There’s the old expression, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Well, give that woman a mic and a beat and you’re looking at a whole world of hurt! For thirty years, lady MCs have been dishing out devastating diss tracks, hurling insults like it’s a martial art. Read on to hear 10 of the most brutal (and very NSFW), and learn about the beefs that inspired them!
1. “Roxanne’s Revenge” by Roxanne Shante (1984)
Aimed At: U.T.F.O.
Fightin’ Words: “Well, let me tell you somethin’ else about the Doctor, too/He ain’t really cute, and he ain’t great/He don’t even know how to operate/He came up to me with some bullshit rap/But let me tell you somethin’ ’cause you know it was wack”
Behind The Beef: Arguably the Big Bang of lady-diss tracks, the song came about when the rap group U.T.F.O. cancelled an live appearance at the last minute, leaving promoter/record producers Marley Marl and Mr. Magic in a tricky spot. Understandably annoyed, they conspired with 14-year-old Lolita Shanté Gooden to cut a humiliating “answer song” to their hit “Roxanne, Roxanne.” They sampled the beats from the original track, and according to hip-hop legend the young MC recorded her rap in one take, off the top of her head! Gooden released the cuss-filled song under the name Roxanne Shante, and it went on to sell 250,000 copies in New York City alone.
Comeback Track: U.T.F.O. wanted the last word, and decided to record a response record called “The Real Roxanne” with Elease Jacks and later Adelaida Martinez assuming the title role. This opened the floodgates, and soon other MCs and DJs wanted in on the battle. It became a phenomenon! Within the year, anywhere between 30 to 100 Roxanne-themed records flooded the airwaves, written from the point of view of her friends and family, or other dudes who dated her. The Roxanne Wars were on! And even after they ended in the late ’80s, Roxanne Shante (by then just Shante) was still making heavy diss tracks like “Have A Nice Day” and “Big Mama.”
2. “10% Dis” by MC Lyte (1988)
Aimed At: MC Antoinette
Fightin’ Words: “But I’ll wait for the day or night that you approach/And I’ma serve then burn ya like a piece of, toast!/Pop you in the microwave to watch your head bubble/Your skin just crumble, a battle’s no trouble”
Behind The Beef: MC Lyte wasn’t didn’t appreciate that hip hop newbie Antoinette’s first single “I Got An Attitude” sounded a little too much “Top Billin'” by Lyte’s label mates Audio Two. So she recorded her own song to let the world know!
Comeback Track: Antoinette fired back with “Lights Out, Party Over,” which got nasty with lines like “Lyte’s out, now the party’s over/Homegirl reminds me of my dead dog rover.” But MC Lyte finished it off with “Shut The Eff Up! (Hoe),” which featured the immortal line “In ’10%’ I popped your head in a microwave/I’m into blenders now, so you better behave.”
Bonus Points: Foxy Brown recorded her own version of the song in 1997, directing it at Queen Latifah and Queen Pen.
3. “Payback” by Choice (1991)
Aimed At: Willie D, Too Short, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Geto Boys, and N.W.A.
Fightin’ Words: “Talkin’ ’bout bald head hoes ain’t nice/when you’re mama can’t even roll her hair with rice!”
Behind The Beef: Choice was the “first lady” of the Rap-A-Lot label after getting tapped by big dog MC Willie D to appear on his pioneering Controversy record, guesting on the charmingly-titled track “I Need Some P–sy” (that’s the one with the lyric “I got a p–sy ’bout the size of Bolivia”). But when her own singles didn’t sell quite as well, she dropped the diss-laden disc, The Big Paypack. To this day it’s unclear if the beefs with Willie and the crew were, or if she was trying to cash-in by igniting her very own Roxanne Wars.
Comeback Track: Willie settled his beef with Choice (and pretty much the rest of his enemies) with the title track on his 1992 album I’m Goin’ Out Lika Soldier.
