Skip to main content

Enter your email below to be the first to hear about new releases, upcoming events, and more from Dig!

Please enter a valid email address
Please accept the terms
Biggest Rap Beefs: 10 Sizzling Hip-Hop Feuds, From Biggie V Tupac To Kendrick V Drake
List & Guides

Biggest Rap Beefs: 10 Sizzling Hip-Hop Feuds, From Biggie V Tupac To Kendrick V Drake

Spawning vicious diss tracks, the biggest rap beefs turn bad blood into cruel battles of lyrical warfare between hip-hop stars.

Back

From the early days of hip-hop, calling out rivals has been ingrained in the culture. Running on braggadocio and one-upmanship, rap beefs have always seen rappers use their lyrics as a way of voicing their grievances, settling scores and asserting their dominance. From cipher battles to viral diss tracks, this age-old tradition of verbal sparring has birthed some of the most shocking and outright jaw-dropping moments in hip-hop history, with the biggest rap beefs frequently opening wounds that never fully heal.

With the high-profile rivalry between Kendrick Lamar and Drake recently taking these blow-outs to new proportions, the time-honoured hip-hop feud has once again been thrust into the spotlight. But how did we get here? What other battles have brought us to this moment? To answer these questions, here is our list of the biggest rap beefs of all time – earth-shaking feuds that have sent tremors through the hip-hop world…

Listen to the This Is Hip-Hop At Fifty playlist here.

Ice Cube V Dr. Dre V Eazy-E

Who
The splintering of the legendary Compton group N.W.A was a messy affair, starting with Ice Cube’s departure in 1989. Railing against financial mismanagement in his former crew and singling out their manager, Jerry Heller, Cube sparked a war of words that soon pulled Dr. Dre and Eazy-E back into his orbit, in one of the biggest rap beefs of all time.

When
1991-1993

What
In 1991, Ice Cube finally revealed his reasons for going solo, using his song No Vaseline to savage Dr. Dre; N.W.A’s manager, Jerry Heller; and his former bandmate Eazy-E. It wasn’t long before Dre issued a vicious retort with Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’), dishing out some clapbacks to Cube (“You tryna check my homie, you best check yourself/Cause when you diss Dre you diss yourself, motherfucker”) and similarly piling in on Eazy-E (“Used to be my homie, used to be my ace/Now I wanna slap the taste out ya mouth”).

The last word fell to Eazy-E himself, however, who released one of the best hip-hop diss tracks ever with 1993’s Real Muthaphuckkin G’s, referencing the scandal of Dre’s assault of Dee Barnes (“Beatin’ up a bithh don’t make you shit, but then again/Some ni__as think it makes a man”) and mocking Dre’s jumpsuit-wearing electro-rap roots with World Class Wreckin’ Cru (“All of a sudden, Dr. Dre is the G thang/But on his old album covers, he was a she-thang”). With each rapper trading nasty blows, their words landed like upper-cuts to the jaw.

Hear

Ice Cube: No Vaseline

Dr. Dre: Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)

Eazy-E: Real Muthaphuckkin G’s

The Notorious B.I.G. V Tupac Shakur

Who
Once friends, Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace and Tupac “2Pac” Shakur became embroiled in one of hip-hop’s most tragic feuds in the mid-90s. The rivalry pitted the West Coast gangsta rapper and Suge Knight’s Death Row Records against the East Coast contingent of Biggie and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Records.

When
1994-1996

What
During a visit to Biggie and Puff Daddy’s Quad Recording Studios in 1994, Tupac was shot and robbed, after which he came to believe that Biggie’s Who Shot Ya? – originally released as a B-side to Big Poppa – was a missive against him (“Didn’t I tell you not to fuck with me?” Biggie raps. “Look at you now, huh? Can’t talk with a gun in your mouth, huh? Bithh-ass ni__a, what? Who shot ya?”). In response, the Los Angeles-based rapper unleashed Hit ’Em Up, one of the most vicious diss tracks in hip-hop history, claiming he slept with Biggie’s wife and declaring all-out war on the East Coast rap scene (“Fuck Bad Boy as a staff, record label, and as a motherfuckin’ crew!/And if you wanna be down with Bad Boy, then fuck you, too!”).

With gang ties escalating tensions, the West Coast-East Coast rivalry reached a boiling point, infamously resulting in a dangerous confrontation at the 1995 Source Awards. Tragically, this bitter feud had fatal consequences, with Tupac Shakur ending up the victim of an unsolved drive-by shooting in Las Vegas and dying at the age of 25 in September 1996. Following Shakur’s murder, many interpreted Biggie’s Long Kiss Goodnight as a post-mortem exercise (“Heard through the grapevine, you got fucked fo’ times/Damn that three to nine, fucked you up for real though/Sling steel slow, as for remorse, we feel no”) before Biggie, too, was murdered, forever enshrouding hip-hop’s best-known feud in mystery.

