Hip-hop is a battle ground, where rappers of all calibers attempt to earn their accolades by verbally attacking their peers. Some succeed in utterly destroying their rivals career (Eminem vs. Benzino and 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule); some fall short with their disses and look like even bigger fools (Wale vs. Everyone who doesn’t like him) and in most extreme situations some beef ends with death (R.I.P. 2pac and Biggie).
In honor of rap battles, I’ve compiled a shortlist of what I think are epic feuds that rocked the music world as well as the most recent ones plaguing the genre (Drake vs. Meek Mill).
Here are the greatest hip-hop battles of all time.
Tupac vs. The Notorious B.I.G
The most influential hip-hop feud ever. It affected entire regions (East Coast vs. West Coast), wrecked relationships, and changed lives forever. (R.I.P.)
“C’mere c’mere…open your fucking mouth…Didn’t I tell you not to fuck with me?…Can’t talk with a gun in your mouth huh?…Bitch-ass nigga, what?” – The Notorious B.I.G – “Who Shot Ya”
Nas vs. Jay Z
“Ask Nas, he don’t want it with Hov. No!” – Jay Z
Jay Z made the beef public at New York hip hop station Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert in 2001. Nas responded with an attack on Jay-Z during a radio freestyle over Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid in Full” beat, dissing most of the Roc-A-Fella Records members — specifically Jay Z, Freeway, Memphis Bleek, E-Money Bags, and Beanie Sigel.
50 Cent vs. Ja Rule
50 Cent says it started when 50’s friend robbed Ja Rule. Ja Rule says it started when he was shooting a video in Queens, New York, and 50 got jealous. 50 was also stabbed by one of Ja Rule’s friends. While no one other than 50 Cent and Ja Rule know the real origins of this battle we can all agree that 50 Cent ended Ja Rule’s rap career.
Winner: 50 Cent
Rick Ross vs. 50 Cent
Rick Ross started a feud with 50 Cent because he supposedly looked at him the wrong way at the BET Awards. 50 responded that he didn’t even see him there. After Rick Ross released the diss “Mafia Music” – 50 responded by exposing Rick Ross as a former correctional officer, hung out with the mother of one of Rick Ross’ children, and released countless diss tracks.
Winner: 50 Cent
The Game vs. 50 cent
50 Cent felt The Game was disloyal for not wanting to participate in G-Unit’s feuds with other rappers and working with artists they were feuding with. 50 also claimed that he wrote six songs on The Documentary and was not receiving proper credit for his work, which The Game denied.
Eminem vs. Benzino/ The Source
Eminem received a “2/5 mics” rating for his sophomore effort, The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) by The Source magazine. Eminem retaliated and mocked The Source in a few songs. The Source co-owner Benzino responded by releasing a diss track aimed at Eminem.
As the beef progressed, The Source lost its readership and advertisers. Benzino’s rap career flopped, while Eminem’s career flourished.
Eazy-E vs. Dr. Dre
Eazy-E refused to release Dr. Dre from his contract, after he found out Dre suspected him of withholding the money he had earned. Dr. Dre brought in Suge Knight to help him get out of it. Suge Knight allegedly threatened Eazy-E’s family. After Dre was released from his contract the two traded insults through rap songs, and Eazy-E’s album even included photos of Dr. Dre dressed in lacy clothes and make-up. The beef ended when Eazy-E was diagnosed with AIDS in 1995 and he made amends with Dr. Dre.
Ice Cube left N.W.A in December 1989 due to financial issues. The remaining group members initiated the beef by insulting Ice Cube on the two albums they recorded after his departure. Ice Cube responded with “No Vaseline”.
Winner: Ice Cube
Kool Moe Dee vs. LL Cool J
Kool Moe claimed that Cool J stole his style and decided to teach a 19-year old MC named LL Cool J a lesson which backfired horribly.
Winner: LL Cool J
Drake Vs. Meek Mill
Meek Mill dissed Drake for allegedly using a ghostwriter.