If you’ve got beef and you want to call somebody out, the hip-hop industry provides you a platform to do so! Here’s a list of the top 10 diss songs of all time, with artists throwing punches left, right, and center.
Bring it On!
One of the first diss tracks in the music industry came with the track “Run for Cover” in 1967, with Lee “Scratch” Perry attacking his ex-producer Coxsone Dodd.
Mocking and dissing has been around for as long as we can remember, and contrary to common belief, it didn’t start with hip-hop. The first examples of mockery tracks came in the Middle Ages with “Hija”, which were satirical Arabic poems, and meant to take a jab at someone present in the room while the poem was being recited.
When it came into the world of hip-hop, it started with drug wars, territorial fights, and gang wars that were a part of the culture. The DJ would play the beats, and the MC would pick it and turn it into a rap battle. But today, diss tracks are not just freestyle word jabs that happen in the moment, face to face, but they are premeditated, well-thought-out strikes against fellow artists. They could be one-time blows or a fully drawn-out battle between the parties involved, and the controversy may continue long after the battle’s demise.
These tracks are characterized by their full-frontal attacks on other people, and it gains popularity and notoriety through the style of the song, its flow, lyrical prowess, the content, and its effectiveness at putting the message across.
So here’s a list of the 10 best diss songs ever.
10 GREATEST DISS TRACKS IN HISTORY
50 CENT ON JADAKISS
Track: “Piggy Bank”
Target Lines: “Jada don’t f**k wit’ me if you wanna eat/I’ll do yo lil a** like Jay did Mobb Deep. …”
Although 50 Cent attacked a number of artists in this track, including Nas, Mobb Deep, Shyne, Lil Kim, Kelis, and Fat Joe, his jab at Jadakiss in the track led to one of the most intruguing battles between the two artists. 50 Cent stated that he targeted Jadakiss for siding with Ja Rule in a diss song with subliminal verses.
JADAKISS ON 50 CENT
Target Lines: “It’s like going to see 50 at a show and he don’t come out singin’/Yeah, you got a felony, but you ain’t a predicate/Never the King of New York, you live in Connecticut”, “And don’t try to pull rank on ‘Kiss/Cause the niggaz I’ma send to do it ain’t gon’ miss. …”
In response to 50 Cent’s “Piggy Bank”, Jadakiss released this track. He attacked 50’s lack of skills, called him a snitch, and even sent a slight threatening message with the second line that is mentioned.
TIM DOG ON DR. DRE AND EAZY-E
Track: “F**k Compton”
Target Lines: “All you suckers that rif on the West Coast/I’ll dis and spray your ass like a roach”, “(Why you dissing Eazy?)/’Cause the boy ain’t shit/Chew him with tobacco, an’ spit him in shit”, “Dre beating on Dee from Pump it Up/Step to the Dog and get f****d up. …”
Considered to be the track that initiated the West Coast-East Coast’s historic battle, Tim Dog attacks the city of Compton and its artists stating that their lyrics, beats, and style was nothing in front of the E.C. His attack on Dre led to one of the most epic diss tracks two years later.
DR. DRE FT. SNOOP DOGG ON TIM DOG
Track: “F**** Wit Dre Day”
Target Lines: “Play with my bone, would ya Timmy/It seems like you’re good for makin jokes about your jimmy/But here’s a jimmy joke about your mama that you might not like I heard she was the ‘Frisco dyke'”, “Stompin on the ‘Eazy’est streets that you can walk on. …”
After being attacked by Tim Dog in “F**k Compton” and being betrayed by former friend Eazy-E, Dr. Dre changed the face of diss tracks with off-the-hook world flows, portraying Eazy-E as “Sleazy-E” and referring to Tim Dog as a dog named “Timmy”. He also introduced the term “Frisco Dyke” into the global lingo.
2PAC ON THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
Track: “Hit ‘Em Up”
Target Lines: “That’s why I f****d your b****h/You fat m**********r, “And the clique you claim/West side when we ride”, “Bad Boys murdered on Wax and kill. …”
One of the biggest, most stretched-out, and controversial war between the West Coast (ripped by Death Row Records) and the East Coast (Bad Boy Records) started with the war of words between 2Pac and Biggie. 2Pac one-upped the other by incorporating all the elements of a diss song by attacking the latter’s girlfriend, his appearance, using the same beats of his adversary and upgrading it, and creating a mega video parody.
