The Essential Diss Tracks Of 2013 So Far
Last week, hip-hop experienced its latest uproar when Kendrick Lamar claimed he was the “King of New York.” Rappers and fans alike had their own interpretations of his verse on Big Sean's "Control." Some said it was a shot at East Coast hip-hop, while others felt he was just hungry to be the greatest MC within the new school. Looking at the bigger picture, he shook the rap game up and brought back its competitive nature.
When a rapper says something controversial, it usually brings the best out of MCs. Throughout this year, we’ve seen our fair share of feuds. A few of these won’t make it in the greatest rap beef ever category—actually, most of them won't—but they’ve given us some exciting and entertaining moments. So until the next statement that causes a riff in hip-hop, XXL complied all of the essential diss songs in 2013 so far. Your favorites, embarrassing ones and more are all here. Get caught up.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep) & Dan Jackson
Angel Haze Versus Azealia Banks
Date: January 3
Best Lyric: “Bitch put an album out, I think my album’s more done than yours/And I just started a week ago” - Angel Haze
Azealia Banks never bites her tongue when something is on her mind. She had a lot to say about rappers who fake represent New York, who aren’t actually born and raised here. Angel Haze, who is actually from Michigan, but is now based in L.A., took it as a subliminal diss because she has a song called “New York.” There back and forth continued through more insults. Haze released a song called “On The Edge,” which contained some strong shots at Banks. The Harlem rapper responded with “No Problems,” and then was followed by Haze releasing “Shut The Fuck Up.” Things got awkward when Perez Hilton inserted himself during a Twitter spat and sided with Haze. It led Banks to call him a “messy faggot” and the beef escalated into a larger issue involving homophobia in hip-hop. While Haze called it quits after her response, Banks wanted to get the last word. Apparently, it wasn’t the right choice.
Lupe Fiasco's Anti-Obama Comments At An Inauguration Party
Date: January 21
Best Lyric: "Limbaugh is a racist/Glenn Beck is a racist"
Never one to keep his political opinions close to his vest, Lupe Fiasco made some waves back in 2011 when he called President Obama the "biggest terrorist" in an interview with CBS News. Even though the two obviously aren't on the same page politically, Lupe was invited to perform at an unofficial inauguration event after President Obama's reelection, and the results were pretty much what you'd expect. Lupe used his stage time at the Hamilton Live Theater as an opportunity to speak out against the President and his policies, while also making comments about conservative media members like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Obama has not responded with a Lupe diss track of his own.
Lord Jamar Calls Out Kanye West For His Kilt
Date: February 4
Best Lyric: : “He introduced the skinny jeans to the rap scene/Then he wore a fucking skirt on a video screen”
Lord Jamar doesn’t like skirts. The Brand Nubian member obviously believes certain fashion trends these days don’t represent the culture and he hasn't been hesitant to speak his mind on the subject. From his rhymes aimed at West and the feminization of hip-hop on “Lift Up Your Skirt,” it’s clear that while Jamar respects Kanye's music, he's not on board with all his fashion choices. Although West wearing a kilt isn’t that bizzare, Lord Jamar felt the need to make his opinion known.
Pitbull Disses Lil Wayne In "Welcome to Dade County"
Date: February 25
Best Lyric: "You talk Miami, if you talkin' heat/Moral of the story: Don't sh-- where you eat"
Pitbull has never seemed like a particularly spiteful rapper—his music is mostly about having a good time and the joys of partying—but he'll defend his city if he feels like it's coming under attack. When Lil Wayne made some disparaging comments about the Miami Heat at an NBA All-Star after-party in Houston, Mr. Worldwide swung into action, recording this diss track over Baauer's "Harlem Shake" instrumental. It wasn't the most vicious response, but it was interesting to see Pitbull take on another icon and show that he hasn't lost his bite.
Chris Brown Pokes Fun At Drake On "R.I.P (Remix)"
Date: March 29
Best Lyric: : “Ok now dearly departed I bought a plane, I departed/And if you started from the bottom gon’ and come out the closet”
Drake and Chris Brown don’t like each other. Still, their bad blood continues to seep through in a number of interviews and songs. On Young Jeezy’s remix to “R.I.P,” C. Breezy plays on Drake’s “Started From The Bottom”s single by telling him to admit his real sexual preferences. It’s a little corny, but anything from Brown that takes a jab at Drizzy is a big deal.
Drake's "5 AM In Toronto"
Date: April 3
Best Lyric: "That's why every song sound like Drake featuring Drake"
Where Kendrick named names on his fiery and intense display of lyrical dominance, Drake took a different route on his equally dominant but slightly more obtuse track, "5 AM In Toronto." Instead of selecting specific targets, Drake uses the power of suggestion to imply that he's better than every rapper out there. "Without me, rap is just a bunch of orphans," he spits on the track, taking swipes at all those who have tried to bring him down in the last few years. Drake is playing games here, forcing you to go back and listen to the track again to figure out exactly who he's calling out. The answer isn't really clear, but that lack of clarity gives the song a quiet menace that's all its own.