Hear

The Notorious B.I.G.: Who Shot Ya?

2Pac: Hit ’Em Up

The Notorious B.I.G.: Long Kiss Goodnight

Lil’ Kim V Foxy Brown

Who
Despite appearing together on the front cover of The Source magazine in 1997, Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown quickly became staunch rivals seeking to outdo each other.

When
1999-2001

What
Before igniting one of the most publicised of all hip-hop beefs, Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown were former schoolmates making names for themselves in New York City, with both artists’ debut albums – Kim’s Hard Core and Brown’s Il Na Na (both 1996) – placing their creators among the best female rappers of their era. However, with her 2000 track Notorious K.I.M., Kim kicked off a heated back-and-forth battle by accusing Brown of copying her style (“You ain’t a star and your record company know that/How you make all this money, get this far and blow it?”). In retaliation, Brown unleashed a brutal verbal takedown.

Responding to Kim’s disses via a guest feature on Capone-N-Noreaga’s Bang Bang, Brown questioned Lil’ Kim’s street-smarts (“Why’s you frontin’ and kickin’ that street shit?/Please, impress me, go back to that freak shit”) and threw some jabs at her affiliation with The Notorious B.I.G. (“Let the ni__a rest in peace, and hop off his dick, bitch’). Shortly thereafter, a physical altercation outside Hot 97’s radio station between Brown’s and Kim’s respective crews turned ugly, later resulting in Lil’ Kim being found guilty of perjury and sent to prison on charges of conspiracy. To this day, the animosity between the two has yet to subside.

Hear

Lil’ Kim: Notorious K.I.M.

Capone-N-Noreaga: Bang Bang (featuring Foxy Brown)

Jay-Z V Nas

Who
Two titans of New York, Jay-Z and Nas fell into a rivalry that’s widely regarded as one of the most legendary beefs in hip-hop history.

When
2001

What
As featured on The Blueprint (2001), Jay-Z’s diss track Takeover rode a sample of The Doors’ Five To One to mock Nas’ waning popularity, throwing a quick-as-lightning David Bowie reference in for extra measure (“I know you miss it, Nas, the (Fame)/But along with celebrity comes ’bout 70 shots to your frame”) and slamming the Illmatic rapper for failing to live up to his legendary status (“Went from Nasty Nas to Esco’s trash/Had a spark when you started, but now, you’re just garbage”). A combination of personal slights and mutual disrespect, this feud saw Jay-Z and Nas vie for supremacy over who, exactly, was the reigning king of the New York rap scene.

The height of their spat came with Nas’ scathing response, Ether, an instant classic with some biting rhymes about Jay-Z (“You seem to be only concerned with dissin’ women/Were you abused as a child? Scared to smile, they called you ugly?”) and exposing him as a pretender to Biggie’s throne (“How much of Biggie’s rhymes is gon’ come out your fat lips?”). After Jay-Z held the mirror back up to Nas on Supa Ugly, the beef eventually simmered down, but the lyrical prowess of both rappers meant the shockwaves of this historic hip-hop feud can still be felt today.

Hear

Jay-Z: Takeover

Nas: Ether

50 Cent V Ja Rule

Who
Both hailing from New York, 50 Cent and Ja Rule started taking shots at each other in the early 2000s – and still show no sign of stopping. Despite its violent origins, this long-running hip-hop beef has often become the gift that keeps giving over the past 20 years.

When
2000- present

What
Back in 2000, Ja Rule was allegedly robbed at gunpoint by one of 50 Cent’s crew members, eventually leading to 50 Cent getting stabbed by Ja Rule associate and Murder Inc rapper Black Child. After that, the gloves were off, with 50 Cent dropping numerous Ja Rule disses on mixtapes, before taking the beef mainstream by including Back Down on his 2003 debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (“You’s a Pop Tart, sweetheart, you soft in the middle/I eat you for breakfast”). Soon after, Ja Rule released a counter-attack by calling out Fiddy as a 2Pac wannabe (“California love is what you crave, so on your grave/It’s gonna read: ‘Here lie 50, who snitched on many/That half a dollar, that nickel, them dimes, and died like penny”).

Teaming up with both Eminem and Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent fought back with Hail Mary, a remake of 2Pac’s original, designed to scrape Ja Rule’s verbal diarrhoea off his shoes (“You’s a muthafuckin’ punk and you’ll see me with gloves/Quit scarin’ them fuckin’ kids with your ugly-ass mug”). Unsurprisingly, the pair have been trolling each other ever since, with Fiddy even going so far as to buy 200 tickets to a Ja Rule show so that his rival would be playing to empty front-row seats.