JAY-Z ON NAS
Year: 2001 (September 11)
Target Lines: “Went from, Nasty Nas to Esco’s trash/Had a spark when you started but now you’re just garbage”, “So yeah I sampled your voice, you was usin it wrong/You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song”, “That’s a one hot album every ten year average. …”
Jay-Z took a shot at Nas with this track and called out the rapper on his fall from the top of the charts, his lack of hit albums―the only 2 (according to Jay) being “Nastradamus” and “Illmatic”. He also addressed Nas’s accusation of him stealing his opponent’s tunes, to which Jay-Z admitted that he did, but only made it better. They had one of the most infamous feuds of all time, and it has had a long and bitter history.
NAS ON JAY-Z
Year: 2001 (December 18)
Target Lines: “That this G**-Z and C**kafella Records wanted beef”, “You traded your soul for riches”, “You seem to be only concerned with dissing women”, “All I did was gave you a style for you to run with”, “Ha, R-O-C get gunned up and clapped quick”, “How much of Biggie’s rhymes is gonna come out your fat lips? …”
In response to “Takeover” by Jay-Z, Nas released “Ether” which attacked not only Jay-Z’s appearance, but also accused him of insulting women, being money-minded, and stealing Biggie’s tunes. He also states that he is the one who thought Jay-Z has style, and takes a line from “Takeover” and rewords it to add to the insult. This added fuel to the already-ongoing fire between the two. The battle finally came to end with Jay-Z’s “Super Ugly”, but subsequent diss references have been made by both in future tracks.
COMMON ON ICE CUBE
Track: “The B***h in Yoo”
Target Lines: “You ain’t made shit dope since AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted”, “Look, read listen, got the nerve to say you rob/Hypocrite, I’m filling out your Death Certificate” , “Use Higher Learning, don’t take my words out of text. …”
When Ice Cube responded with “Slaughterhouse” in response to Common’s attacking track “In Love with H.E.R”, the latter once again retorted with his new track. He calls Ice a “has been”, and accuses him of stealing his words and using it out of context.
ICE CUBE ON N.W.A AND JERRY HELLER
Track: “No Vaseline”
Target Lines: “Heard you both got the same bank account!/Dumb nigga, What you thinkin’ about?!/Get rid of that devil real simple, put a bullet in his temple”, “It’s a case of divide and conquer, ’cause you let a Jew break up my crew. …”
After his departure, when N.W.A dissed Ice Cube by calling him Benedict Arnold (America’s biggest traitor) in their albums “100 Miles & Runnin” and “Efil4zaggin”, he responded with this highly controversial track which attacks Eazy-E and the N.W.A manager Jerry Heller for playing dirty games to get ahead in the game. His song was considered to be racial and highly anti-Semitic, but is still considered a part of “Death Row’s Greatest Hits” album. No response ever came from his band members, but Ice Cube gained much infamy after the incident.
EMINEM ON BENZINO
Track: “Nail in the Coffin”
Target Lines: “What the f**k you stop for dummy/If you slew some c***k/You’d make a lot more money then you do from rap!”, “Old men have heart attacks/and I don’t want to be responsible for that so/Put the mic down and walk away/You can still have a little bit of dignity”, “You sit behind a f****n’ desk at The Source b**t-kissin/and beggin m***********s for guest appearances/and you can even get the clearances cuz real lyricists/don’t even respect you or take you serious”, “Threatened to shut me down at your little f****n’ Source magazine. …”
One of the most successful yet controversial rappers responded to The Source’s owner Raymond “Benzino” Scott, who had previously attacked the rapper in his songs and the magazine. Eminem lashed back with two tracks: “The Sauce” and “Nail in the Coffin”. The latter is credited with putting Benzino out of business, where Eminem stated that the former lacked talent, style, and didn’t know what the game was about. He called him old and thoroughly massacred him, bringing an end to the slander and career of Scott.
So, we know now that as long as there is talent, there will be competition. And as long as there is competition, there will be enmity, and thus, diss tracks will be born. These are the best that history has to offer, and we have to wait and watch who ups the ante in future!