Ray J Can't Get Over Kim Kardashian On "I Hit It First"
Date: April 9
Best Lyric: – “I had her head going north and her ass going south/But now baby chose to go West”
Ray J dated Kim Kardashian on and off between 2005 and 2007. Their relationship got more tumultuous when a leaked sex tape surfaced on the Internet. The aftermath was a devastating blow to Kardashian’s career, but she bounced back by molding her newfound popularity towards the debut of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. While it’s clear that Kim moved on from the rocky split up, Ray J isn’t about to let the public forget his role in her ascendancy. Enter his new single, “I Hit I First.”
Ray J refuses it’s about Kim and why shouldn’t he be on the defense? It’s really embarrassing to still be not over a girl after so many years. The point Ray J makes is he got to her first, so Kanye West is supposed to give some sort of credit. There are many instances where Ray J takes subliminal jabs at Kim and Kanye—such as in the hook itself: “She might move on to rappers and ballplayers, but we all know I hit it first.” The accompanied visual feature a Kim look-alike, references the sex tape through a video camera and blatantly nods to everything involving his ex. Does it hurt ‘Ye in any way? Nah. He’s too big to get involved in Kim’s old drama. But, it’s sad to see Ray J not letting go.
Gucci Mane Goes At Yo Gotti, T.I. And Young Jeezy In "Birds Of A Feather
Date: May 16
Best Lyric: I got no respect for Jeezy, he wouldn't even buy a lawyer
It can be difficult to keep up with Gucci Mane's steady stream of new music and it can be equally difficult to keep up with the status of his various feuds and beef. You might need a flow-chart to organize Gucci's many disagreements and rivalries, but "Birds Of A Feather" is the closest thing you'll get to a primer. Over a typically boisterous beat, Gucci offers quick and concise dismissals of artists like T.I., Yo Gotti and Young Jeezy. But Gucci isn't all spite here. He delivers gems like this assessment of his manager Coach K: "I still fuck with Coach K but he's a nerdy motherfucker."
Meek Mill Versus Cassidy
Date: December 2012 to June
Best Lyric: “If we get in the square I’mma end your career/The most you would last is a round or two/Cause lyrically you can’t compare to me/But I ain’t battling voluntarily/We could come to rap for that 100 stacks/And then give some of that to charity/You scared of me” – Cassidy
Cassidy and Meek Mill have thrown disses back and forth for the better part of last year. Cass is still keeping their public fallout relevant in his latest attempt, “Dopest Out.” Whatever the reasoning behind this diss record was, it did little to spark any reaction from Meek. The MMG rapper tweeted out his response, saying it was a move to get people interested in Cass again. “You ain’t hot if ya broke” was even one of his taunting hashtags. We guess Cass and Meek is a wrap.
Ying Yang Twins Want Credit For Use Of "HANH"
Date: July 22
Best Lyric: “Kanye West, French Montana/Y’all got from Atlanta.” “Excuse me Mr. P. Diddy and Jay Z, you presidents/if all you do is use our lyrics/Don’t that make us relevant?”
The Ying Yang Twins hasn’t made a hit song in a minute. How do they make a comeback? Well, they attempt to reclaim their word (“Hanh!”) in “Sayin’ My Word.” Putting pressure on French Montana and Kanye West, the ATL duo demand respect for the ad-lib they created. They want a shout out or some acknowledgement from the adopters of their legacy. Sadly, the most they got out of this stunt was a retweet by French Montana who laughed out loud about the matter. Better luck next time, guys.
Meek Mill Says He's The "King Of Philly," Gillie Da Kid Responds
Date: July 25
Best Lyric: “Ballin off in Miami I got two of them rings/I’m super rich ya’ll still trippin on who the king….So, you can diss in your raps but when I run into you/It's gon' be 'I didn't say that' or 'I don't want it with you.’” – Meek Mill
The King of Philly is another sought after title in the East Coast that every MC wants to claim. The battle continues with Gillie Da Kid, who dropped “King Me” that allegedly had a few rhymes directed to Meek Mill. The subliminal jabs were in full effect, and Meek couldn’t just sit back and let another Philly veteran come at him. So, Meek addressed the situation in his verse on Omelly’s “Panamera.” Unfortunately, it didn’t blow up into the epic rap battle we’d come to expect.
Kendrick Lamar's "Control" Verse Dominates Headlines
Date: August 12
Best Lyric: “I’m important like the Pope, I’m a Muslim on pork/I’m Makaveli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York/King of the Coast, one hand, I juggle them both”
What's left to say about King Kendrick?
Last week, the Compton rapper made headlines everywhere for his verse on Big Sean’s “Control.” If you somehow fell off the face of the Earth, he called himself the “King Of New York” and called out a bunch of his competition, namely his friends in the rap game. Then, everyone on Twitter went nuts over it. Soon after, other rappers had things to say. The responses started to pour in from Joell Ortiz to B.o.B, to Papoose and Joe Budden. Hip-hop was shaken up for a brief moment and competition was back in full force. The aftermath is a lot calmer now. Like any major thing that happens in hip-hop, rap fans are on to the next one. But, you can’t deny the fact that Kendrick made some rappers relevant again, sent waves in pop culture, and took hip-hop to new and exciting levels again. You can’t control that.