4. “Name Callin’ Part 2″ by Queen Latifah (1998)
Aimed At: Foxy Brown
Fightin’ Words: “I’m not trippin, I heard you rippin/But I’m into breaking bitches/And sendin’ em back to their first career- strippin'”
Behind The Beef: It all started when Queen L released the track “Name Callin'” on the soundtrack to the 1996 movie Set It Off. Chock full o’ disses, Foxy was certain that some of them were directed at her. She made the beef known over the next few months during various interviews, and even remade MC Lyte’s “10% Diss” to comment on the situation. That’s when The Queen obliterated her haters with “Name Callin’ Part II.” If Part One wasn’t about Foxy Brown, this one made no question about it!
Comeback Track: Foxy fought back with the homophobic “Talk To Me,” which took cheap shots at Queen Latifah’s failing talk show ratings, and even drew newcomer Queen Pen into the fray. However, the track was widely ignored by the mainstream media, who dubbed Latifah the winner of the beef-off. By 2000, the two buried the hatchet, with Foxy appearing on her talk show, and L performing Foxy’s “Na Na Be Like.”
5. “Bang, Bang” by Foxy Brown and Capone-N-Noreaga (2000)
Aimed At: Lil’ Kim
Fightin’ Words: “You talk slick, f–k is all that sneak shit?/
You and Diddy y’all kill me with that subliminal sh–, bitch/ Why is you frontin and kickin that street shit?/Please, impress me, go back to that freak shit”
Behind The Beef: These two actually used to be good friends, and nearly did an album together back in the mid ’90s. It’s unclear about how exactly the beef started, apparently with a lot of miscommunication in both camps. Brown released the song “My Life” as a peace offering on her 1999 album Chyna Doll, but still had subtle disses sprinkled elsewhere in the album. Kim wasn’t ready to bury the hatchet quite yet, offering up a brutal guest verse on Mobb Deep’s “Quiet Storm (Remix)” as well as her own lacerating “Notorious K.I.M.” So that’s when Foxy called upon CNN to issue the ultimate audio assault, even laying into Kim’s grief for the recently slain Biggie Smalls with the line “Let the n—a rest in peace, and hop off his dick, bitch do you.”
Comeback Track: Ehhh, this one actually ended with some jail time. Kim didn’t issue a diss track, per se, but just a few days after the track dropped a shooting incident took place outside New York’s Hot 97 radio station, where Kim was due to give an interview. According to police, 20 shots were fired between two groups of three men. Kim and Capone (one half of Capone-N-Noreaga) both denied any knowledge of the assault, but detectives proved otherwise, and Kim was found guilty of perjury and three counts of conspiracy. She was sentenced to one year and a day in prison, and three years prohibition. Foxy once again tried to end the feud between her old friend, but Kim refused any contact.
Bonus Points: In 2011, Jackie-O issued her own version of the song, also directed at Kim. Jackie-O and Foxy have also exchanged beef tracks. As we’ll see in…
Behind The Beef: Jackie-O was recording in a Miami studio when Foxy Brown and her business manager dropped by unannounced and tried to negotiate a featured guest verse. Jackie wasn’t really down with the idea, which reportedly caused Foxy to fly into a rage, screaming “You don’t know who the f–k I am? You need to bow down. That’s what’s wrong with y’all new rapper hoes.” According to Jackie herself, she could hear Brown in the recording booth seething, “This bitch don’t know, I’m about to slap the s–t out of her.” Jackie couldn’t help but get the last word with “T.K.O.,” which gives a blow by blow of the altercation, and features a recording of Foxy denying the tiff on a news program in the following days.
7. “What’s Beef ” by Trina (2006)
Aimed At: Khia
Fightin’ Words: “You see the problem is I used to like you/ Til’ you start jumpin’ on the dick with trick/And doing all of my leftover s–t/Now you’s a scam, you get the left over hits.”
Behind The Beef: Disses have been flying between these two for years, although there are a number of theories why. Some say it’s because Khia was jealous that Trina dated Lil Wayne for a time, and took shots at her in XXL Magazine. Others say it’s because Khia rejects Trina and Jackie-O’s self-proclaimed claims on the title “Queen of the South.” But Trina fought back, remaking Biggie’s 2Pac diss track “What’s Beef.”
