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This Summer's 8 Best Hip Hop Beefs, Ranked

Meek Mill vs. Drake has been fun—but has it been the best? Let's sort it out

8
8 / 8

50 Cent vs. Ja Rule

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Not even worth all the details, but, basically: Meek Mill likened his beef with Drake (don't worry, we'll get to that, if you've been sleeping under a Twitterless rock) to Ja Rule and 50 Cent's old, intense bad blood, and Rule used it to re-shade 50, whom he's reminisced about beating down before:

If you're still awake, here's more from the present and the past. Another aspect of what made this one weak? Ja Rule actually threw people off the scent of the "50 Cent is bankrupt" story.

7
7 / 8

Vic Mensa vs. Travi$ Scott

Kinda low-key, but Kanye's up-and-comer buddies Vic Mensa and Travi$ Scott might be about to get into it on a grander stage after Vic's "Heir to the Throne," freestyle. The subtweet bars in question:

"Couple rap n---as you done thought that we was crew / Real life n---as was corny, what can I do? / Rich boy rappers get the notion that they tough / You a Cheddar Bob, you better shooting yourself."

The beef clarified when you started hearing Travi$ Scott's "straight up!" adlib peppered in. The song, as a whole, though, sees 'Ye's "U Mad" bro telling basically everyone in the game that he's coming for 'em.

6
6 / 8

Lil Wayne vs. Birdman

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Weezy publicly ignited his bitter beef with Cash Money and Birdman back in December 2014, then poured a dump truck's worth of gasoline on the fire with his January mixtape Sorry 4 the Wait 2. July's Free Weezy Album came out exclusively through Jay Z's Tidal, which was a burn of its own, even if the record only featured subtle references to the now-legal ($51 million lawsuit legal) situation.

Then the media found out Birdman might have thrown bottles at Wayne during a performance and/or teamed up with Young Thug to plot Wayne's murder. Sounds like the latter was never true, but Baby did do an hourlong sitdown interview where he threw this out:

"For that man to open his mouth and say something negative about me, you understand me, that was a lot. Shit fucked my day up. I love my son. That mean the world to me, he mean the world to me. For that man to say something negative about me, that affected my life."

The Wayne v. Birdman beef is mostly on the back burner, but don't think for a second it's not coming back to the front in a big way at some point.

5
5 / 8

Lil B vs. Various NBA Players

The benevolent BasedGod hit ESPN to talk about using his powers for ill, casting curses on NBA players like Kevin Durant, James Harden and more. It's all fun and games till someone gets sorcerery'd.

4
4 / 8

CyHi The Prynce vs. Kanye West

CyHi The Prynce is a 30-year-old rapper from Georgia with no studio album to his name, despite his exceptionally long mixtape career. He's also signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, and he's sick of being kept on the shelf. In "Elephant in the Room"—which, yes, has the G.O.O.D. angel logo on the cover art—CyHi went crazy on 'Ye, rapping about kidnapping him shortly after shooting up the Def Jam Records office. (Incidentally, CyHi was reportedly released from his contract.)

Does it matter if a rapper's not high on your radar if he lashes out against his boss on wax, and his boss is the one true Yeezus? This one was severe, and we're dying for the rest to play out.

3
3 / 8

Meek Mill vs. Drake

No, Meek Mill vs. Drake hasn't been the tastiest beef of the summer. What it's been is spectacularly entertaining, building from pointed ghostwriting tweets to onstage rants to diss tracks to the tippy-top apex: Drizzy's own OVO Fest in Toronto, his hometown. We might never see something like it again, that moment where Drake opened his set playing "Back to Back"—the second shot at Meek, the one that's more charged up than "Charged Up"— while a shocking volume of Meek-shaming memes got projected on the screen behind him.

But we've already heard too much about all of it. Of course Drake uses at least some ghostwriters; a third of his material is, on some level, pop music, the kind with hooks that living legends like Rihanna and Beyoncé outsource all the time. Of course Drake would wipe the floor with Meek; he's the biggest rapper in the universe and he's an expert at the internet with a squad stacked with internet-experts. (He made the fucking "Energy" video! Where he plays Miley Cyrus and President Barack Obama and Oprah!) Entertaining, but never, for a second, surprising.

It's also been sad. Meek has been on the come-up—hitting No. 1 with his sophomore album Dreams Worth More Than Money, dating and collaborating and touring with one of the best rappers in the game, Nicki Minaj. So to watch him take pure intentions and torpedo his year—and threaten to give Drake's crew wedgies??—has been tragic. At least we got a great Drake track and a pretty good Drake track out of it.

[Out of respect for the artist, Meek Mill's belated, undercooked diss track, "Wanna Know," has been excised from the record.]

Ah, screw it. Here's "Wanna Know." You made us do this:

2
2 / 8

Ghostface Killah vs. Action Bronson

Action Bronson's been garnering Ghostface Killah comparisons his whole career. They do food-raps, they've got gruff voices and sometimes similar flows. Back in May, the Wu-Tang wonder said he himself sometimes hears a Bronson feature and thinks it was a Ghostface spot. "I'm asking myself, 'When the fuck I do that verse?'"

So when Action Bronson got cornered into a Ghostface comparison on ESPN and, despite being openly complimentary, said the wrong thing—"he's not rappin' like this no more"—it lit Ghost's fuse fast:

The six-and-a-half-minute video above—Ghostface tearing Action apart while Teddy Pendergrass' "Be for Real" bumps in the back—is pure art. Notes:

–"You've got this little fake ass n---a, Action Bronson, running around sounding like me. I want to tell his little fat fuck self, I gave you a grace period. I was supposed to destroy you a long time ago."
–"Don't let me hang you from a rope and gut you like a pig and leave you out to dry. Because you're done."
–a part about lighting Bronsolino's big red beard on fire 

Bronson quickly squashed it:

So this one got blown way out of proportion, and Action ended it like a gentleman, but just watching Ghost go off like that was majestic shit. If it ends up on Spotify, it's better than "Wanna Know," "Charged Up" and "Back to Back" put together.

1
1 / 8

Nicki Minaj vs. the Culture

INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: Nicki Minaj attends the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood,
Michael Kovac/WireImage

Call this one Nicki v. Taylor at your own risk/if you're down with looking super foolish. Onika actually took issue with the MTV's VMAs failing to nominate the massively, ass-ively successful "Anaconda" video and her earthshaking collabo with Beyoncé"Feeling Myself."

"If I was a different 'kind' of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well," Nicki wrote in a feverish tweet-spree. "When the "other" girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination." Later she'd add that "if your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year" and "black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it."

That was all the beef you needed—Nicki vs. the ugly culture of recognition, who gets it, who doesn't and why. She went on to share a slew of truthspeak from other sources, including:

Then Taylor Swift—bless her well-intentioned, in-this-case-wrongheaded heart—assumed this was about her, tweeted so, and everyone simplified it to "Nicki v. Taylor," which it never was. Katy Perry got involved; the circus was complete. But even with the mess and the morning TV "are you and Taylor good though?" junk, Nicki v. everybody was big, bold and beautiful. (Just like "Ana"-motherfuckin'-"conda.")

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