The ongoing Drake-vs-Meek Mill beef is fine for entertainment, but it’s not exactly the most dangerous hip-hop quarrel in history. Ben Rayner writing for Thestar.com lists hip hop beefs which, in his opinion, were simply pointless.
MC Hammer vs. Jay Z
It’s pretty obvious which MC would be left standing if this one had ever come down to a proper rap battle. Nevertheless, after a dig at Hammer’s squandered U Can’t Touch This-era fortune in Jay Z’s verse to Kanye West’s So Appalled (“Hammer went broke so you know I’m more focused / I lost 30 mil’ so I spent another 30/ ’Cause unlike Hammer 30 million can’t hurt me”), Hammer retaliated in 2010 with a track called Better Run Run and a video that featured a Jigga lookalike fleeing the devil. After a week, Hammer announced via Twitter that the beef was over and he was “moving on.” Jay Z, for his part, kept quiet on the matter after the offending verse and even told the BBC at the time that he hoped Hammer hadn’t taken his innocent ribbing “the wrong way.”
Nelly vs. Chingy
In 2004, rapper Chingy made a big dent in the charts with the single Right Thurr. This clearly upset fellow St. Louis resident Nelly, who had previously put the city on the international hip-hop map with hits like Country Grammar and Hot In Herre, because he felt moved to put Chingy in his place on the 2004 track Another One: “Just remember when you do that right thurr / I made it tight to be country,” Nelly cautioned Chingy. “They thought country was bummy / Till country start making money.” Their heads weren’t quite as hot once the glare of the spotlights had receded and they would go on to amicably guest on each other’s tracks.
Iggy Azalea vs. Azealia Banks
We all know this beef is basically traceable to a certain overlap in two rappers’ names, but that hasn’t stopped Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks from finding endless new reasons to lob insults at each other on Twitter and in the media. American Banks is fond of calling Azalea, a white Australian, out for appropriating black culture. Azalea, in turn, is fond of calling out Banks — whose public (and mostly one-sided) feuds with Pharrell Williams, A$AP Rocky, Lady Gaga, Lily Allen and even the Stone Roses once inspired Stereogum to run a list of The 10 Dumbest Azealia Banks beefs of 2013 — for calling everyone else out all the time. “There are many black artists succeeding in all genres,” Azalea tweeted last year. “The reason you haven’t is because of your piss poor attitude.” Ouch.
Lil’ Romeo vs. Lil’ Bow Wow
This ‘lil’ feud erupted when Bow Wow allegedly took a dig at Romeo, his arch-rival on the teen-rap circuit, in the 2005 single Fresh Azimiz, boasting that he was “18 and making more than your dad.” A mild clash of crews ensued backstage at the (ahem) Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2006, prompting Romeo’s father — No Limit Records gangsta-rap entrepreneur Master P — to suggest that the boys duke it out in a charity pay-per-view boxing match. “If you wanna get in the ring and squash it, put some boxing gloves on and we can set up a fight,” he told AllHipHop.com at the time. Alas, the fight never happened.
Eminem vs. Insane Clown Posse
This one is rumored to have started over a line on a flyer for the release party to Eminem’s 1997 The Slim Shady EP, which listed Insane Clown Posse as “maybe” performers when, in fact, ICP had never been asked to perform. A fairly innocent beginning, yes, but the two Detroit acts would then spend a decade lobbing insults at one another in the press, onstage and in song; the most notable of the latter being an ICP parody of Em’s My Name Is called Slim Anus. By 2010, however, the Motor City madmen had kissed and made up, with ICP member Violent J telling MTV that Eminem’s late D12 crew member Proof had brokered a peace deal. “Proof squashed that beef before he passed away,” he said. “He contacted us and we had a bowling game. It was really cool.”
50 cent vs. Ja Rule
For a time, 50 Cent’s marketing plan was simple: go at [enter name here]; go at them hard. In 2004, with Piggy Bank, he simultaneously sprayed at Jadakiss, Nas and Fat Joe (along with little darts at Lil Kim, Mobb Deep, Shyne, Kelis and others). In 2007, he sent black roses to Cam’ron’s label, around the same time he’d promised to retire if Kanye outsold him. It wasn’t always so inorganic. No, he actually hated Ja Rule and was intent on taking him and Murder Inc. down. As lore goes, the trouble started when an associate of 50’s tried to steal Ja’s jewelry, which in turn led to 50 getting stabbed at New York’s club Hit Factory. Not one to let hospital bills go unpaid, 50 set to dismantling Ja’s career, starting with mixtape tracks (Life’s on the Line, I Smell Pussy) and skits (Ja Rule Duets, where he mimics Ja’s gravel-voice singing over pop songs) and videos (Wanksta). Ja tried responding in kind, with Blood in My Eye, though it wasn’t nearly as effective. In desperation, his team left bullet holes in the Violator management offices, where 50’s reps worked. Later, Murder Inc. was run out of the 106 & Park studios. Minister Louis Farrakhan tried to get involved, but ha-ha-ha, they weren’t having it. By 2005, Ja Rule’s career had ground to a halt; in just two years, he’d gone from Number One to an afterthought. But there’s no bad blood…maybe: Ja acknowledged his loss and in 2013, the two were on the same plane and got to their destination without any problem. However, they seemed to have revived the decade old beef again as they both took shots at each other on social media.