Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ya wanna battle?

The recent and much hyped verbal battle between Kanye West and 50
Cent, an admitted publicity stunt, only served to give both of their
new albums more publicity. Kanye sold more albums in the end but
anyone thinking that 50 would keep his word on his promise to retire
if outsold would possibly want to take a closer look at the hip-hop world!
Such promises are nearly always broken and the real winners are the
bank accounts of both. In fairness to Kanye, he kept his silence for
once, but it did get me thinking, what were the biggest rivalries in hip-hop?
Here's a few that got the hip-hop world talking.

1-The Roxanne, Roxanne War
This was a well-known series of hip hop rivalries during the mid
1980s, between UTFO and Roxanne Shante. It helped launch the career
of the fiery young Shante, then only 14 years of age, and one of
the most aggressive MC's of the 80's.

2-The Bridge Wars
This was another early hip hop rivalry starting in the mid 80's
that arose from a dispute over the true birthplace of hip hop
music. The Bridge Wars originally involved KRS One's South Bronx
based Boogie Down Productions and Marley Marl's Juice Crew, hailing
from Queensbridge. KRS-One and Marley Marl have since officially
retired the feud, with the release of their collaborative 2007
album, Hip-Hop Lives. Marley recently had a heart attack but he is
thankfully fine again.

3-LL Cool J v Canibus
Started on a track "4, 3, 2, 1", that both featured on and
developed into a big feud that included thebiggest record that
Canibus ever released, "Second Round K.O." More diss records
followed, but while LL Cool J remains an integral part of hip-hop
history, Canibus has fallen by thew wayside and is most famous for
his battles with the Queens rapper.

4.2 Pac v Biggie
A much misunderstood rivalry and one in which the media helped
become even more misunderstood. 2 Pac was the main protaganist
against his former friend, but was dead before they could squash it
fully. Biggie maintained a dignity throughout most of this rivalry
and only responded subliminally, but sadly both rappers died within
a 6 month period at the end of 1996 and the start of 1997.

5-Nas v Jay Z
Two rappers who's careers have always had many parallels, they are
now on good terms again. For awhile, this dispute got serious and
it helped both rappers to up their game a bit and it certianly
attracted a lot of attention. Both were vying for attention in an
attempt to be seen as the King of New York, after the death of
Biggie. It also resulted in some great records, Nas in particular,
bringing the classic "Ether" to the table. A cynic would say that
commerce was ultimately the winner, and the fact that Nas now
records for Jay Z with Def Jam adds credence to this theory!

This article origianlly appeared in my Downtown clumn in the Evening Echo


Joe Lennon said...

The LL/Canibus beef was one that produced the best out of both artists. Canibus is a talented MC, but has been left down by weak production on his albums. His debut album was one of the biggest let-downs of the 90's, as it failed to live up to the hype that surrounded it.

That said, Second Round KO is a great track, one of the best diss tracks around IMO.

"You walk around showin off your body cause it sells/Plus to avoid the fact that you aint got skills/Mad at me cause I kick that shit real niggaz feel/While 99% of your fans wear high heels"

StevieG said...

Amen Joe, Second Round KO is a classic!

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    I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays also you can catch me at