Comeback Track: This one got real messy real fast. Khia turned around and borrowed beats from 2Pac’s track “Hit ’Em Up” to record “Hit Her Up (Trina Diss),” an epic smack-down song if there ever was one. She kept it going by by doing a nasty track by track review of Trina’s 2008 release, Still Da Baddest, summing up the album by saying “U STILL THE HOE U ALWAYS BEEN. AND HOES DONT GET NO RESPECT!!!!!! PUPPETTTTTT!!!!” Ooof. Trina then added a diss track to the iTunes release, “You Ain’t Nothing.” The altercations got physical in later years, and even more personal. When nude photos of Trina leaked in 2010, Khia was quick to take to Twitter and add fuel to the flames by comparing her skin to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Your guess is as good as ours.
8. “Romans Revenge” by Nicki Minaj (2010)
Aimed At: Lil’ Kim
Fightin’ Words: “Yeah, I said it, has-been/Hang it up, flat screen/Plasma/Hey Nicki, hey Nicki, asthma/I got the pumps, it ain’t got medicine/I got bars, sentencin’/I’m a bad bitch, I’m a c–t/And I’ll kick that ho, punt/Forced trauma, blunt/You play the back bitch, I’m in the front/You need a job, this ain’t cuttin’ it/Nicki Minaj is who you ain’t f–kin with”
Behind The Beef: Lil’ Kim took issue with Nicki’s success when she burst onto the Young Money scene in 2009, accusing Minaj of jacking her Barbie style and disrespecting her music. While Minaj had covered several of Kim’s songs and cited her as a major influence, she denied xeroxing her career. The feud grew, leading Minaj to put out this cut on her debut full-length Pink Friday in 2010.
Comeback Track: If history has taught us anything, it’s to not mess with Lil’ Kim, who responded soon after with the pointedly-titled mixtape, Black Friday, featuring a decapitated Minaj on the cover. The title track is a nuclear assault on Minaj, letting us know that this feud isn’t going anywhere a while. Nicki has gone after Kim on record several times since then, including her guest verse on Birdman’s “Y U Mad,” and her own song “Tragedy.” Lil’ Kim shot back with “Warning Freestyle,” and now we’re all just waiting for Nicki to drop her next diss.
9. “Succubi” by Azealia Banks (2012)
Aimed At: Jim Jones
Fightin’ Words: “It takes a Harlem bitch to execute a Harlem bitch”
Behind The Beef: Azealia has feuds with, well…pretty much everybody. Lady Gaga, Lily Allen, Kreayshawn, Karmin, A$Ap Rocky, Rita Ora, T.I., Lil’ Kim, Nicki Minaj…we’ve lost count. Gimmick much? While most of these beefs rarely left the Twittersphere, she saved special scorn for producer, fellow Harlem-native Jim Jones. The pair got into a heated twit-debate over who had rights over the word “Vamp,” the name of Jones’s clothing line and apparently an expression that’s very important to Azealia. Yeah, it’s kinda petty, but she felt moved enough to call him out on record.
Aimed At: Azealia Banks
Fight’ Words: “Bitch put an album out/I think my album’s more done than yours, I just started a week ago”
Behind The Beef: Considering Azealia’s notoriously inflammatory Twitter feed, it was a pretty tame tweet that kicked this feud off. On January 3rd 2013 she wrote “Seriously, if you were not born and raised in NY…DON’T CLAIM NY. YOU ARE NOT A NEW YORKER.” Seemed straight up enough, but Angel Haze took it personally, telling her to “knock it off, before you get shanked through your iridescent bubble jacket.” They sparred for the next twenty minutes or so, before Haze dropped “On The Edge” on the world. Well played, but the speed she was able to whip that out was somewhat suspicious. “LOL…seriously…how long have you had these bars written tho?” Banks wrote, echoing our own thoughts.
Comeback Track: This beef spawned an unprecedented THREE diss tracks in two days! Azealia fired back with “No Problems,” but Angel got the last word in with the slightly-less-than-tactful “Shut The F–k Up.”