Dissing on vinyl has always been a rap mainstay: mike swipes meant more sales, more ink. But lobbing insults took a dangerous turn in the late '90s when ill will between Death Row Records and Bad Boy Entertainment was believed to have contributed to the murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. "It made everybody in the industry pause," says L.A. DJ Big Boy.
It's "Go Time" again. In the last year, rap's stars have been at each other. The latest: Nelly vs. legend KRS-One, who said that Nelly's party-boy image isn't good for hip-hop. On Nelly's upcoming album he says KRS needs a "rap pension and attention." Last year Jermaine Dupri told a magazine he was a better producer than Dr. Dre. Dre responded by calling 5-foot-3 Dupri "Mini Me and a midget" on a rap. "I'm short," Dupri tells NEWSWEEK. "But what is that to say?" Earlier this month Dupri shot back on the Web. He called Dre "gay" on a re-recording of a track Dre produced. Dupri also questioned if Dre produces the music he says he does. (Dre declined to comment.) A spat with Jay-Z has kept Nas's career afloat. On Jay-Z's album "The Blueprint," he questioned Nas's rapping skills and implied that he'd slept with the mother of Nas's kid. Nas called Jay-Z "Gay-Z" on "Stillmatic," his album that's sold 1.5 million copies. (Nas didn't comment.) "It's a sport," Jay-Z tells NEWSWEEK. Says P-Diddy: "I tell everybody, 'Keep my motherf---ing name out [of] your motherf---ing mouth.' Talking all that s--t about people leads to nothing but bad karma. And bad karma's a bitch."