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2012's Most Notable Rap Beefs

2012 brought about a whole lot of fighting within the rap game, and the conflicts range from hilarious to terrifying.
December 10, 2012, 8:29pm

Pro wrestling-style conflict has been a mainstay in rap for a very long time, but 2012 seemed to bring about a bit more feuding than usual… blame Twitter I guess? Some of it was even rooted in good ol' fashioned reality. I've gone ahead and compiled a list of the top ten beefiest rap beefs of the year, because it's December and that just seems like something I should do. Go ahead and read.

#10: Shyne vs Reality
Oh, Shyne. Not only have you been screamed at by 50 Cent for trying to “go to war from an island” while you were chirping the greater part of America’s hip-hop community from your vacation home in Belize, you are now in the midst of a very severe conflict with the construct of reality itself.

On a recent interview with our favorite terrestrial radio rap show, The Breakfast Club, Shyne detailed an elaborate plan for community outreach wherein he and P Diddy would go out to schools and community centers to speak about the dangers of guns and violence. Right. Far be it from me to step in the way of someone else’s charity mission, but wouldn’t heading out to schools with the guy who put you in jail for ten years send a bit of a mixed message? On the same interview, Shyne called his own music “trash.”

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Add all of that to his incessant school yard Twitter beefing with people like Kendrick Lamar, which conjured up the ire of Game’s watchful eye, and what you’ve got is an individual who checked out of the “Common Sense Hotel” a long time ago.

Hopefully one day Shyne Po can go back to making sweet jams like this:

…but we all know that’s not going to happen.

#9 Nicki Minaj vs Barack Obama
You have to give it to Nicki Minaj for not picking on someone weaker than her, at least. Besides her boring bickering with Mariah Carey over a perceived internal threat to her status as #1 Boss American Idol Judge, Nicki went at the King of America: Barry Obama. If you’re not familiar with her diss against the most famous ex-editor of the Harvard Law review, it goes like this: “I’m a Republican votin’ for Mitt Romnayyy/You lazy bitches is fuckin’ up the econ’maay”

It was a cute little dart, specifically crafted to grab attention of course, and it might even reflect Nicki’s own political beliefs! Who knows, who cares. Point is, this lady rapper inspired a response from Barack Obama’s camp who basically said she was probably just joking. Either way, it adds another moment of YMCMB inspired GOP propaganda to a lineage started by Lil’ Wayne and Juelz.

#8: Lil Wayne vs New York
Not to be outdone, Lil’ Wayne took 2012 as an opportunity to feud with an entire city. After his stint in solitary confinement for bringing an iPod into Rikers Island (that likely led to the ongoing mental breakdown that Weezy has been suffering for the better part of his return to the civilized world) he really does have some reasonable grounds to be taking his anxiety out on NYC at large.

It all got worse over the summer, at Hot 97’s Summer Jam, when DJ Pete Rosenberg made a crack about Nicki Minaj’s quite-terrible pop single: “Starships.” Nicki complained, and Weezy canceled the entire Young Money performance at the show that day. Suck on that, New York’s Nicki Minaj fans.

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Yes, this performative hissy fit, and Wayne’s jail time in a nightmarish New York prison, led Lil’ Wayne to tell MTV that he “doesn’t like New York.” The only notable diss track that came out over all this was from the King of R&B collaborations/snappy punchlines: Fabolous, who said “‘I’m so New York Weezy probably don’t like me.” Heavy hitting stuff, Fabo.

#7: Rihanna vs Journalism
Before you start drafting your comment about Rihanna not being “hip-hop” or whatever, let’s remember she got Chris Brown and Drizzy’s bodyguards to throw bottles at each other until somehow they accrued $16 million worth of lawsuits. That’s the kind of destructive behavior we expect of our rap stars, right?

Either way, piling a bunch of music “journalists” onto a plane to cart them around from city to city without giving them a bathroom or food or water is kinda hilarious. The incessant blog-wailing that hit the internet every time one of these vultures found a WiFi spot was super entertaining to follow. Extra points to anyone who thought Rihanna was trying to be meta about the whole thing by showing journalists what it’s really like to tour internationally. Yeah right. I’m pretty sure she just didn’t want to associate with you thirsty internet people.

#6: Earl Sweatshirt vs Complex
Continuing on with the artists versus journalists tip, once-lost boy-rapper Earl Sweatshirt threw a few shots at Complex Magazine for discovering Earl’s whereabouts in April 2011, when he dropped the first single off his forthcoming debut album: “Chum.” Quoth Earl,

“These Complex fuck ninjas done track me down/Just to be the guys that did it, like, ‘I like attention’/Not the type where ninjas trying to get a raise at my expense/Supposed to be grateful, right? Like, ‘thanks so much you made my life harder and the ties between my mom and I strained…”” blah blah blah, he continues on that way.

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Look, dude, you were missing and people wanted to find you. Welcome to the spotlight. As much as we freaked out over how awesome the “Earl” video was, and still is, and while we totally respect and commend you for your departure from teenaged rape-rap, let’s be realistic about how frenzied every single rap listener was, while they were trying to figure out why the fuck you were in Samoa. You could have just sent us a tweet.

For the final five entries in this beef-cyclopedia, click through to page two.

