Sometime overnight, while grown people with jobs and good sense were asleep, Drake dropped a diss song targeting rival Meek Mill, hopefully putting an end to their petty Twitter war.
Now Drake’s verses usually are as soft and sloppy as a snotty Kleenex but this time he actually show fire — enough fire for the 11-year-olds populating Twitter to proclaim it THE GREATEST DISS OF ALL TIME.
Playa please. It wasn’t even the best diss in the past seven days.
Let’s look back at 10 game-changing diss records that still resonate years later. Hip-hop is all about competition. Here’s the true art of war.
10. LL Cool J, “The Ripper Strikes Back”
The Victim: Canibus and The Fugees
Canibus’ “Second Round KO” is fondly remembered as a high-level diss – and don’t get me wrong, it’s strong. But most of its fame came from a rookie daring to go after a veteran. LL’s response went MUCH harder, brilliantly turning all of Canibus’ insults against him. Canibus thinks 99% of LL’s fans wear high heels? Well, LL hit back with “99 percent of your fans DON’T EXIST.”
9. MC Lyte, “10% Dis”
The Victim: MC Antoinette
These uncreative young’ns call it “paying tribute” these days, but in the golden era of hip-hop, the highest level of disrespect was to imitate another artist. When MC Antoinette jacked one of Lyte’s beats, she committed a cardinal sin, and paid the price.
8. Eminem, “Nail In the Coffin”
The Victim: Benzino
Benzino STAYS losing. After picking a fight with Eminem by questioning his credibility, Shady unleashed a hilarious rant that crushed Zino’s already-struggling career. Em blasted Zino for his age, his role in tarnishing the image of the once-revered Source magazine and even ethered him for trying to make money off his young son. It wasn’t a good day at the office for Benzino.
7. Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg, “Dre Day”
The Victim: Eazy-E, Luke, Tim Dog
This iconic West Coast diss isn’t just remembered for its bars, but also for the hilarious video that was played ENDLESSLY in the early 90s. The parodies were unforgettable (poor Sleazy-E) and I don’t think Tim Dog has dared to show his face in public after this.
6. Common, “The B**** In Yoo”
The Victim: Ice Cube
Y’all may know Common as the smiling intellectual slash actor, but in 1996, Com was swing swords like Shinobi. After Cube struck at Common following his breakout “I Used to Love H.E.R.” track, Common held nothing back, labeling Cube a washed-up has-been and showing a fire that we didn’t even know he had at the time. Don’t sleep on Common.
5. Ice Cube, “No Vaseline”
The Victims: NWA and Jerry Heller
Want to learn about the evils of the music industry? A pissed-off Ice Cube pulls back the curtain and exposes the shadiness of record execs in THE MOST graphic and brutal manner imaginable. No wonder Jerry Heller became such a reviled figure.
4. Boogie Down Productions, “The Bridge Is Over”
The Victims: MC Shan and The Juice Crew, Roxanne Shante, pretty much all of Queens
In the late 80s, BDP embarked in a long feud with MC Shan and The Juice Crew, culminating with “The Bridge Is Over,” one of the most famous disses of all time. Most of the lines are still in circulation today, thanks to your favorite rappers revisiting the carnage wreaked here. I don’t think Shan ever recovered from this blow.
3. Jay Z, “Takeover”
The Victims: Prodigy, Nas
This is almost a tale of two tracks, with Prodigy of Mobb Deep’s credibility being forever destroyed. “Being tested on the Summer Jam screen” became an instant part of hip-hop lexicon. But that wasn’t all – at the end of the second verse, when Jay dropped “ask Nas, he don’t want it with Hov,” Jay kicked off one of the history’s most famous beefs. Nas’ discography was systematically dismantled, and one of the most untouchable MCs in the game proved that he too was mortal. No one is safe from a diss track.
2. 2Pac featuring “Hit ‘Em Up”
The Victims: The Notorious BIG, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Bad Boy as a staff, record label and crew
Now y’all know that I’m a shameless Biggie stan and that I think Pac is easily the most overrated rapper of all time. However, I can’t deny the massacre that occurred here. Pac viciously went after BIG’s craft, his friends and his family, setting the tone for pretty much all diss records to follow. Sadly, this beef moved from wax to the streets, which has always cast a dark cloud over this track.
1. Nas, “Ether”
The Victim: Jay Z
There’s a reason why diss recorders are now known as “ethering” opponents. Nas’ entire legacy was called into question on “Takeover” but that did nothing but awaken a giant. Nas nearly decapitated Jay for stealing the lines of superior MCs, called him out on his insecurities, and accused Jay of being a closeted Nas fan. This wasn’t just a blistering diss, it was also a comeback record that cemented Nas’ place among rap’s elite. Jay eventually recovered, but the rap game was forever changed.
I’m sure I forgot some of your favorite disses. Share your favorites below.