With new releases by Kanye West, Jay Z, Drake, J. Cole, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and many others, 2013 has been a banner year for hip hop. But as another year passes, there will always be that other side of the genre: the beefs.
As long as no one's getting hurt, we're just as wrapped up in the interpersonal drama as the music. Here are some of the weirdest, ugliest, indescribable and most fascinating beefs of the year.
The Cause: On Big Sean's "Control," Kendrick Lamar delivered a brutal, eviscerating call-to-arms to hip hop's elite. What sounded at first glance like Lamar going after the kings was really his demand for everyone to step their game up.
The Effect: Few of the rappers named—Mac Miller, A$AP Rocky, Pusha T—publicly responded to Lamar, but the track elicited response tracks from Joell Ortiz, Lupe Fiasco and Papoose alongside lesser-known rappers. J. Cole also released his response in Justin Timberlake's "TKO (Remix)".
The Cause: Ray J, Brandy's brother and erstwhile Kim Kardashian's sex tape partner, released a song entitled "I Hit It First" about hitting it first. The singer released a (non-sex) video for the track, hiring a Kardashian lookalike to play the role of Kim.
The Cause: After Rick Ross came under fire for lyrics many criticized as advocating date rape in Rocko's "U.O.E.N.O.," Talib Kweli called him "misguided," saying, "Rick Ross condoned rape in that song ... and he should apologize, and his apology that he offered was unacceptable."
The Effect: Ross didn't respond to Kweli's comments, but did offer a second, more detailed apology after getting dropped from Reebok.
The Cause: Katy Perry tweeted, "Just heard a new song on the radio called 'I Hate Being Sober.' I now have serious doubt for the world."
The Effect: Chief Keef did not take kindly to Perry dissing his song, tweeting, “Dat b-tch Katy Perry can suck skin off my d-ck. I’ll smack The sh-t out her." Perry, sensing that this could get out of hand very quickly, recanted and apologized, tweeting, “Mr. Keef! I’m sorry if I offended you. I heard a lot of people guesting on the song & didn’t even know it was you in particular,” she wrote. “I’m a fan of your ‘Don’t Like’ video tbh. I was really just having a general opinion on our generations [sic] desire to be constantly intoxicated.”
The Cause: Oh, Gucci. The Atlanta rapper went on a Twitter tirade against Nicki Minaj, saying, in part, “Me and waka f-ck nikki minaj dats nothing. Tell. Her intervention my d-ck in her throat I moved dat b-tch to atl.”
The Effect: Minaj denied the allegations and Gucci deleted his Twitter account the next day and apologized to Minaj. "Woke up the other day out this hospital bed & I’m so embarrassed & ashamed of my behavior that was brought to my attention," Gucci tweeted. "I’ve been drinking lean for 10plus years & I must admit it has destroyed me. I wanna be the first rapper to admit." The rapper is currently facing up to 20 years in prison on federal gun charges.
The Cause: Weezy threw shots at Lil Kim on his Dedication 5 mixtape track "Pure Columbia," alluding to Kim's plastic surgery with the lines, "I done lost a couple hoes/But I'm still a pimp/Just changed the face of my Rollie/Shout out Lil' Kim."
The Effect: Kim fired back on Twitter, writing, "Bwahaha!!! That was real cute homegirl @ Lil 'Tutu...oops I mean @liltunechi!!!" The beef may have stemmed from Kim's longstanding feud with Nicki Minaj, a rapper Kim has claimed stole her style.
The Cause: Rita Ora posted a seemingly innocuous picture on her Instagram wearing jelly shoes and saying she was "bringin' them back."
The Effect: Rapper/professional troll Azealia Banks became enraged, claiming she wore them a year ago. Things got personal, with Banks tweeting, "She's mad she's Rihanna's understudy" and calling her "thirsty." Banks posted a text allegedly written by Ora saying, "I don't know who the f-k u think you are...u don't know me...I've done nothing but try b nice to u."
The Cause: New York rapper Papoose released a track "Cure" featuring vocals from Erykah Badu. All good so far, except....
The Effect: Badu's vocals were allegedly more than a decade old and used without permission. The singer tweeted, "This Papoose song Cure. I sang those vocals 10 years ago. That's 2 babies ago. Sheeeit. So MCs just throwing out old material - no paperwork...."
The Cause: Atlanta rapper Trinidad James performed in New York and declared himself the "King of New York" and that the South runs hip hop musically. This did not sit well with actual New York rappers such as Maino.
The Effect: Maino attacked James on his Twitter and Instagram pages and eventually released a taped phone conversation in which Maino asks James to apologize.