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Hip hop rivalries

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Feuds and rivalries have always existed in hip hop, which arose in 1970s United States. Originally, it came to block parties[?], where DJs would play records and isolate the percussion breaks for the dancing masses. Soon, MCs began speaking over the beats, usually simply exhorting the audience to continue dancing. Eventually, MCs began incorporating more varied and stylistic speech, and focused on introducing themselves, shouting out to friends in the audience, and boasting about their own skills, and criticizing their rivals'. While this is often done in good humor, it occasionally develops into offstage feuds that occasionally become violent. Many observers have claimed that the media feeds on rivalries for headlinings and escalates otherwise minor conflicts, especially in the case of the East Coast-West Coast rivalry.

One prominent example used as contrast by those who feel the media manipulate and intensify hip hop feuds is the 1980s hit "Roxanne[?]" by U.T.F.O.[?], which sparked several hundred "answer records[?]" in response, some of them quite vituperative. Since, at the time, hip hop was nowhere near the level of fame it would eventually achieve, there was little media response at the time, and no violent feuds erupted; many observers feel that, if something similar happened today, violence may be the result.

A video game will soon be released by EA Entertainment[?] in conjunction with Def Jam[?] and featuring animated likenesses of rappers like Method Man, Ludacris, DMX and Ghostface Killah wrestling to settle grudges WWE style.

Table of contents

East Coast vs West Coast

Probably the most famous rap feud is the early to mid-1990s rivalry between East Coast and West Coast industry members. Hip hop had begun in New York City, which remained the undisputed capital of hip hop until 1992, when Dr. Dre's The Chronic became one of the biggest-selling hip hop albums in history. Dre was on Death Row Records[?], headed by Suge Knight, and he soon built up a roster of stars like Warren G, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Doggy Dogg that reigned on the charts, and Los Angeles replaced New York as the center for hip hop. The biggest stars on East Coast were Puff Daddy's Bad Boy Records crew, which included Busta Rhymes, Mase and the Notorious B.I.G.. Puff Daddy had founded Bad Boy in 1993, and it soon outsold Ruthless Records. The rivalry intensified as hip hop continue to enter the mainstream in the United States and abroad; more money entered the industry and raised the stakes. The focal point soon came to a head with Tupac Shakur on the West Coast and Notorious B.I.G. on the East. Shakur claimed to have slept with Faith Evans[?], Notorious B.I.G.'s wife and herself a rapper, and he responded with "Stupid niggaz mess wit Big Poppa/motherfuckers get roasted if you fuck wit B.I.G.".

On September 7, 1996 Tupac Shakur was shot several times in Las Vegas, dying a few days later. On March 9, 1997, the Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in California. Both murders remain unsolved, and numerous theories (some of them conspiracy theories) have sprung up. These include, most notoriously, that Shakur's death was faked.

In 1997, several rappers, including Busy Bone[?], C Low[?], Doug E. Fresh[?] and Snoop Doggy Dogg met at the request of Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam and pledged to forgive any slights that may be related to the rivalry and deaths of Shakur and Biggie.

Soon after the death of Shakur, Death Row Records folded as Afeni Shakur[?], Tupac's mother, sued the label for allegedly cheating her son out of millions. Label head Suge Knight ended up in jail for unrelated probation violations. Lady of Rage and Nate Dogg[?] have also filed suits against Bad Boy with similar allegations. Puff Daddy has also had multiple legal troubles, including a much-publicized case resulting from a shooting in a New York club; he has been acquitted, though fellow rapper Shyne[?] was not.

Boogie Down Productions vs Mr. Magic, MC Shan, and Marley Marl

Dr. Dre vs Eazy-E Dr. Dre and Eazy-E were part of one of the first hip hop superstar crews, the group N.W.A., along with Ice Cube. After the group broke up, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E began a war of words and a rivalry between their record companies, Death Row and Ruthless Records[?], respectivelu; it never turned violent, and Eazy-E died of AIDS a few years later.

Dr. Dre, Eminem and Xzibit vs. Canibus and Jermaine Dupri On "What You Say" from Eminem's The Eminem Show, Dr. Dre insulted Jermaine Dupri[?], claiming "over 80 million records sold/And I didn't have to do it with 10 and 11 year olds/Fuck Jermaine". The reference to 10 and 11 year olds is to Dupri's record label, which has made millions off child pop acts like Kris Kross[?] and Lil Bow Wow. Eminem and Xzibit[?] similarly insulted Dupri (and Canibus) on a DJ Kay Slay mixtape, where Eminem raps "I gave Jay-Z a beat for free, you want one tell me, unless your canibitch, then you get Dr. Dre's fee". Dupri has responded by accusing Dre of taking credit for others' work, "I know you don't do half the work in the studio, plus your little niggas play with your booty hole", and also insulted Eminem with "I left you out deliberately, you know why, to me you're like a character in Disney world, known for dissin' pop groups and Justin's ex-girl, shit, ain't no one take you seriously".

