When beef was actual beef.
Beef is one of the most popular things among rappers. But sadly, it’s not the same today. Back in the day, rappers didn’t hide behind keyboards with sneak disses and subliminal messages. Nah. They would beef with each other and take it to the booth. They’d get on tracks and unleash disses and clapbacks at their opponent. And when they’d see each other in the streets or backstage at awards shows, they’d either have a showdown or settle it like men. Nowadays, rappers fight with tweets and Instagram memes. Those of you who weren’t old enough to witness epic beefs like Tupac and Biggie or Jay-Z and Nas, we’ve got you covered.
Ice Cube vs. N.W.A.
Let’s keep it real: N.W.A. wouldn’t have been the greatness that they were had it not been for Ice Cube. For one, he wrote almost all of their lyrics on their debut album, Straight Outta Compton. But when he found out that he was getting gypped out of royalties, he left the group. The rest of the group dissed him on a track, but Cube started his solo career and came back with a winner, “No Vaseline.”
He rapped, “Yella Boy’s on your team, so you’re losing / Ay yo, Dre, stick to producing / Calling me Arnold, but you Benedict / Eazy-E saw your ass and went in it quick / You got jealous when I got my own company / But I’m a man, and ain’t nobody humping me.” Ouch. And that’s not even half of the four-minute song.
Cube ended the bulls–t with “No Vaseline,” a scathing indictment of a whole crew of—let’s be honest—fake gangsta-ass n–gas. Folks don’t remember what N.W.A said about Cube, but everyone remembers “No Vaseline,” performed to great effect in Straight Outta Compton. Winner: Ice Cube.
2Pac vs. Biggie
This will ultimately be the biggest beef in rap history. The two rappers were, at one point, friends. But leave it up to the media and rumors, they soon became enemies. In 1994, Tupac was shot leaving a New York studio. Soon after, Biggie released “Who Shot Ya?” Pac immediately pointed the finger and then released “Hit Em Up.” Those lyrics will forever be remembered as one of the greatest diss records ever. After a little back and forth between the two and their crews, things went way too far. Their beef was dubbed as an “East Coast vs. West Coast” war. But both soon lost that war when they were shot and killed.
Lil Kim vs. Foxy Brown
Who said two female lyricists can’t be at the top in the rap game? These two, that’s who. You would think that two women, both from Brooklyn, both with the same raunchy rap style, around the same age would support each other. NAH. They were often compared to each other, but still, they were different. The two were set to record a joint album called, Thelma & Louise together, but neither of them showed up to record. In ’99, on a song featuring Lil Kim, Puffy got on the track and shouted, “Stop trying to sound like her, bitches!” It was directed towards Fox and the beef was born. Fox bit back on Capone N Noreaga’s “Bang Bang” track with the lyrics, “You and Diddy, y’all kill me with that subliminal sh*t,” before saying, “Let [Biggie] rest in peace / Hop off his d*ck.”