On record or off, Hip-Hop beefs have inspired some of the greatest Rap tracks to ever be created, and have been responsible for the resurgence of the careers of a legion of rappers.
We all know that sometimes beefs can go too far and spill into the real world, as we’ve seen Capone get shot over a beef that didn’t directly involve him (Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown).
50 Cent got shot 9 times (although according to his ex, it was really 5). Along with the famous and untimely deaths of Hip-Hop Icons, Tupac Shakur, and The Notorious B.I.G. Although we know how wrong they can get, something about Rap beefs still seems so.. right. The pent up aggression, the rage expressed towards another person on a raging beat in the form of a 40 bar verse, has a certain allure to it. That allure, in a sense, makes up for all the wrong things that may occur due to the beef.
I’ll always remember the first time I heard Hit Em’ Up by 2Pac, I was in the 7th grade, and on the phone with a friend. That friend was suburban kid, whose father hated Rap music, and whose sister’s favorite rapper was Nelly. I had never had a Rap artist command my attention in such an aggressive and demanding manner as the way 2Pac did.
“I ain’t got no motherfucking friends, that’s why I fucked your bitch you fat motherfucker” From the beginning line, Pac had my attention, and he would keep it for the entire duration of the song, as he would go on to verbally assault Biggie, Bad Boys, and you, if you were down with them too. Although this is an extreme example on how vulgar and disrespectful Rap diss tracks could get, Hit Em’ Up was my introduction to a crucial part of the culture.
From iconic beefs like Pac and Biggie, 50 Cent and Ja Rule, Jay-Z and Nas, and T.I. and Ludacris, to more modern ones like Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj, and Drake and Meek Mill, Rap beefs have have been the cause for the rise and fall of many rappers.
During the time Hov and Nas went at it, Nas was on the fall, and Hov’s stock was continuously rising, on his way to become one of Rap’s BIGGEST stars ever. Hov dropped Takeover, (also one of my favorite diss tracks ever) and Nas would eventually respond 3 months later with one of the most popular diss tracks ever, one that would go on the Hip-Hops most common verb, Ether. With that song, Nas would go on to revitalize his career, helping re-cement his name in Hip-Hop, and eventually going down as an Icon and legend to the culture.
Two of the most popular Rap beefs of this generation, we would see Nicki Minaj, the new kid on the block at the time, take out Lil’ Kim, an icon and innovator to Rap and the culture surrounding it. We would also see Drake, the “singing nigga” from Toronto take out Meek Mill, the battle rapper from Philly in a nearly flawless manner.
This list as follows are my 10 favorite Rap diss songs ever. I don’t necessarily think these are the 10 greatest, but they’re the ones that I enjoy the most and have impacted me the most. (Click the title to hear the track).
10. Back Down – 50 Cent, vs. Ja Rule
9. Streets On Lock (Bitch I’m Jeezy) – Young Jeezy, vs. Gucci Mane
8. Stomp – Ludacris, vs. T.I.
7. ASAP – T.I., vs. Lil’ Flip
6. Romans Revenge – Nicki Minaj, vs. Lil’ Kim
5. Summer’s Mine – Rick Ross, vs. Young Jeezy
4. Ether – Nas, vs. Jay-Z
3. Takeover – Jay-Z, vs. Nas
2. Against All Odds, 2Pac, vs. Biggie
1. Hit Em’ Up – 2Pac, vs. Biggie and Bad Boy as a staff, record label and crew. Remember, If you want to be down with Bad Boy, that’s you too.
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