There are more than one reason why Hip Hop is the most popular genre of music in 2018 and one of them is that it’s extremely entertaining outside of the music itself in that there are pretty consistent beefs that occur in the rap game. Like professional wrestling but with actual consequences (sometimes), rap beefs run the gamut from the goofy to the hardcore and can even turn entire swaths of the country against one another (see the East Coast/West Coast beef from the mid-1990s) and while the consequences of that beef basically taught rappers to keep beefs on the mic (at least until 50 Cent showed up) and today’s rappers mostly get along (at least when compared to the early day’s of hip hop), diss tracks and battles are still a fundamental part of hip hop, so much so that this is the second Top Ten article we’ve created about this topic. So strap in, choose your side(s) and grab you glock when you see Tupac, because we’re about to cover the Top 10 Diss Tracks of All-Time, part two (The post year 2000 Edition).
10. Eminem/D-12 – Do Rae Me/Hailie’s Revenge
Eminem is known as one of the best lyricists of all-time and also one of the best battle rappers out there, as he cut his teeth as an actual battle rapper and famously almost won the Rap Olympics back in the late 1990’s. However, by the time he got entangled in the 50 Cent/Ja Rule beef he was using drugs relatively heavily and seemed to take his friendship/business relationship with 50 Cent a bit too far by going from the self deprecating lyrical genius to a lazy, thug life rapper who talked about guns and beating people up. Despite that, though, he still released some good songs during that beef, especially after Ja Rule dropped the line “Em/You say your mothers a crack head and Kim is a known slut/So what’s Hailie gon’ be when she grows up?”. That line broke Eminem’s brain and helped him bounce back from the disappointment that was the completely overhyped ‘Hail Mary’ diss that Eminem, 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes collaborated on (although Busta did destroy that track). Em has Hailie join him on the beginning of the track (after replaying the line from Ja’s song), asking her to go grab his Oscar so he can shove it “somewhere” on Ja Rule and then has D-12 and Obie Trice basically eviscerate Ja Rule (although the fact that the guys from a group that’s first major single was titled ‘Purple Pills’ making fun of Ja Rule’s ecstasy use made little sense (especially considering what we now know about Em’s drug use at the time)).
9. G-Unit – Order of Protection
Before 50 Cent signed with Shady and Aftermath, Ja Rule and his record label Murder Inc. were on top of the world with their objectively lame style of sing-songy rap. So when 50 signed his million dollar deal with Eminem and Dre, Ja attempted to pre-emptively end 50’s career by going on Hot 97 in New York City with a supposed “Order of Protection” with 50 Cent’s real name, Curtis Jackson, on it. That Order of Protection supposedly came from a scuffle that had occured at the famous recording studio, The Hit Factory, after 50 was stabbed by a Murder Inc. rapper named Black Child. Supposedly charges were filed against Murder Inc. CEO Irv Gotti but those files were mysteriously dropped (the Order of Protection listed a precinct that didn’t exist, by the way, which shows you just how out of their depth Murder Inc. was when it came to their beef with 50). While the actual song itself doesn’t address the beef, 50 was the best, perhaps ever, at ad-libbing at the beginning and end of songs (with Tupac really being his only competition) and what he says on ‘Order of Protection’ is so entertaining and funny, which when mixed with what is an objectively catchy tune that G-Unit released on a mix-tape, makes for a classic song that came during one of the craziest times in the history of hip-hop.