Hear

50 Cent: Back Down

Ja Rule: Loose Change

50 Cent, Eminem and Busta Rhymes: Hail Mary

Young Jeezy V Gucci Mane

Who
In perhaps the darkest hip-hop beef of modern times, Young Jeezy’s longstanding feud with Gucci Mane has resulted in a bitter and murderous conflict characterised by open hostility and a cycle of ongoing retaliation.

When
2005- present

What
Apparently beginning with a dispute over payment following Young Jeezy’s guest appearance in the music video for Gucci Mane’s 2005 single Icy, Jeezy declared war on Gucci with Stay Strapped, publicly putting a $10,000 bounty on his rival’s gold chain (“So if he come to your town, and you just happen to snatch that motherfucker off his neck, I’m gonna shoot you the ten-stack, man/So I can cremate that motherfucker”). With Round 1, Gucci Mane fought back, calling Jeezy out as “fake” (“You a thug impostor/You deserve an Oscar/Album ain’t hot, Def Jam finna drop ya”).

Things took a far more sinister turn when Gucci Mane was arrested for the murder of Jeezy associate Pookie Loc, who was shot after breaking into the house Gucci was staying in at the time. After turning himself into the police, Gucci was later acquitted and released from prison, and surprised many by quickly resuming his beef with Jeezy on the song 745. Since then, the pair have constantly traded diss tracks, but perhaps the coldest moment in the feud was the release of Gucci Mane’s Truth, on which he reflects on the failure of Jeezy’s original offer (“A ten thousand dollar bounty put on my neck/I hope you didn’t pay them, ’cause they didn’t have no success”) and even invokes the memory of Jeezy’s fallen comrade (“Go dig your partner up, ni__a, bet he can’t say shit”).

Hear

Young Jeezy: Stay Strapped

Gucci Mane: Round 1

Gucci Mane: Truth

Drake V Meek Mill

Who
Dredging up accusations related to Drake’s use of ghostwriters, Meek Mill put the Canadian rapper’s authenticity on the line by questioning his credibility in the rap game and placing his commercial standing as an artist under the microscope.

When
2015

What
Surprisingly among hip-hop beefs, the Drake/Meek Mill feud did not begin with a diss track, but with a tweet. “Stop comparing Drake to me too,” Meek posted. “He don’t write his own raps! That’s why he ain’t tweet my album because we found out!” Firing back with a pair of scathing tracks – Charged Up and Back To Back – Drake claimed Meek’s “trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers” and addressed the ghostwriting rumours head on (“This for y’all that think that I don’t write enough/They just mad ’cause I got the Midas touch”).

Failing to gain the same level of traction as Drake’s disses, Meek Mill’s reply, Wanna Know, fuelled the perception among rap fans that Drake had won this lyrical battle, no matter whose pen it spilled from. However, the rivalry has left a lasting impact on the hip-hop world, sparking constant debates about the use of ghostwriters that persists to this day.

Hear

Drake: Charged Up

Drake: Back To Back

Meek Mill: Wanna Know

Cardi B V Nicki Minaj

Who
Easily one of the most talked-about beefs in recent hip-hop history, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj have been antagonising each other ever since Cardi beat Nicki to the punch by peaking at No.1 on the US Hot 100 with Bodak Yellow.

When
2017

What
Despite Nicki Minaj’s long track record in establishing herself as one of the best female rappers of modern times, a No.1 single has somehow eluded her. Not so with Cardi B, whose debut single, Bodak Yellow, became the first hip-hop track by a female rapper to top the charts since Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop (That Thing) in 1998. For a while, things were civil enough that both Minaj and Cardi featured as guests on the 2017 single Motorsport by Migos, the pair denying any ill feelings toward one another despite rumours they had to shoot their scenes in the music video separately.

However, things escalated at a New York Fashion Week show in September 2018, where Cardi threw a shoe at Nicki. Despite speculation about “sneak disses” such as Nicki’s verse on London On Da Track’s No Flag (“Lil’ bitch, I heard these labels tryna make another me/Everything you getting little hoe is ’cause of me”) and Cardi’s spot on G-Eazy’s No Limit (“Swear these hoes run they mouth, how these hoes out of shape?/Can you stop with all the subs? Bitch, I ain’t Jared”), this feud has not been characterised by direct call-outs. But the tension between the pair is keenly felt, so perhaps it’s only a matter of time before one of them cracks.

