy-No-Mite!” "You a fan, a phony, a fake, a p*ssy, a stan/I still whip your ass, you 36 in a karate class,” he raps.
Jay-Z was not the one to give up and went even more nuclear. On December 11, 2001, he unveiled a new freestyle 'Supa Ugly', on New York City’s Hot 97 FM on which he boasts about sleeping with Carmen Bryan, the mother of Nas’ daughter, Destiny. Jay’s mother, Gloria, had been listening to the premiere and demanded her son apologize to Nas and his family, which he did the following day. Nas also acknowledged the need to call time on the increasingly nasty beef.
In October 2005, Jay shocked fans by bringing out Nas as a special guest on his 'I Declare War' tour. Even though the title was war, the event was all about peacemaking. The men performed 'Dead Presidents' and 'The World is Yours' together turning the beef into the most successful makeup in rap history. After Nas’ deal with Columbia was up, he signed with Jay-Z’s Def Jam label. And here's a happy-ever-after.
50 Cent v/s Ja Rule
It's 2018 and the 20-year-old beef between 50 Cent and Ja Rule is still not over. In 1999, when 50 Cent was up and coming before his debut album 'Get Rich or Die Tryin', he waged war with Ja Rule and Murder Inc. as a staff, record label and as a crew. Ja Rule was robbed at gunpoint for his chain in Southside Jamaica, Queens, and allegedly claimed that someone in 50's crew robbed him. Ever since the rest has been a mess of legendary diss tracks and the beginning of one of hip-hop's longest-lasting, most-heated beefs that continue to this day.
Beginning of this year, when 50 Cent said he put Ja "to bed" during an interview on Big Boy’s Neighborhood in Los Angeles. Ja Rule lashed out on January 19, taking to Twitter to relentlessly call out his opponent in a rant that spilled over into the following day.
NWA v/s Ice Cube
Ice Cube was the first member of NWA, who quit the group over royalty payments. Ice, who had written most of the group's genre-defining songs, believed that he wasn't getting his equal share of the cut especially compared to Eazy E. Eazy was the co-founder of their label, Ruthless Records, along with Jerry Heller, who also doubled as the Manager of the group. When Ice Cube quit the band, he was the recipient of some pretty strong diss tracks, but he wasn't one to sit back without a response. So he called out the entire collective on the infamous brutal four-minute dis track 'No Vaseline'.
Lil' Kim v/s Foxy Brown
When it comes to beef translating to physical altercation then it's not just Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim started out as friends and even did a magazine cover together. Both hailed from Brooklyn, and the two divas redefined what it meant to be female rappers while also revolutionizing fashion. Unfortunately, the media got the better of these two women and, soon, a beef formed.
The first shot was fired by Lil' Cease, a member of Biggie and Kim's group, with the track 'Play Around'. The rapper stated that Foxy Brown is imitating Lil' Kim and Lil' Kim later made fun of Foxy's proneness to panic attacks with 'The Notorious K.I.M.' Not to be outdone, Foxy Brown came back with Capone-N-Noreaga's 'Bang Bang'. In her verse, Foxy does everything from laugh at Lil' Kim's "street" image (stating she should go back to being a groupie) to assert that Kim is using Biggie's image for her own benefit.
Not long after the release of these tracks Kim's crew ran into Capone's entourage at Hot 97. Words were exchanged before gunfire broke out. It was this altercation that landed Lil' Kim in jail. With nobody to beef with, Foxy Brown also suffered in the music industry. Through the years, the two continued to release diss records against each other but nothing compared to the initial buzz when their beef was not old news. As of now Foxy is siding with Nicki Minaj, who has had her own beef with Kim.
Jadakiss v/s Beanie Sigel
It can be vouched that only hard-core Hip Hop fans know about the unforgettable beef between Beanie Sigel and Jadakiss and how it shook the rap world at the time. People often say that while the Jay and Nas beef may have been more hyped and mainstream, the Jada and Bean beef was more for the streets. The duo started out as friends and no one knows exactly what caused the feud but they suddenly stopped working together musically and speculation grew.
Then came the subliminal disses, a spark to get the fire started. Few opine that Jada felt a way about Jay-Z getting on the Mya 'Best Of Me' remix and even the R Kelly 'Fiesta' remix, making Jada's verse on the original completely irrelevant at the time. So when Beanie began gaining more attention, there were a lot of comparisons to Jada in style and lyricism. Then gradually, shots were fired through random freestyles and verses but when Jada and Beans dropped their official tracks, things got even more heated. Beans spit over Jada's own track and jabs at him for about four minutes with some of his toughest verses and that is hit right back.
But over the years, they seem to have made peace and hold an epitome that you can battle in Hip Hop without leading to violence or a casualty.
The Real Roxanne v/s Roxanne Shante
Final on the list is the inception of rap beef. Diss tracks, now a venerable genre, were created by accident in 1984. Dating back to one of the first female rappers, Roxanne Shanté, her first song inspired an estimated 55 "response" tracks, that labeled the term 'Roxanne Wars' in Hip Hop history. So how the entire genre came to be was when a 14-year-old Lolita Shanté Gooden, an aspiring MC who loved to rap on street corners in her native Queens, was asked to record a verse for Marlon Williams aka Marley Marl.
She picked the early hip-hop song 'Roxanne, Roxanne' by UTFO, a song about a girl who meanly rejected the band’s collective romantic advances. Marl called his response song 'Roxanne's Revenge', and on it, Shanté adopted the name Roxanne Shanté. She told a new side to the band's story: that the band had sleazily come on to Shanté numerous times and that she’d turned them down because they weren’t good enough for her.
The track was an immediate hit on the radio so when UTFO heard the song they issued a cease-and-desist over the unauthorized sample, so Marl re-recorded it with a new beat and ended up selling over 250,000 copies in New York alone. UTFO struck back at the teenage rapper in a more inventive way, they crafted the female personality of 'The Real Roxanne' to offer up another take on their own song.
Shanté riled up with 'Bite This' which really kickstarted the beef and that is how rap beef was born.