As quoted by the late great Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Smalls, beef in hip-hop culture is nothing new. From the days of the park jams to today’s era of prime of social media, rap feuds are indicative of hip-hop culture viewing its emcees as lyrical athletes competing in a sport. However, it’s been a long time since we’ve witnessed epic battles comparable to “The Bridge Wars” that took place between KRS-1 of The Bronx and MC Shan of Queens or the public breakup of NWA which sent everyone “100 Miles and Running” when the first track was dropped. Even the clash of titans that occurred between Jay-Z and Nas—what has been deemed the greatest rap feud of all time due to its almost decade-long build-up and high stakes—has been largely forgotten.
Today’s generation is a bit different to say the least. Rather than air out any grievances on a record, most are quick to run to Twitter and flex their keyboard warrior muscles. This past year, however, we have seen a return to the classic hip-hop beef with these five displays of metaphorical mastery.
Ghostface Killah vs Action Bronson
Drake vs Tyga
Drake vs Kendrick Lamar
When K-Dot released his epic verse on Big Sean’s “Control” in the summer of 2013, he called out everyone’s favourite rappers of today’s generation, including Drake. In an interview with Elliott Wilson on his “CRWN” series, Drizzy brushed it off as “a great moment” in hip-hop and even challenged Wilson (and the crowd for that matter) to recite a single line from his verse that didn’t include the callout portion. Fast forward to this August. Dr. Dre released his third album entitled “Compton”—appropriately inspired by the biopic film “Straight Outta Compton”—and the album featured K-Dot in three songs. Its up for debate, but some listeners claim that these tracks include subliminal disses aimed at Drake. However the most legitimate claim comes in the form of “Deep Water” in which the Compton resident claims:
“Motherfucker know I started from the bottom/They liable to bury him, they nominated six to carry him/They worrying him to death, but he’s no vegetarian/The beef is on his breath, inheriting the drama better than/A great white, n****, this is life in my aquarium.”
With references to “Started From the Bottom” the name of one of Drake’s hit record, and “Six to Carry Him,” a reference to the city of Toronto, it’s no wonder why listeners’ ears are percolating once again. Let’s hope that Kendrick doesn’t drown The Boy.
Future vs Ciara
Now this one is more fitting for the baby mama/daddy category, but let’s throw it in here for comedic relief. Future and Ciara were once married but then went through a divorce, despite sharing a son together (who was named after the rapper). Their divorce was relatively quiet until CiCi brought NFL Superstar Russell Wilson into the fold. She brought Future, Jr. with her to one of Wilson’s practices—decked out in Seahawks gear—and gave Wilson a big hug. Many can see why this would infuriate Future, seeing how Ciara and Wilson have only been dating for a short time. Add to the fact that Wilson is viewed much more highly as role model material, and you have a very compromising situation at hand for the trap star. Is that fair game on Ciara’s end, or is the play dirtier than Future’s “Dirty Sprite” album?
Drake vs Meek Mill
Behold baller as an art form
Basketball and hip-hop, together as one
Behold, the face of broken dreams