#5: 50 Cent vs Maybach Music Group
Ok, so this one actually involves some variety of violence. There were a lot of great 50 Cent feuds to choose from this year, but with 50 it’s hard to tell which beef is just an elaborate marketing plan, and which beef actually comes from personal vitriol. You may remember the time in 2009 that 50 Cent found Rick Ross’ real life baby momma and took her shopping for furs. This moment has become popularly known, in my personal cultural universe, as one of the coldest and most evil moments in pop culture.

A terribly shot IPhone video of Gunplay getting jumped by 50’s goons.

Since then, it’s been a bit of a cold war between 50 and Rick Ross, with Rick Ross mainly doing nothing and 50 Cent throwing occasional darts about Rick’s Correctional Officer past. All of that came to a boiling point this past summer at the BET awards when Maybach Music’s resident crack user, the brilliantly volatile Gunplay, got beat up by 50 and his goons and had his chain stolen. Then 50 Cent went bowling, while wearing Gunplay’s chain, and filmed it.

#4: Gucci Mane vs Jeezy
Now we’re getting serious. This beef actually involves a real-life murder. The history of these guys’ toxic relationship is detailed all over the internet, but basically the two of them got into a money fight over a song they made together called “So Icy.” Jeezy retaliated by putting a bounty on Gucci Mane’s chain, some guys tried to rob Gucci Mane for his chain so they could collect, Gucci Mane shot one of them dead, and then he beat the charge.

Gucci’s diss tune.

That was all back in ’05/’06, though. Crazy ol’ Gooch regenerated the beef earlier this year on The Breakfast Club and said that Jeezy was not a “legend.” Jeezy retaliated by saying that Gucci is “retarded.” Then Gucci released a really awesome diss track. Extra points to Gucci for mixing in the newscast audio from that time he killed someone, along with the hook from “So Icy.”

#3: Rick Ross vs Gangster Disciples
Perhaps the most threateningly real beef in all of rap this year is the ongoing conflict between Rick Ross and the Gangster Disciples gang. Rick first got himself into trouble with the GDs when he said he “was” former Gangster Disciples leader, “Larry Hoover.” Apparently they forgave Rick for that. Nice guys! Then, Rick dropped a new mixtape.

Not only was the tape kind of shitty and a thinly veiled Rick Ross Concert Tour/Wingstop (Rick owns a few franchise locations of the popular American chicken wing joint) promotional vehicle, the cover art got Rick in trouble again with these GD gentlemen. Apparently that Star of David is not only a symbol of Judaism, but of the GDs as well. Let me tell ya, that did not go over well. The GDs released a few different public service announcement videos, including the one embedded below. All of them basically say “don’t come to our city or we’ll kill you.”

Then Rick Ross canceled all of his shows in the GDs territory. Probably a smart move. Don’t die out there, Ricky.

#2: Drake vs Aaliyah’s Legacy
Yeah, so, this is essentially a case study in how not to do a tribute album. The trouble started around the time that DMX, a real life friend of Aaliyah, was on The Breakfast Club to discuss (among other things) the upcoming Aaliyah tribute album produced by Drake, a guy who DMX accurately stated did not even “know this woman” and was in “middle school” when she died. DMX also said that he would beat Drake up in an elevator.

To rewind a bit, Drake secured the rights to executive produce this mysterious tribute album to Aaliyah using unreleased Aaliyah vocal tracks. His go-to sound engineer, 40, would presumably be making a lot of the beats. The rights were given (sold?) to him by Aaliyah’s uncle, who says Aaliyah’s ex Damon Dash “may help” with the project. To make matters worse, Aaliyah’s family at large isn’t supporting the album and Aaliyah’s musical mentors and frequent collaborators Missy Elliott and Timbaland said they had received “no call” to work on the project.

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It’s unclear if this mess will still amount to a collection of songs that the public will one day hear. Right now, the only music that exists is this “collaboration” between Aaliyah and Drake called “Enough Said,” where Aaliyah sings beautifully and Drake raps about Ferrari shopping.

#1: Chief Keef and Lil’ Reese vs Lil’ Jojo and Humanity at Large
This is a full-on tragedy. Earlier this year, a rapper named Lil’ Reese, who rolls with Chief Keef’s crew, got into a feud with a local 18-year old Chicago rapper named Lil’ Jojo. Jojo caught Reese out on the street one day, and made this shaky YouTube video of Jojo yelling shit at Reese. At the end of the video, you can hear one of Reese’s friends shout a death threat at Jojo. Hours after the video was published, Jojo was shot dead, a homicide that has aided in Chicago’s 38% increase in homicides that the police there attribute to gang violence.

To throw several handfuls of salt into this uncomfortably sad wound, Chief Keef took to Twitter after the news that Jojo died with a couple of tweets. One just said “hahahahahahahaha” and the other said that Jojo “wanted to be jus like us” with the hashtag #LMAO. Of course, after people started getting upset about this callousness, Chief Keef deleted the tweets and said he got hacked.

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Honorable mention: GOOD Music vs. YMCMB Drake made fun of Common, Pusha T made fun of Drake and Lil’ Wayne, Lil Wayne made fun of Pusha T, then Pusha T said that he didn’t make fun of Drake and Lil’ Wayne, then Pusha T made fun of YMCMB again on an upcoming Ludacris song.

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Wanna read more stuff about rap? Here:

2012: A Year in Hip-Hop - Sorry It's Not a List

Gunplay Doesn't Fear the Pine Box or Prison

We Tried to Get Big K.R.I.T. to Diss an MC

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @patrickmcguire