8. Remy Ma – ShETHER
Up until recently, Nicki Minaj was the really the only female rapper in the game (Iggy Azalea and Azalea Banks notwithstanding) and thus was the default queen of New York and of the rap game in general. While it could be argued that that title now belongs to Cardi B, who also has some beef with Nicki, the beginning of the end for Nicki actually began with the release of the ironically titled ShETHER by longtime Fat Joe affiiliate Remy Ma. That song is ironically titled as it was a play on the Nas diss track, ‘Ether’, and Nas is actually dating Nicki Minaj. Despite that, Remy absolutely destroys Nicki on the track to the point that critics start descriptions of the song by saying things like “Shether defecates on Nicki Minaj’s entire existence”. The most memorable part of the song comes from Remy claiming that Nicki’s butt implants blew out and thus she was unable to sleep with her previous boyfriend/fiance Meek Mill for a period of time. She also says that Nicki has a ghostwriter, which is also ironic because it’s widely accepted that Remy’s diss was actually written by her man, rapper Papoose. Remy/’Poose actually go for Minaj’s throat by going after her brother, Jelani Maraj, who was facing life in prison at the time for raping a 12-year-old girl. The line: “And I got a few words for the moms of the young Barbz/Guess who supports a child molester? Nicki Minaj” is deadly and is probably why Nicki hasn’t really responded to Remy outside of a few lines here and there.
7. Eminem – I Remember/Quitter/Hit ‘Em Up Freestyle
Like the Remy Ma/Nicki Minaj beef that shows that hip hop still feels like it only has room for one or two female emcees at any given time, there was a time where all the white rappers that came before Eminem basically hated on him for legitimizing white rappers around 2000 or 2001, which was when Eminem was at his most deadly in terms of mixing his lyrics with entertaining ad-libs and insane multi-syllabic bars. While one could argue that Eminem was actually at his peak on 2011’s ‘Hell: The Sequel’, as part of Bad Meets Evil, but I digress. The point here is that Everlast, previously of House of Pain (which was famous for the song ‘Jump Around’), basically dissed Eminem for no reason on a Dilated Peoples song titled ‘Ear Drums Pop (Remix)’, spitting: “Cock my hammer, spit a comet like Hailie, I’ll buck a 380 on ones who act Shady” leaving zero doubt that he was going after Eminem. Em responded with a trio of songs that were devastating and ended Everlast’s comeback career as a singer songwriter. Em mocked Everlast with ‘I Remember’, a song that was modeled after Everlast’s ‘What it’s Like’, singing over an acoustic guitar about how Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit ended his comeback and rapping that he used to be a fan of Everlasts and talking about how he hated on Eminem when they first met because he was white and trying to rap “or something”. The deathblow comes when Eminem says “But I ain’t mad at you/I’d hate me if I was you/I’m what you used to be/Shit you was me in ’92”. Ouch. Plus the jokes about his heart attack were just so devastating that you almost felt bad for Everlast.
6. Eminem – Girls
Around the turn of the century/millenium, Eminem had the ability to actually end people’s careers and it perhaps the best example of that is the song ‘Girls’, which dissed Limp Bizkit and basically is solely responsible for Limp Bizkit going from a band that had an album that sold nearly 700,000 thousand albums it’s first week to basically disappearing. This song was an extension of the above Everlast disses, as Eminem was friend’s with Fred Durst and the fellas from Limp Bizkit and even recorded an unreleased song with them. The problem came from the fact that Limp Bizkit’s DJ was a man named DJ Lethal, who used to be part of House of Pain alongside Everlast. They had a falling out and so Lethal was actually supposed to be on Eminem’s diss songs about Everlast, however, for some reason when DJ Lethal was on MTV’s Total Request Live, he said that he thought that Everlast would kick Eminem’s ass in a fight. Whether or not you believe that, if you’re beefing with someone you don’t throw your friend who is beefing with that person and sort of on your behalf under the bus like that. Eminem’s response, Girls, is a lot more serious than his previous Everlast disses and you can tell that he is actually hurt by the betrayal by the Bizkit guys. Em got the last laugh, though, as this song single handedly made people realize that Fred Durst was a gigantic douche bag and that rap-rock was really, really bad. Woodstock ’99 didn’t help, but if anyone deserves a Nobel Peace Prize it’s Eminem for making Fred Durst go away.