Hear

Cardi B: Bodak Yellow

Migos: Motorsport (featuring Nicki Minaj and Cardi B)

Drake V Pusha T

Who
Still beset by allegations of ghostwriters, Drake sought to coax Pusha T into a lyrical battle by calling him a “duppy” – a Jamaican word for ghost – and making things even more personal by name-dropping Pusha’s wife in a song.

When
2018

What
Easily one of the most explosive beefs Drake ever got himself into, it’s quite possible he bit off more than he could chew with Pusha T. At the time of their falling-out, Pusha was collaborating with Kanye West for his 2018 album, DAYTONA, and Drake decided to take shots at both rappers on Duppy Freestyle, publicly calling them out as “leeches and serpents” and including a sly reference to Pusha’s wife (“I’ma let it ring on you like Virginia Williams”). What nobody expected was for the former Clipse battle-rapper to go on an all-out attack.

Pusha T’s brutal response, The Story Of Adidon, masterfully put a full stop on the beef by blowing the lid on an industry secret about Drake’s son, Adonis (“You are hiding a child, let that boy come home/Deadbeat mothafucka playin’ border patrol, ooh”), prompting a tabloid frenzy that left Drake silent.

Hear

Drake: Duppy Freestyle

Pusha T: The Story Of Adidon

Kendrick Lamar V Drake V J Cole

Who
Until now, the “Big Three” of contemporary hip-hop (Kendrick Lamar, Drake and J Cole) have kept a lid on their true feelings about each other, but all that changed in 2024, when Kung Fu Kenny karate-chopped his way through some very serious allegations about Drake.

When
2023-2024

What
Despite originally guesting on the track Poetic Justice, on Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, Drake has seemingly been at loggerheads with Lamar for the past ten years, with the pair frequently trading disses in their songs. Ironically enough, however, it was J Cole who seemed to blow things up with his guest verse on Drake’s First Person Shooter (“We the big three like we started a league/But right now, I feel like Muhammad Ali”), released in October 2023. Responding in March 2024 with a guest verse on Metro Boomin’s Like That, Kendrick countered with “The big three? It’s just big me”, and toyed with comparisons people have made between the pair and two 80s chart rivals, Prince and Michael Jackson (“Prince outlived Mike Jack!” Kendrick snipes). Sensibly, Cole took this opportunity to bow out gracefully…

Mere weeks later, Drake had lashed out at nearly everybody on Push Ups, reserving most of his ire for Lamar (“You ain’t in no Big Three, SZA got you wiped down, Travis got you wiped down, Savage got you wiped down”) and even making a second attack on Taylor Made Freestyle, which used the AI-created voices of Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg to mock Kendrick’s 2Pac worship (“Kendrick, we need ya,” the fake Tupac begins. “The West Coast saviour”). It was at this point the dam truly burst, with Lamar unleashing Euphoria, a six-minute tirade in which he calls Drake a “master manipulator” and “a scam artist”, and pushes the exact same buttons Pusha T once did (“I got a son to raise, but I can see you don’t know nothin’ ’bout that”).

Drake came back with Family Matters, on which he accused Kendrick of having a messiah complex (“You just actin’ like an activist, it’s make-believe”) and made some unfounded allegations of domestic violence. Within an hour, Lamar hit back with the chilling Meet The Grahams, addressing Drake’s son, his parents, a secret daughter who may or may not exist, and, lastly, Drake himself.

And he wasn’t done yet. That same day, Lamar dropped Not Like Us, a party-rap banger that went far deeper than anyone expected, weaponising online gossip about Drake’s alleged sexual preferences. By the time Drake finally responded a day later, with The Heart Part 6, Lamar was the clear victor, leaving the Canadian rapper sounding weary as if he were waving a white flag. (“You know, at least your fans are gettin’ some raps out of you,” he concludes after denying Lamar’s claims. “I’m happy I could motivate you.”. Easily going down in history as one of the biggest rap beefs of all time, this war between Lamar and Drake will be talked about for years to come.

Hear

Kendrick Lamar: Euphoria

Drake: Family Matters

Kendrick Lamar: Meet The Grahams

Kendrick Lamar: Not Like Us

More Like This

Best Yes Albums: All 23 Studio Releases, Ranked, Reviewed
List & Guides

Best Yes Albums: All 23 Studio Releases, Ranked, Reviewed

Seminal prog-rock classics, the best Yes albums showcase the incredible musicianship at the heart of the group’s success.

‘Animals’: A Track-By-Track Guide To Pink Floyd’s Orwellian Opus
List & Guides

‘Animals’: A Track-By-Track Guide To Pink Floyd’s Orwellian Opus

A track-by-track guide to every song on Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ album – a politically charged howl that captured the unrest of 70s Britain.

Sign up to our newsletter

Be the first to hear about new releases, upcoming events, and more from Dig!

Sign Up