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15 Memorable Subliminal Disses From The Notorious B.I.G.

Adger Cowans
Adger Cowans

Throughout its history, hip-hop has been known as a contact sport, with the origins of the culture built in part off the spirit of competition. The genre was initially used as a vehicle for the street gangs and neighborhood crews of New York City to engage in battle through competition through art, dance and rhyme while minimizing the threat of bloodshed. Although dance would initially be the go-to to settle disputes, over time, artists began airing out their grievances with one another through rhyme, resulting in classic diss songs from the likes of KRS-One, Ice Cube and 2Pac, to name a few.

However, during the 1990s, the subliminal diss began to emerge, with rappers opting to hint at who they were speaking ill of or mocking rather than attach an actual name to the target, one of them being The Notorious B.I.G. Rising from the underground during the early 1990s, after the release of his debut album, Ready to Die, the Brooklyn native would be christened as the King of New York, much to the chagrin of rivals like Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and RZA, as well as Nas, causing friction among the two factions. In addition to his underlying rift with fellow New York rappers, Biggie would have a historic beef with Tupac Shakur, with the latter blatantly calling the rapper out on record and in interviews.

While straight-forward disses that consisted of blatant disrespect, threats and calling out names were the more popular course of action, The Notorious B.I.G. would instead choose to levy his disses subliminally, leaving it up to the listener to read between the lines with context clues as to who the bars were actually about.

To commemorate The Notorious B.I.G.’s legacy and competitive fervor 20 years after his death, XXL highlights 15 of the more lethal subliminal disses within his raps.

“Kick in the Door”

Assumed Target: Nas



“Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns/As I crush so-called willies, thugs and rapper dons/Get in that ass, quick fast, like Ramadan/It’s that rap phenomenon Don Dada, fuck Poppa”


“Kick in the Door”

Assumed Target: Raekwon and Nas



“Ain’t no other kings in this rap thing, they siblings/Nothing but my children, one shot, they disappearing/It’s ill when MCs used to be on cruddy shit/Took home Ready to Die, listened, studied shit/Now they on some money shit, successful out the blue”


“Kick in the Door”

Assumed Target: Nas



“Lyrically I’m worshiped, don’t front, the word sick/You cursed it, but rehearsed it/I drop unexpectedly like bird shit/You herbs get stuck quickly for royalties and show money/Don’t forget the publishing, I punish ’em, I’m done with them”


“Kick in the Door”

Assumed Target: Raekwon, Nas, Ghostface Killah and O.G.C.



“This goes out for those that choose to use/Disrespectful views on the King of N-Y/Fuck that, why try, throw bleach in your eye/Now ya brailling it, snatch that light shit, I’m scaling it”


“Long Kiss Goodnight”

Assumed Target: Tupac



“I make yo’ mouthpiece obese like Della Reese/When I release, you lose teeth like Lil’ Cease/Nigga please, blood floods your dungarees/And that’s just the half of my warpath”


“Long Kiss Goodnight”

Assumed Target: Tupac



“Slugs hit your chest tap you spine, flatline/Heard through the grapevine, you got fucked fo’ times/Damn that three to nine, fucked you up for real though/Sling steel slow, as for remorse, we feel no”


“Going Back to Cali”

Assumed Target: Tupac and Death Row Records



“Smoke some nice sess in the West, y’all niggas is a mess/Thinking I’m gon’ stop, giving L.A. props/All I got is beef with those that violate me/I shall annihilate thee”


“I Got a Story to Tell”

Assumed Target: Anthony Mason



“The shit she kicked, all the shit’s legit/She get dick from a player off the New York Knicks/Nigga tricked ridiculous, the shit was plush/She’s stressin’ me to fuck, like she was in a rush/We fucked in his bed, quite dangerous/I’m in his ass while he playin’ ‘gainst the Utah Jazz/My 112, CD blast, I was past/She came twice I came last, roll the grass”


“What’s Beef”

Assumed Target: Raekwon and Nas



“Pardon my French but, uh, sometimes I get kind of
Peeved at these weak MCs/With the supreme ballerlike lyrics/I call em like I see em, G, y’all niggas sound like me/Y’all was grimy in the early ’90s, far behind me”


“Brooklyn’s Finest”

Assumed Target: Tupac



“Me and Gutter had two spots/The 2-for-5 dollar hits, the blue tops/Gotta go, Coolio mean it’s getting ‘Too Hot’/If Fay’ had twins, she’d probably have two Pacs/Get it? … Tu-pacs”


Puff Daddy’s “Victory” Featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes

Assumed Target: Nas



“The son of (Satan), they say my killing’s too blatant/You hesitatin’, I’m in your mama crib waitin’/Duct tapin’, your fam’ destiny/Lays in my hands, gat lays in my waist”


The LOX’s “You’ll See” Featuring The Notorious B.I.G.

Assumed Target: The LOX



“Niggas talkin’ it but ain’t livin’ it/Crystal pops I’m sippin’ it, mob hats and lizard shit/’Gator trunks bitch, rollin’ blunts with the williest of the willy/Heckler Koch, M-1s and nine millies”


R. Kelly’s “(You to Be) Be Happy” Featuring The Notorious B.I.G.

Assumed Target: Faith Evans



“Sitting, reminiscing on when you started dissing/Spitting in faces in public places/Rolex with wood faces had you chipper for months/Made some dough, did some shows, now you’re starting to front”


Shaq’s “You Can’t Stop the Reign” Featuring The Notorious B.I.G.

Assumed Target: Tupac



“My dreams is vivid, work hard to live it/Any place I visit, I got land there/How can players stand there and say I sound like them? Hello/Push wigs back and push six coupes that’s yellow”


Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “Gettin’ Money (Get Money Remix)” Featuring The Notorious B.I.G.

Assumed Target: Tupac



“Is Brooklyn in the house without a doubt/I’m the rapper with clout everybody yap about/Check it out, guns, I bust em, problems with my wife, don’t discuss em/Coupes and Learjets, I lust them”


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