5. Jada Kiss – Checkmate
If you haven’t noticed, 50 Cent has a scorched earth policy when it comes to people he has or had beef with. Because of that, as you’ll see with the next entry, 50 decided to add both Jada Kiss and Fat Joe to his list of enemies after they joined Ja Rule on the song “New York”. Jada is an amazing rapper, technically, but a lot of his songs sound the same as his flow is technically polished and next level, but he doesn’t have enough variety in what he does, especially when it comes to how catchy his songs are(n’t). However, he can battle and he proved that by going after 50 Cent during peak 50 Cent times. He starts his song by congratulating 50 for selling over one million albums in four days, but then goes at 50 hard and lands one of the best blows that 50 has ever had by saying: “Yeah, you got a felony, but you ain’t a predicate/Never the King of New York, you live in Connecticut”. While 50 responded with the amazing “I Run NY” by saying “Yeah I live in CT Lil N****, But I Run NY”, the damage was done and 50 only sold 1.4 million albums that week. Yikes. 50 responded by pointing out that Jada basically was in “the red” in terms of what he owed Puff Daddy for his time on Bad Boy as part of the group The Lox. Puffy is a legendary scumbag and basically locked people into these really awful contracts and because of that Jada was still beholden to Puffy a full decade after The Lox debuted. 50 said, laughing, “Now why’d you make me put your business in the street?”, even if those were streets in Connecticut, that’s still pretty rough.
4. Snoop Dogg – Pimp Slapp’d
This song was released in 2002 and as of the writing of this article Snoop Dogg is still alive, which is really why this song (that admittedly not many people are familiar with) makes this list, and is this high on this list. While 50 Cent’s ‘Piggy Bank’ was also considered for this spot, as 50 takes on basically 10 people, Snoop ended up getting this spot because he essentially did the impossible by dissing Suge Knight himself. That’s something that even Eminem and/or Dr. Dre never did, always blanking out his name even if they weren’t saying anything negative about Suge (Eminem, for example, rapping “It wasn’t my intention/My intentions were good/I went through my whole career without ever mentioning [Blank]”, with the Blank being Suge, while he goes on saying that he had to grit his teeth while Suge “ghetto talk[ed]” his mentor, Dre, he really wasn’t dissing him). So with Snoop dedicating an entire song to Suge, who was still reeling from his time in prison and the downfall of his label after the death of Tupac, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s departure and his eventual (multiple) assassination attempts. While Snoop isn’t the best disser, or wasn’t by 2002 (he killed it while dissing Eazy-E a decade earlier), the fact that he said: “This n****’s a bitch like his wife/Suge Knight’s a bitch and that’s on my life” and is not only still alive but is thriving as a game show host? Shows that Snoop is gangster.
3. Kendrick Lamar – Humble
Kendrick Lamar ends up with two of the top three spots and while Kendrick is such an amazing artist that it might surprise you that he actually engages in diss tracks, he’s actually really good at it and that’s apparent both with his verse on Big Sean’s ‘Control’ (See number one) and his apparent Big Sean diss on the massive single that was ‘Humble’. The entire song is a subliminal diss towards Sean, who basically bad mouthed Kendrick for being “negative” on ‘Control’ and if you listen to Big Sean you’ll notice that the chorus, with it’s repeated use of the word “lil B****” is mocking Big Sean’s flow and usage of that word, as well as the words “Hol’ Up”. Kendrick did diss Big Sean on ‘Control’ as well, so it’s not hard to see why Sean would be upset, and while things seemed to die down after Sean stated that he didn’t want to get involved in negative things, he did release the song “No More Interviews” which was thought of as a diss to Kendrick. Lamar responded with ‘The Heart Part 4’ and ‘Humble’, where Kendrick refers to Big Sean as “Big Pun”, due to Sean’s usage of dad puns in his songs in lieu of actual metaphors. It’s safe to say that Kendrick nearly ended Big Sean with these songs without even really naming him, so I’d be surprised if Sean responded especially since both Sean and Lamar are friends with Eminem and I’m sure he would’ve put a stop to that.
