70-pac.jpgOn March 9, 2005, NYC residents were glued to their radios. Anticipation was building in the Big Apple. DJ Funkmaster Flex was at his cocky best, promising a one-two punch of exclusives—Fat Joe’s “My 44” and Jadakiss’ “Checkmate”—the long-awaited answer records to 50 Cent’s “Piggy Bank.” Explosions were heard throughout the tri-state area as Joe Crack got his Fred Flintstone on and ’Kiss mockingly toasted his rival’s SoundScan success. Yup, on the eighth anniversary of Biggie’s death, rap beef was alive and well.

What is it about this stuff that’s so intriguing? We’ve all seen 8 Mile,S.M.A.C.K. DVDs, and 106 & Park on Fridays. A microphone-à-microphone battle of wits is a major part of the culture. Some-times (sorry, hip-hop police) harsh words lead to hurt feelings that lead to fisticuffs, or worse. But for the most part, the strife has stayed on wax—resulting in some of the finest rap music ever recorded. Nothing like a bruised ego for motivational fuel, huh?

While XXL has enjoyed the latest round of mudslinging (thanks for stirring shit up, CJ!), of it pales in comparison to the 20 selections we’ve deemed the Greatest Diss Songs of all time. That’s right, new jacks, we ’bout to take you back. Back through the history of hip-hop hostilities. The Bridge Wars, LL vs. Moe Dee, Jigga vs. Nas. And of course, the wrath of ’Pac. This is what happens when rhyme animals attack.

Song: “Back Down”
Year: 2003
target: Ja Rule, Irv Gotti, Cadillac Tah, Black Child
motive: To strip one of hip-hop’s most successful artists of any remaining credibility.
brutal bars: “You’s a poptart sweetheart, you soft in the middle/I eat you for breakfast, the watch was exchanged for your necklace.”
availability:Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)

19. Artist: Tim Dog
Song: “Fuck Compton”
Year: 1991
target: Eazy-E, Ice Cube, N.W.A, Dr. Dre, Michel’le
motive: To make a name for himself. It worked!
brutal bars: “Dre beating on Dee from Pump It Up/Step to the Dog and get fucked up.”
availability: Ruffhouse Records Greatest Hits (Ruffhouse/Columbia)

18. Artist: Eminem
Song: “Nail In The Coffin”
Year: 2003
target: Benzino, The Source magazine, Dave Mays
motive: One of two responses to ’Zino’s “Pull Ya Skirt Up.”
brutal bars:“I don’t need your little fucking magazine. I got XXL’s number anyways... and y’all can’t stand it ’cause they gettin’ bigger than y’all.”
availability: DJ Green Lantern’s Invasion Part 1 (mixtape)

17. Artist: Eazy-E featuring B.G. Knocc Out and Dresta
Song: “Real Muthaphuckkin’ G’s”
Year: 1993
target: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Death Row Records
motive: One of many responses to Dr. Dre’s “Dre Day” and other Chronic disses.
brutal bars: “I hope that your fans understand when you talk about sprayin’ me/The same records that you makin’ is payin’ me.”
availability: Eternal E: The Best of (Ruthless)

16. Artist: MC Lyte
Song: “10% Dis”
Year: 1988
target: Antoinette, Hurby Luv Bug
motive: Lyte accused newcomer female MC of lifting one of her tracks.
brutal bars: “Hot damn, hoe, here we go again/Suckers steal a beat, when you know they can’t win.”
availability: The Very Best of MC Lyte (Rhino)

15. Artist: Jadakiss
Song: “Freestyle (Fuck Beanie Sigel)”
Year: 2001
target: Beanie Sigel
motive: Response to Beanie’s “Empire Strikes Back Freestyle.”
brutal bars: “Niggas can’t stand you Sigel/Your flow is mine anyway, so don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
availability: DJ P-Cutta’s Street Wars: Battle for the Streets (mixtape)

14. Artist: Beanie Sigel
Song: “Empire Strikes Back Freestyle”
Year: 2001
target: Jadakiss
motive: Tired of ’Kiss and D-Block throwing subliminal rocks at the Roc, Beans unleashed the beast.
brutal bars: “What’s funny Jason, really think you grimy too/Now everybody liked you better in that shiny suit.”
availability: DJ P-Cutta’s Street Wars: Battle for the Streets (mixtape)

13. Artist: Kool Moe Dee
Song: “Let’s Go”
Year: 1987
target: LL Cool J
motive: Response to LL’s “Jack the Ripper.”
brutal bars: “LL stands for Lower Level, Lack Luster/Last Least, Limp Lover...”
availability: The Jive Collection Volume 2 (Jive)

12. Artist: LL Cool J
Song: “Jack the Ripper”
Year: 1987
target: Kool Moe Dee
motive: Response to Kool Moe’s “How Ya Like Me Now.”
brutal bars: “How ya like me now? I’m getting busier/I’m double-platinum, I’m watching you get dizzier.”
availability: All World: The Greatest Hits (Def Jam)

11. Artist: LL Cool J
Song: “To da Break of Dawn”
Year: 1990
target: Kool Moe Dee, MC Hammer, Ice-T
motive: To fire back at three rap peers he felt were taking shots at him.
brutal bars: “You can’t handle the whole weight/Skin needs lotion, teeth need Colgate/Wise up, you little burnt-up french fry/I’m that type of guy.”
availability: Mama Said Knock You Out(Def Jam)