When beef was actual beef.
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.
Jay-Z vs. Nas
Their beef kinda came out of nowhere, IMO. And it all started by neither of the two involved. On his 2000 track, “My Mind Right,” Memphis Bleek rapped, “Your life’s a lie, but here’s the truth / You ain’t hype to die, but you hype to shoot.” It was allegedly directed at Nas, and before you know it, he shot back on a few tracks. But things escalated when Jay released, “TheTakeover,” the diss track where he calls Nas a “laaaaaaame” and making fun of him being a ballerina at a young age.
Nas came back hard with “Ether.” These two songs will reign supreme in the history of diss tracks. Jay then hit him with “Supa Ugly,” where he reveals that he slept with Nas’s baby’s moms. In 2005, the legends squashed their beef and all is well in their worlds. And because of this, neither diss track can be performed live. Better get to YouTube’n it!
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.”