What’s beef? The Notorious B.I.G. posed that question all the way back in 1997 on his posthumous sophomore album, Life After Death. And yet, 15 years later, we’re still trying to figure out the answer.
So, what’s the problem? Well, all beef is not created equal, especially when it comes to rap beef. Some rappers legitimately just do not like one another (see: 50 Cent and Ja Rule). Others have disagreements at one time or another but learn to work past their differences (see: Jay-Z and Nas). But, a lot of times, “beef” isn’t actually beef at all. It’s something that two artists use to drum up interest in themselves or their projects and, as a result, the beef between them either fizzles out and dies or just gets forgotten about altogether before a real resolution occurs. And, it leaves us rap fans wondering why we were even interested in the beef in the first place.
The most recent example of this kind of “beef” happened between Lil Wayne and Pusha T. A few weeks ago, Pusha released a track called “Exodus 23: 1” that featured him taking shots at Weezy’s label mate Drake. Then, Wayne responded with a diss track of his own called “Goulish.” But, yesterday, Wayne put an end to the rift by coming out and saying that he does not have beef with Pusha and that, as a result, the beef is dead—despite the fact that the two sides never really patched up whatever rift had come between them. How anti-climatic is that?
In light of the recent “beef” between Wayne and Pusha, we decided to take a look at some of the other hollow rap beefs that we’ve had to endure over the course of the last few years. These are The 10 Most Anti-Climatic Rap Beefs in Recent History. And, they’ve made it hard for us to definitively answer Biggie’s age-old question.—Chris Yuscavage
The “Beef”: Common vs. Drake
Why We Thought It Was Real: Having been involved in some pretty classic rap beef in the past, Common didn’t strike us as a guy who’d beef with someone simply to help get publicity for his new album. But, in the weeks leading up to the release of The Dreamer/The Believer last year, he picked a fight with Drake that spawned one of the best disses in recent history. In a freestyle over the “Stay Schemin” freestyle, he referred to Drizzy as “Canada Dry.”
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: After going back and forth with diss tracks for a few weeks, these two quieted down once Com’s album dropped. Then, in early February, Common announced that the beef was dead and he even spoke with Drake at the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. So much for all the hate he was spewing in Drake’s direction, eh?
The “Beef”: Ice-T vs. Soulja Boy
Why We Thought It Was Real: Shortly after Soulja Boy came onto the scene, Ice-T made an appearance on a mixtape and blamed Soulja for killing hip-hop. Soulja then took to YouTube to respond to him in a series of clips. And, the war was on and poppin’ from there.
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: Initially, this was one of the better beefs we’d seen in recent years. It was a battle between two distinct generations. But, over time, it dragged out more and more (and more!) until it pretty much played itself out. They didn’t come to any sort of understanding. They didn’t show that new and old rappers could coexist. They just continued to throw shots at one another until 2011 when Ice-T dissed Soulja and Soulja told him to “grow a hairline,” at which point they both just stopped. We’re not sure exactly how we wanted this thing to play out. But, we do know that we expected a better grand finale.
The “Beef”: Canibus vs. J. Cole
Why We Thought It Was Real: If you take the time out of your life to diss another rapper, then there has to be some sort of beef there, right? Um, right?!
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: As it turns out, Canibus didn’t have a valid reason to hate on J. Cole. In fact, it turns out J. Cole had bigged him up on stage during a concert just prior to getting dissed. So, Canibus retracted his shots shortly after putting them out there into the world and apologized to J. Cole. Damn, ‘Bis. Weren’t you a participant in one of the better rap beefs of all-time? This was definitely disappointing.
The “Beef”: Ludacris vs. Big Sean and Drake
Why We Thought It Was Real: Unlike most of the other beefs on this list, these three were actually beefing over their rap skills. Big Sean thought Luda had used his “hashtag” style of rapping improperly on “My Chick Bad” and he said so in some interviews. Drake acknowledged it, too. And, Luda shot back with a diss track called “Bada Boom” that took aim at both of them for disrespecting him.
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: After Luda dissed Sean and Drizzy, they both responded through the press but didn’t really engage him. As a result, Luda is still going at them—he dropped some bars on the “Same Damn Time” remix that sounded like they were intended for them—but not getting any type of response. This should have been a bigger battle.
The “Beef”: Game vs. Jay-Z
Why We Thought It Was Real: Back when he was still a relatively new rapper, Game dissed Jay-Z on a record. Then, he dissed him again. And, again. And, again. And, AGAIN. And…well, you get the point. When you diss someone as much as Game has, there’s gotta be some sort of beef there.
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: Jay-Z has never responded directly to Game. Even though Game has dissed him more times than we can count now, Hov steers clear of him and their paths have never crossed. So, this continues to be one of the lamest ongoing rap “beefs.” Just let it go, Game!
The “Beef”: Consequence vs. Kanye West
Why We Thought It Was Real: When Cons started throwing shots at ‘Ye last year after leaving the G.O.O.D. Music label, he was more than just another disgruntled artist. He was one of the guys who’d been with ‘Ye since the beginning of his career.
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: The Queens MC went all out when he started throwing shots at Mr. West. He had diss tracks, videos, YouTube clips—everything! But, despite all that, Kanye never responded to him and Consequence was forced to face the consequences of his actions. He disappeared, ‘Ye moved on, and the “beef” fizzled before it went any further. What a bad way to go out, Cons.
The “Beef”: Joe Budden vs. Raekwon
Why We Thought It Was Real: After Budden took some shots at Method Man and Inspectah Deck, Raekwon approached him at a Rock The Bells concert in 2009 and allegedly punched him in the face.
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: Shortly after the incident, Royce Da 5’9″ revealed that Budden and Raekwon had patched up their problems and agreed to squash the beef. But, few rap beefs get violent like this one did, so we would’ve liked to hear how and why the pair decided to squash their beef. Unfortunately, that never happened so we’ll always be left wondering how these two ended things.
The “Beef”: Game vs. Ras Kass
Why We Thought It Was Real: After he took offense to a line that his fellow West Coast MC spit, Game approached Ras Kass and reportedly attacked him at a club in 2006. That led to other altercations in addition to diss tracks exchanged between the two rappers.
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: Ras Kass doesn’t have the fan base—or the mainstream appeal—that Game has. So, we understand why this beef wasn’t heavily publicized. But, after all that these two went through during their beef, we never really heard about them squashing it. In fact, the only proof we have that it’s over is that they haven’t been spotted fighting anytime recently. Er, or have they and we just didn’t notice?
The “Beef”: Lil Wayne vs. Pusha T
Why We Thought It Was Real: Young Money artists have been trading shots with G.O.O.D. Music artists for a couple years now. And Wayne has a history of dissing Pusha’s group Clipse. So, we had every reason to believe that this beef was 100 percent legitimate.
Why It Was Anti-Climatic: Without any sort of resolution, Wayne came out and announced that he doesn’t have any beef with Pusha anymore. That leads us to believe that the beef might not have existed in the first place. It doesn’t get anymore anti-climatic than this.