Competition has been a large part of hip hop throughout the years and, as a result, hip hop feuds have become very common throughout hip hop history. These feuds gained prominence in the mid 80s to mid 90s, which is known as the golden age of hip hop. However, these feuds didn’t stop there as they continue even today.
These feuds or “beefs” can come about for a number of different reasons. These reasons include things such as gang affiliations, turf wars and past or current relationships with others. The most common way that these feuds tend to take off is through the back and forth release of diss tracks by both sides. Sometimes, this is where the feud ends. However, there are those rare occasions where the feud leaves the studio and goes to the streets where fights, brawls, assaults and even murders have taken place.
In the present day, things are fairly quiet when it comes to real violence in these feuds outside of the odd nightclub fight. Most simply consist of rappers arguing over twitter or dissing each other in tracks.
10. Kanye West vs. 50 Cent
This feud began in late 2007 when both 50 Cent and Kayne West were on top of the hip hop world and seen as two of the best. The two mega stars were both slated to release an album on September 11th and thus some competition between the two was inevitable. 50 Cent, who up until this point had sold better than Kanye in the past, made a bet with Kanye. 50 Cent said he would no longer write music or put out any albums if Kanye’s new album outsold his. As it turned out, Kanye West did outsell 50 Cent, but obviously 50 did not hold up his end of the bet. Recently, it was revealed that the “feud” was nothing more than a stunt to drum up more sales for both artists.
9. Eminem vs. Benzino
This beef was started when Benzino, who was co-owner of “The Source” magazine, aired out some issues he had with Eminem. Benzino’s issues with Eminem were that he felt Eminem was nothing but a product of a machine that ruined the success of African American and Latino artists. As a result, Eminem and Benzino traded diss tracks over the next little while and eventually, The Source was forced to pay a substantial amount of money to Eminem for defamation of character. It is generally accepted that Eminem won the feud, as most rap fans took his side and felt that Benzino started the feud to further his own rap career.
8. Drake vs. Chris Brown
This feud came about due to the fact that Drake had gotten with a couple of different ladies that Chris Brown was previously in relationships with. First of all, Drake dated Rihanna briefly after her split from Chris Brown and then Brown claimed that his next girlfriend, Karrueche Tran, cheated on him with Drake. This beef culminated in a mid-2012 nightclub brawl between Brown, Drake and their entourages. The brawl not only featured fists flying though, as many people were injured by the numerous bottles that were thrown by each side.
7. Kendrick Lamar vs. Everyone
This is a different type of feud, as it doesn’t feature a rapper fighting another rapper or even a group of rappers fighting another group. In a track titled “Control” on a cut from Big Sean’s album “Hall of Fame,” Kendrick Lamar called out and dissed some of hip hop’s biggest names, including names like Drake, Meek Mill and Mac Miller in the verse. Despite a public uproar, a lot of the rappers that Lamar talked about in the verse have shown support for the message and took it as friendly competition within the industry.
6. Ja Rule vs. 50 Cent
There are a lot of different rumors about how this beef started, which range from robbery to a video shoot disagreement. However, it allegedly went up a notch when Ja Rule and 50 Cent got into a fistfight at a nightclub in Atlanta. Ja Rule started it by mouthing off to 50 and 50 retaliated with fists before Ja Rule followed suit. Diss tracks were released and the violence continued and even escalated as stabbings and shootings were blamed on this feud. This beef lasted for years and years, but eventually the hatchet was buried and the two moved on with their lives.
5. KRS-One vs. MC Shan
This one was one of the earliest and longest running feuds in hip hop. The feud between KRS-One’s “Boogie Down Productions” and MC Shan’s “Juice Crew” began in the mid 1980s and lasted into the next decade. It began when the groups had differing opinions of where hip hop began, with both groups claiming it was their turf that launched hip hop. This may seem like a little childish, but both sides took it incredibly seriously and wrote a number of disses about the other. To this day, this remains one of the most well known feuds in rap history.
4. Meek Mill vs. Drake
This is the most recent feud on our list and has still not officially ended as of the writing of this piece. The feud began when Meek Mill took to Twitter and went in on Drake. People think this is due to how close Drake and Meek’s girlfriend, Nicki Minaj, have been. Also, he seemed a little bit upset that Drake didn’t tweet about his album release (which might’ve helped its sales, though Drake did feature on a song). Of course, Drake retaliated with a couple of diss tracks and the second of the two, Back to Back, set social media on fire. That response track, unless Meek comes back with something absolutely huge, makes Drake the winner of this beef.
3. The Game vs. 50 Cent
This was a beef between two former friends and members of G-Unit Records. The Game got his big break as a member of G-Unit and enjoyed a lot of success with the label. However, problems started between the two during the recording of The Game’s first album and 50 Cent got so fed up that he dismissed The Game from the group publicly on Hot 97 shortly after its release. Sadly, this beef took a dark turn as a member of The Game’s entourage was shot outside of Hot 97 radio station in New York. Thankfully, the violence stopped soon after, but the beef continued for a bit longer with numerous diss tracks being put out by The Game.
2. Jay-Z vs. Nas
Following the death of Biggie, the position of best rapper in New York seemed open and the only two men capable of taking over the spot were Nas and Jay Z. This was one of the best feuds in history because both rappers put out entertaining and well-received diss tracks, like “Ether” from Nas, which is widely considered to be the best diss track ever recorded. Luckily, the feud never really escalated into much violence at all and both of the rappers benefited from it. This is the feud that revived the idea that a beef between rappers can be a good source of promotion for a rapper, as both are now considered to be among the best of rappers of all time.
1. Notorious B.I.G. vs. Tupac
Coming in at number one is the biggest feud in hip hop history, which was the Tupac vs. Biggie feud and the classic West Coast vs. East Coast rivalry that they had going. Both were considered two of the best rappers of their times and their feud was huge news in the music world. The two actually began on good terms, but that quickly soured after Tupac was shot five times in a Manhattan recording studio and believed that Biggie and Sean “P Diddy” Combs were responsible for setting it up. This caused one of the biggest and most widespread feuds in history, which was likely responsible for both rappers losing their lives far too early.
complex.com, wikipedia.org, mashable.com, theguardian.com