In light of the genre’s most recent petty feud between The Game and Meek Mill, TheWrap looks back at hip-hop’s best and worst historic beefs.
The Game v. Meek Mill
The East Coast–West Coast feud may never die, even if its combatants occasionally do. In its latest installment, The Game shot disses at Meek Mill in September after the Compton rapper came to believe that Meek implicated him in the assault and robbery of performer Sean Kingston.
Iggy Azalea vs. Azealia Banks
The battle of the Azaleas started in 2012, when Banks called out XXL magazine for placing Iggy on its “Freshman” cover after she spit lyrics like “runway slave master” on one of her tracks.
In 2014, Banks called out Iggy for being quick to appropriate black culture while staying silent went it comes to black issues — like the police shooting of Mike Brown. She also called her “Igloo Australia.”
Iggy hit back with a Twitter rant, calling Banks “poisonous” and blaming her lack of success on her “piss poor attitude.”
Drake vs. Meek Mill
The Philly-based rapper called out Drake in a tweet in 2015, claiming the “Views” artist wasn’t promoting Meek’s “Dreams Worth More Than Money” album — on which he was featured — because Drake doesn’t write his own raps.
The Canadian rapper shot back with two diss tracks, “Charged Up” and “Back to Back,” in the same week. Meek Mill fired back with his own “Wanna Know.” The feud still appears to be active, as Drake released “Summer Sixteen” earlier this yeah, which was perceived as another track aimed at Meek Mill.
The Roxanne Wars
WBLS D.J. Mr. Magic made U.T.F.O.’s “Roxanne, Roxanne” a hit, but When the group bailed on a thank-you appearance on his radio show, the Marley Marl-backed Juice Crew cut a diss track in response, featuring teen Lolita Gooden under the moniker Roxanne Shanté.
U.T.F.O. responded to Shanté’s diss, which opened the flood gates for any Roxanne, Rox and Roxy to get in on the feud, which they did, with a number of unauthorized responses by acts like Sparky D, Ralph Rolle and Dr. Freshh.
Nicki Minaj vs. Lil Kim
Lil’ Kim, a.k.a. Queen of Hip-Hop, thought Nicki Minaj was biting her style, so shortly after Minaj’s “Pink Friday” release, Kim recorded a diss track titled “Black Friday.” “I’ll turn Pink Friday into Friday the 13th, Alright you Little Kim clone clown,” Queen Bee rapped.
Nicki threw subliminal shade at Kim during her 2015 BET Awards acceptance speech. Although she never mentioned her by name, many took it as a direct slam: “Please make it your business to follow your dreams because one day, you will wake up and look around and your dreams will be gone. And then you’ll be mad at somebody, but be mad at your f—— self,” Minaj said.
The Game v. 50 Cent
These two only recently made up in a strip club after 12 years during which several diss tracks were exchanged. It started when 50 dismissed The Game from his label live on New York’s Hot 97 in 2005 because the Compton rapper didn’t want to be a part of G-Unit’s feuds with other crews.
The two staged a public reconciliation that many dismissed as a publicity stunt, when 50 said shortly afterward that The Game had no street cred. The Game then initiated a boycott of G-Unit.
50 Cent v. Ja Rule
This beef turned violent, with Ja Rule alleging that 50 was behind a robbery of the “Holla Holla” rapper out of what he called jealousy. 50 was then attacked by Ja Rule‘s Murder Inc. in a New York recording studio where he was stabbed.
Investigators also believed Murder Inc. was linked to 50 Cent’s infamous shooting in which the “Get Rich or Die Trying” artist was shot a total of nine times. Diss tracks and physical altercations ensued, with the rivalry having been most recently revived last year in a series of taunting tweets.
Lil’ Kim vs. Foxy Brown
Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown’s careers took off around the same time, fueling rumors that there were tensions between the two — especially when their debut albums were scheduled for release a week apart.
Then Kim put out “Notorious K.I.M.,” on which she took implicit shots at Foxy, who then fired back with some lines of her own. The beef eventually took a violent turn when shots rang out as Kim left Hot 97’s studios following a run-in between her entourage and Capone from Capone-N-Noreaga. It was believed to have been related to Foxy’s lyrics in the CNN song “Bang, Bang.”
Jay-Z vs. Nas
With the death of Notorious BIG, Nas had rose to the top of the rap chain. But after a few flop albums he made way for Jay-Z to become the new King of Rap, nursing a beef that remained largely subliminal until Hova released an official diss track titled “The Takeover” in 2001. On it, he said Nas “went from Nasty Nas to Esco’s trash”and rapped, “Ask Nas, he don’t want it with Hov.”
Then all hell broke loose because Nas definitely did want it with Jay-Z, releasing “Ether,” which attacked HOVA’s street cred and more. As the two top rap artists at the time, Nas and Jay-Z were essentially embroiled in a power struggle for hip-hop supremacy, but now the two are besties — kinda.
N.W.A. v. Ice Cube
Ice Cube wrote almost all of the lyrics on N.W.A’s debut album “Straight Outta Compton,” but reaped none of the monetary benefits, so he split from the group, which later released a diss track targeting the newly-solo rapper.
Cube naturally came back with his own expletive-laden diss track, “No Vaseline,” searing his former bandmates with a flurry of snaps that comprised an entire scene in N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton.”
The death of group member Eazy-E marginalized the beef, which is now long squashed, with Cube and the remaining members of N.W.A. having performed together at Coachella just earlier this year.
Tupac v. B.I.G.
The feud that defined the East Coast–West Coast rap rivalry. The two were apparently on good terms until Tupac got shot and robbed in a Manhattan recording studio. Pac assumed Biggie was behind it all, especially after he released a track titled “Who Shot Ya?”
The West Coast rapper came back with numerous diss tracks including “Hit ‘Em Up,” which took shots at B.I.G. Biggie never came back with an “official” retaliation record, but the tension still continued.
Their beef technically ended when Tupac was fatally shot in a drive-by in Vegas. Less than a year later, Biggie was leaving a Soul Train Music Awards after party when he was also fatally shot in a drive-by. There are multiple theories surrounding the two iconic rappers’ deaths, including Biggie’s involvement in Tupac’s murder.
MC Shan v. KRS-One
But the original East–West rivalry took place between the Bronx and Queens. “The Bridge Wars” broke out when Marley Marl and MC Shan released a track titled “The Bridge,” which implied that hip-hop started in Queensbridge.
KRS-One bristled at the notion, so he put out “South Bronx,” in which he took shots at MC Shan and praised the South Bronx. Though the feud started in 1985, diss tracks continued well into 2001. The beef officially came to an end when KRS-One and Marley Marl collaborated on the “Hip Hop Lives” album in 2007.