Hip-hop is a genre that celebrates Alpha behavior, top-dog mentalities, and sometimes aggression. While not always the case, fights that start over the microphone can sometimes work their way into the real world, with disastrous consequences. Some of the feuds fizzle out with no harm done and everyone friends in the end; others, not so much. It seems like every major star has had a fight with another star at one point or another; here are nine of the biggest feuds of all time.
1. Joe Budden vs. Royce da 5’9″
These two eventually put their differences behind them and formed a rap supergroup, Slaughterhouse. Before that, they were throwing insults at each other in their mixtapes. Joe Budden and Royce da 5’9″ initially got into it over a line on Thou Shall Not Fall, a mixtape recorded by Budden mentioning a battle Royce had. A verbal exchange ensued, but it was eventually put to bed.
2. T.I. vs. Ludacris
As two of ATL’s finest, it’s no wonder that T.I. and Ludacris would have some sort of rivalry. Yet things were taken to a new level when each threw jabs at the other on Young Buck’s 2004 “Stomp.” More verbal shots followed, but they stopped in 2008 and collaborated with “On Top of the World” and “Wish You Would.”
3. Drake vs. P. Diddy
During the most recent high-profile feud, P. Diddy apparently beat Drake up at a club after Drake said some insulting things about P. Diddy’s girlfriend. Let that be a lesson to everyone out there: don’t insult a rapper’s girlfriend unless you don’t mind getting cold-cocked.
4. Kendrick Lamar vs. Everyone
This all started when Kendrick Lamar recorded a verse for Big Sean’s song, “Control.” In the verse, Lamar basically calls out everyone in hip-hop and says that he is trying to metaphorically “murder” them. Essentially, he wants to be better than all of them. Well, that isn’t how most of the rap world took it, and there were an incredible amount of response tracks released.
5. 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule
This was one of the nastiest rap feuds of the 2000s. 50 Cent set out to ruin Ja Rule’s career and pretty much accomplished this goal. This allegedly started when 50 Cent stole Ja Rule’s jewelry. From there, all hell broke loose. 50 Cent recorded many diss tracks aimed at Ja Rule, and they were so powerful and effective that Ja Rule would basically never work again.
6. Jay-Z vs. Nas
Largely regarded as the greatest rap feud of all time, Jay-Z vs. Nas even changed the vocabulary of the hip-hop world. It didn’t even start between the two rappers; the quarrel was all Memphis Bleek’s fault. On 2000’s “My Mind Right,” Bleek says the lines, “Your life’s a lie, but here’s the truth: You ain’t hype to die but you hype to shoot.” The insult seemed to be directed at Nas, who responded to both Bleek and Jay-Z with subliminal insults on mixtape tracks. This was taken to another level on 2001’s “The Takeover,” where Jay called Nas “lame” and dissected his entire catalog piece by piece. Nas responded with “Ether,” in which he compares the Brooklyn rapper to Judas and a camel. Now whenever someone releases a great diss track, it is said that the rapper “Ethered” the other rapper. Talk about staying power.
If you’re looking to get into the hip-hop world, I would advise that you should expect to have some quality beefs. This is especially true if you enter the battle rap scene. You could also become one of the greatest MC’s of all time, so follow your dreams, 16 bars at a time.
7. Eminem vs. Benzino
Eminem was mad he didn’t get a 5-mic rating (the highest rating) in The Source for his LP, The Eminem Show, when it dropped in 2002. Benzino was Editor in Chief at the time. Eminem then blew off Benzino at an event, so Benzino went on NYC’s Hot 97 radio station to call him out. This feud even escalated to Benzino threatening Eminem’s daughter, Hailie. Every now and then, their past war still pops up. In fact, Benzino still wants to battle Eminem.
8. Kanye West vs. 50 Cent
In what was more of a publicity stunt “beef,” 50 Cent decided to make a wager with Kanye West when both rappers had albums slated to come out on the same day. The rapper with the most albums sold during the opening week would be crowned the victor, and the loser had to quit rapping forever. Kanye won, but 50 Cent still works as a rapper and mogul. There wasn’t much bad blood between these two, and they both admit that it was just a stunt to boost each other’s sales.
9. 2pac vs. Notorious B.I.G.
This is one of the first notable rap feuds in the history of the genre. Sadly, this one ended with both men dying as a result. Biggie and 2Pac started out as friends, but rumors and media commotion ruined a good thing. In 1994, 2Pac was shot while leaving New York’s Quad Studios; he alleged Puffy and Biggie set him up. Shortly after, B.I.G. put out a song called, “Who Shot Ya?” Pac pieced the puzzle together in his mind with “Hit Em Up.” Things escalated quickly, as magazines called this an “East Coast vs. West Coast” war. Tupac was gunned down in 1996, and Biggie was killed six months later. Both murders remain unsolved.