Disses, Beefs and Fistfights: 25 Legendary Feuds From Music History

From the beef that bankrupted 50 Cent to the time Jay-Z's mom stepped into the ring.
0 GettyImages-90713093 copy
Disses, Beefs and Fistfights: 25 Legendary Feuds From Music History Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The recent beef between rappers Cardi B and Nicki Minaj has captivated gossip-hungry onlookers, after 26-year-old Cardi upped the ante by hurling a shoe at 35-year-old Minaj during a party at New York Fashion Week in September.

This particular feud began, according to Cardi B, when Minaj cast doubt over her ability to care for her baby daughter, a claim that Minaj has denied. "I would never discuss anyone's child and it's so sad that for someone to pin that on me because I'm the bad guy and people would believe them," Minaj said on her Queen Radio show.

The argument simmered for weeks, before Minaj tweeted a truce: "Let's focus on positive things from here on out." Cardi B wrote on Instagram: "Let's keep it positive and keep it pushing."

Minaj and Cardi B are far from the first musicians to find themselves locked in a war of words (although there's not many who have utilized shoes so effectively). Feuds are a proud music industry tradition, and have rocked acts as diverse at the Beatles, Drake, The White Stripes and Insane Clown Posse.

Despite having vastly different styles—Minaj is a skilled technical rapper while Cardi B is a charismatic entertainer—Cardi B and Minaj are both female hip-hop artists at the top of their game, and are often lumped together in the media.

This is when music industry feuds are most likely to occur. Most have taken place between people who share musical turf and are most fiercely in competition—think Prince's alleged hatred for Michael Jackson, and Mariah Carey's famous diva-off with J-Lo.

This makes sense—we're fundamentally aggrieved when somebody steps onto what we perceive to be our territory. There's not many people who annoy us more than a thunder-stealing co-worker, or the new partner of an ex. These people threaten our sense of self, suggesting we're not unique but replaceable. And when you factor in the inflated egos at play in the music industry, feuds are poised to go very nuclear, very quickly.

From the diss that bankrupted 50 Cent to the time Jay-Z's mom stepped into the ring, we've collected the 25 most notorious music industry feuds of all time.

1
Prince vs. Michael Jackson Prince was reportedly hostile towards his closest rival in pop, Michael Jackson—in a recent GQ interview, Quincy Jones even alleged that Prince tried to run Michael over in his limo in 1983 after Michael upstaged him at a gig. Despite this, Michael had tried to create a working relationship with Prince, who turned down the chance to sing on the charity single “We Are the World” in 1985. In 1997, Prince even admitted Michael had tried to collaborate with him on the seminal 1987 hit Bad: "That Wesley Snipes character? That would have been me," Prince said. Phil Walter/Getty Images / BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images