Eminem vs Benzino In 2003, Boston-area rapper Benzino[?] released a song which included the lyrics "You're the rap David Duke[?]/The rap Hitler]... I'm the rap Malcolm, the rap Martin", directed at superstar white rapper Eminem. Eminem responded quickly, calling Benzino an "83-year-old fake Pacino". Benzino has explained in interviews that he fears Eminem's fame is the beginning of the end for the African-American domination of hip hop; he has also linked Eminem with the consumerism of modern hip hop, complaining that he has to "talk about bling-bling because that's all the people who control the images want to hear from us", while Eminem is allowed to rap about deeply personal issues. Benzino is an up-and-coming rapper, and some have accused him of criticizing hip hop's biggest star solely to raise his own status.

Eminem vs Everlast On a Dilated Peoples album, hip hop/rock musician Everlast (formerly of House of Pain) insulted Eminem, who responded with "I Remember", which controversially attacked Everlast for his religion, Islam. Everlast has responded on a track called "Whitey's Revenge".

Foxy Brown vs Lil Kim Former friends Foxy Brown[?] and Lil Kim are the most famous female rappers to engage in a bitter rivalry, with Brown accusing Kim off slavishly imitating her style and Kim responding soon after on "Quiet Storm" with Mobb Deep[?].

Ja Rule vs DMX DMX began a feud by claiming Ja Rule is a bad imitator of his style; Ja responded by bringing up DMX's drug abuse and questioning his sexuality.

Ja Rule vs Eminem and 50 Cent The origins of Ja Rule and Eminem's rivalry is not known for certain. MTV claimed it began after Ja Rule and his label head, Irv Gotti, were involved in a physical altercation with 50 Cent. 50 Cent reportedly took out a restraining order against Gotti, and several other performers have attacked him for "snitching" as a result. After Ja Rule insulted Eminem in a song, he responded on a mixtape by DJ Kay Slay with a freestyle collaboration with 50 Cent. "Irv Gotti, too much Bacardi in his body/You ain't a killer, you a pussy/ That ecstasy got you all emotional and mushy/Bitches wearing rags in photos/Ja's word being quoted/In The Source[?], stealing Pac's shit like he just wrote it" to the beat of Tupac's "Hail Mary". Eminem also appeared on a DJ Green Lantern[?] mixtape, with Busta Rhymes, insulting Ja, Murder Inc. (Gotti and Ja Rule's label), Benzino[?] and [[Royce Da 5'9"]]. Ja Rule has responded with "Em, you claim your mother's a crackhead/ And Kim's a known slut/ So what Hailie's gonna be when she grows up?", referring Eminem's ex-wife, Kim, and daughter, Hailie. Eminem is rumored to be recording a track with his daughter attacking Ja Rule.

Jay-Z vs Nas

On a song called "Takeover", Jay-Z, a multi-platinum star, attacked Nas, who has never achieved the same level of commercial success. Nas responded with "Ether" (of his intended comeback album Stillmatic[?]), in which he says "When these streets keep callin', heard it when I was sleep/That this Gay-Z and Cockkafella Records[?] wanted beef". Jay-Z came back with "Superugly", claiming "Niggas will tie you up on the coliseum roof/And open beer bottles off the boy chipped tooth". After concert promoters refused to allow Nas to hang an effigy of Jay-Z during a show, he began attacking the music industry's control over hip hop: "Y'all brothers gotta start rapping about something that's real. My man N.O.R.E.[?] I love you, N.O.R.E., but step your rap game up. Nelly, if you trying to battle KRS-One, don't follow Nas, man. You can follow Nas if you gonna be creative. I'm here letting my people know it's time to be real. Make your own outlets. Make mixtapes. Listen to DJ Kay Slay. Go get hip-hop without dealing with that station. Or get some balls. Rappers, get some balls. Rappers are slaves." He also specifically attacked Jay-Z and his label, Def Jam Records[?].

LL Cool J vs Canibus

LL Cool J invited Canibus, Method Man and Redman[?] to record with him in 1997. Canibus contributed the lines "L, is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that", and LL wrote a response intended as the next verse, then changed his mind and asked Canibus to change the lines. Canibus claims that LL promised to remove his own response ("Tearing every MC at the game/To play yourself out position and mention my name/I'll make a rhyme for every syllable in your name/Go platinum for every time you rhyme shit on a train/Watch your mouth, don't ever step out of line/L.L. Cool J is the greatest of all time" if Canibus removed his own. LL denies this, claiming that he told Canibus that no one would know who he was talking about if Canibus never explained the mic line it was responding to.

LL Cool J vs Kool Moe Dee Kool Moe Dee[?] was a member of one of the earliest hip hop crews, the Treacherous 3[?]. He later claimed that LL Cool J stole his style, thus causing a long-running feud between the pair. The cover of 1987's How Ya Like Me Now?[?] featured LL's signature red Kangols[?] being crushed beneath a truck.

LL Cool J has also been involved in feuds with Steady B[?], MC Shan[?], Ice-T, MC Hammer, as well as actor Jamie Foxx[?].

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