Twenty years ago, rap animosity was expressed via diss songs. Like, if someone pissed you off you went home, thought about it, went to a recording studio, pressed up your album, and sent it around. The object of your diss might not find out until six months later.
More recently the rise of the mixtape and the internet allowed diss tracks to reach their targets much more quickly, and today rap disses arrive mostly in 140 character bundles.
While we certainly miss classic diss tracks like “Takeover” and “No Vaseline,” Twitter beef can be pretty damn entertaining. Here's a brief history, and at the end we crown a champion.
Way back in the Twitter dark ages of 2009, Nick Cannon fueled the fires of his wife's feud with Eminem by challenging Slim Shady to a boxing match. (Haha to Sohh italicizing “Twitter.”)
Further rapper vs. comedian conflicts would emerge in later years, including Marlon Wayans hollering back at Joe Budden (“At this point u are a question on Black Jeopardy. Can I get a lifeline?”) and D.L. Hughley butting heads with Lupe Fiasco over their stances on voting. (“obama ain't gone lose cuz of me and my raps.”)
Last fall saw Lupe step on an even more serious Twitter landmine. After attempting to impart life lessons to controversial fellow Chicagoan Chief Keef and adding “Chief Keef scares me. Not him specifically, but just the culture he represents,” Keef seemed to mock him: “lupe fiasco a hoe ass nigga And wen I see him I'ma smack him like da lil bitch he is #300.” This left Lupe crestfallen (“i have spoken peace only 2 receive vitriol and malice in return”) and caused him to announce his retirement from rap. Shortly after, Keef tweeted that his Twitter was “hacked” and he was not responsible for the comments. (Lupe, naturally, did not actually retire.)
Earlier in 2012 Havoc from Mobb Deep also said his account was compromised while airing out partner-in-rhyme Prodigy, but then later recanted and admitted the tweets were real. It was another example of the “my Twitter was hacked” excuse, commonly used to defuse situations, or as a 'get out of jail free' card of sorts.
Perez Hilton, meanwhile, has argued with 50 Cent, N.O.R.E. and Azealia Banks. And, speaking of Banks, she's gotten into tiffs with Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, and Angel Haze.
Fabolous has escalated shit with Joe Budden, Soulja Boy and Ray J; while watching a Floyd Mayweather documentary, Fab wrote: “Nah but Floyd saying we havin a concert in my living room & the camera cuts to Ray J singing 'One Wish' on the piano had me in tears!!” Allegedly, this led Ray J to physically attack him.
But what discussion of rap beef would be complete without mentioning The Game, who has entered wars of words with Shyne, pundit Michelle Malkin, and Kat Stacks. Most hilariously, he also squashed the hilarious Tyler, the Creator/Frank Ocean and Chris Brown beef.
We've also seen Bow Wow publicly argue with his mother over her use of Twitter, Slim Thug claim Oklahoma Thunder guard James Harden fraudulently threw up gang signs and Osama Bin Laden's supposed ex-mistress Kola Boof call Wale a “racist.” And don't forget the time Blu got heated after comically mishearing a Schoolboy Q lyric he could have easily googled.
But the all-time champion of Twitter beef is Lil B, who recently got into it with Joey Bada$$. That one kicked off when, inexplicably, the latter rapper tweeted a year-old diss lyric from recently-deceased rapper Capital Steez — “Tell the Based God, don't quit his day job” — at Lil B, spawning a pair of diss tracks (yes!) and causing Lil B's army of supporters (known as his “task force”) to seemingly driving Bada$$ off Twitter temporarily.
If you're keeping score, Lil B has also emerged victorious in Twitter feuds with Joe Budden and basketball player Kevin Durant. The lesson here? If it's late at night and you see the Based God coming down a dark timeline, duck out of sight.