Inside The Biggest And Nastiest Rap Vs. Rock Beefs Ever
Update: Dive into the best new hip hop with our list of 2020's top rap songs.
Beefs in music go back practically as far as the first note ever played. Even classical composers took a few digs at fellow artists, with Beethoven once remarking "[Gioachino] Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had spanked him enough on the backside."
Maybe that's not the type of razor-sharp diss you're going to find on Eminem's Kamikaze album, but when today's artists go for each other's throats, a quick diss can snowball into a massive feud that ends up lasting for years. That can be especially true when a feud crosses musical genres.
These days, we have the "luxury" of social media to watch these spectacles unfold, resulting in some feuds rising to legendary status - but only you can decide which beef is the biggest.
- 16,180 VOTES
Granted, Kanye West's ego is notoriously big enough to battle everyone on this list, but Slipknot singer Corey Taylor decided to unleash a barrage of attacks against the 21-time Grammy winner after West proclaimed himself "the greatest living rock star on the planet."
Not taking the statement lightly, Taylor responded to West, saying:
Kanye, you are not - not - the greatest living rock star of all time. The fact that you had to tell people that kinda says it all. You remind me of the guy who brags about p*ssy - they never get as much as they brag about. Stop it!
Naturally, some Ye fans didn't take too kindly to Taylor insulting the rapper. But the outspoken Taylor doubled-down on his statement:
If you're gonna tell me [that] with Keith Richards still alive, with David Bowie still alive, with Paul McCartney still alive that there's even a comparison to Kanye West, then you just need to shut up and never try to say anything smart ever again.
West never responded.
- 23,899 VOTES
Most of us wouldn't want to feud with a 6' 2" person who dresses up like a demon. But when N.W.A. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gene Simmons, bass player for legendary '70s rock outfit KISS, protested the act - and Ice Cube rose to the challenge.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Simmons was asked about N.W.A.'s induction and replied he was "looking forward to the death of rap." Ice Cube didn't take kindly to those words, replying:
The question is, are we rock and roll? And I say you goddamn right we rock and roll. Rock and roll is not an instrument; rock and roll is not even a style of music. Rock and roll is a spirit... And what connects us all is that spirit... Rock and roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and in life.
Afterwards, Simmons responded on Twitter, saying "Let me know when Jimi Hendrix gets into the hip hop hall of fame. Then you'll have a point."
Ice Cube then took things a little further, calling out rock music's history of appropriation in a tweet directly to Simmons:
Who stole the soul? Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Chubby Checkers help [sic] invent Rock 'n' Roll. We invent it. Y'all reprint it.
Simmons' reply repeated his argument. Responding via Twitter, Simmons said, "Cube - I stand by my words. Respect N.W.A., but when Led Zep gets into Rap Hall of Fame, I will agree with your point."
- 32,498 VOTES
Kid Rock Vs. Tommy Lee
While it's tough to call Kid Rock "rap" these days (technically, he's listed as "singer-songwriter" on Google), the early days of Mr. Rock's career were certainly more hip-hop-oriented. Tommy Lee, on the other hand, is best known as the drummer for '80s glam rock outfit Mötley Crüe. But together, they're both ex-husbands of Pamela Anderson.
Perhaps it was this unifying constant that brought the musicians to blows during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2007. During Alicia Keys's performance, Kid Rock decided to pay a special visit to Tommy Lee - and crack him across the face.
Said producer Rich Nice of the incident:
It looked like Tommy Lee initiated it because Kid Rock was ignoring him. And Tommy Lee kind of antagonized him. And then when Tommy Lee stood up, it looked a little weird, like, "Yo, what?"
When Tommy stands up is when Kid hit him the first time with a backhand. And then Tommy Lee looked like he was trying to get at him to aggressively retaliate and then Kid Rock hits Tommy Lee again - bong. And then security grabs Tommy Lee in a headlock and pulls him off.
After the scuffle, Lee was kicked out of the show and Rock was cited for misdemeanor battery.
- 42,425 VOTES
The members of Oasis - okay, specifically, the Gallagher brothers in Oasis - aren't ones to shy away from speaking their minds. In fact, they're so unabashedly honest, they managed to implode their own successful band by feuding with each other.
Not even a massive star like Jay-Z is immune to criticism by the rockers, particularly when it comes to playing a cherished festival like the one in Glastonbury. When Noel heard Jay-Z would be headlining the fest in 2008, he responded by stating, "Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music... I’m not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong."
Jay-Z countered with a simple statement, saying “We don’t play guitars, Noel, but hip-hop has put in its work like any other form of music.” A fair point to any detractors who believe hip-hop is somehow an inferior form of music.
In the events leading up to the festival, more words were thrown back and forth. But when it came time for the show itself, Jay-Z took the feud to a nuclear-level by opening with his own version of Oasis' hit "Wonderwall," before blasting into "99 Problems."
Some feuds are simply a matter of words, but leave it to one of hip-hop's greatest talents to decimate the playing field by taking his beef to the stage.
- 51,840 VOTESPhoto: Flickr/Sebastian Vital / Wikimedia Commons
The early 2000s were certainly a strange time for the music industry. Rap was coming of age on its own, and rock bands were starting to adapt in their own ways to the changing music scene. Among those changes? The nu metal (AKA rap rock) genre entered the fray. And during this sea change in music, two of the biggest names on the planet were Eminem and Limp Bizkit.
While the pair seemed like two sides of the same angsty coin, a feud eventually emerged, thanks to Limp Bizkit bandmember DJ Lethal's old House of Pain collaborator, Everlast.
As the story goes, Eminem and Limp Bizkit were supposed to record a diss track about Everlast - but the band pulled out at the last minute. Things seemed to be cool between both sides until DJ Lethal supposedly remarked that Everlast could beat Eminem in a fight.
Em, no stranger to feuds, did not take kindly to the diss. The ill will between the two has persisted since, with Eminem specifically dissing Limp Bizkit on the track "Girls," saying:
I never had a beef with you corny son of a b*tches
But now this sh*t is broke and you can't do nothing to fix it
So I'm telling you right now
Motherf*ck a Limp Bizkit
- 61,269 VOTES
Bernard Butler Of Suede Vs. Jay-Z
Taking on two of the biggest giants in hip-hop is, objectively, not exactly considered a wise decision - but that's what Bernard Butler, former guitarist for Brit-pop group Suede, did in 2012 when he called out not only Jay-Z, but also Beyoncé:
I'm decades behind music and all popular culture. I see Beyoncé as a nonstop insincere PR trip… How does anybody fall for that bollocks?… She is standing in the security pit surrounded by 100 sycophants.
Butler later stated:
Jay-Z on Later [With Jools Holland] had an amazing drummer, live guitar player, and on the Radio 1 thing it was him and Kanye like a pair of 40-year old A&R men who can't dance shouting "London oh yeah," whilst an iPod played Otis Redding. I can do that at home.