2. Drake – “Back to Back”
While Drake is still arguably the biggest rapper in the game (perhaps behind Kendrick Lamar and Cardi B), there’s not denying that his beef with Nicki Minaj’s ex-fiance in Meek Mill really hurt his image. Meek started this beef by openly criticizing the Canadian born Drake for not writing the lyrics to his own songs, something he claimed to have witnessed first hand when Drake guested on the song ‘R.I.C.O’ on Mills’ second album ‘Dreams Worth More Than Money’. That seemed to have stemmed from the fact that Mill was upset that Drake didn’t promote that album on Twitter when it was released, which really lets you know how different the rap game is from it’s prime in the ’90s. Tupac’s beef with an entire coast was based on the fact that he get shot five times while on his way to a New York recording studio, Meek Mill’s beef with Drake started because he didn’t get a retweet. Either way, Drake’s response to Mill ironically had some of the best lyrics and thus writing of any Drake song, a song in which Mill was completely eviscerated. It’s been said that Drake was intoxicated while he recorded this gem, which probably doesn’t matter considering he doesn’t write his own lyrics in the first place.
1. Kendrick Lamar – Control
When it comes to the current rap game, while there are a lot of legendary rappers like Jay Z, Nas, Eminem and Snoop Dogg (to a much lesser extent) are still doing their thing, there really isn’t any young (or really even old(er)) rapper in the game that’s as beloved as Kendrick Lamar. Yet another legendary rapper that’s connected to the legendary producer/rapper Dr. Dre, Kendrick has seemingly gotten better with each album he releases and was even awarded a Pulitzer Prize recently for his most recent album, ‘Damn’. Before ‘Damn’ and most of his Grammy’s, even before his equally beloved album ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’, Lamar guested on Big Sean’s ‘Control’ and basically let every rapper in the game know where they stood and what his goals were. It’s best to share the NSFW lyrics with you, so you get a sense of what Lamar was feeling:
“I heard the barbershops spittin’ great debates all the time / ‘Bout who’s the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga, and Nas / Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y’all / New niggas just new niggas, don’t get involved / And I ain’t rockin’ no more designer shit / White T’s and Nike Cortez, this is red Corvettes anonymous / I’m usually homeboys with the same niggas I’m rhymin’ wit / But this is hip-hop and them niggas should know what time it is / And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale / Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake / Big Sean / Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller / I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you niggas / Tryna make sure your core fans never heart of you niggas / They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas…”
While there were a lot of responses to this particular section of Lamar’s verse, his main point was actually that he really wanted to become the best rapper in the game and because of the competitive nature of hip hop that meant that he was going to have to “destroy” every rapper in the game, even those he was friends with. Whomever awoke the sleeping giant that was Kendrick must’ve immediately regretted it as the ‘Control’ verse is widely considered one of the best verses of all-time (even if it lead to beef with Big Sean himself (See above)).
Bonus: Meek Mill – Wanna Know
If it were 1996, Meek Mill easily would’ve ended Drake’s career on multiple fronts. People love Drake’s music and because of that they overlook the fact that he definitely isn’t the thug that he periodically pretends to be on his records. To his credit, Drake doesn’t really present himself that way, but he does have songs where he talks about things that Meek Mill definitely has done or if you believe his parole officer, is consistently doing. Beyond the street cred thing, Mill was also instrumental in letting the world know that Drake doesn’t write his own lyrics, something that, again, would’ve ended his career if this was 1996 (and hip hop was still real). In the song, which was released online with a photoshopped image of Drake as a member of Milli Vanilli (Ouch), is basically Meek asking a variety of questions (that begin with “I wanna know…”) and going at Drake, HARD. The most vicious part is, NSFW and heavily redacted, because we don’t want to lose monetization:
“N****s writing for you cause you know you never did s***/When I threw that hook out, I was tryin’ to catch a big fish/We the type of n****s to tie your mother up/F*** your sister in the a** and hit your brother up, p****/You really sweet, I call you buttercup/You f****** dork you changed the style because you studied us”
Again. This is a list of post-2000 diss tracks, but if this was released before then the only time you’d hear about Drake would be when people talked about Hit ‘Em Up, Ether and Wanna Know.