The music industry is not just a place of harmony and collaboration, but also of intense rivalry and conflicts. Over the years, various artists have publicly expressed their disagreements, sometimes resulting in notorious feuds that made headlines. Here are the ten most notable feuds in the music industry.
1. Tupac Shakur vs. The Notorious B.I.G.
This is perhaps the most infamous feud in hip-hop history. Tupac and Biggie started as friends, but their relationship quickly deteriorated after a shooting incident in 1994 in which Tupac was injured and pointed the finger at Biggie’s entourage. The feud escalated with diss-tracks and public insults, and tragically, this resulted in the murders of both rappers in the late ’90s.
2. Prince vs. Michael Jackson
Two of the biggest pop icons of the ’80s, Prince and Michael Jackson, had a well-known rivalry. It all started when Jackson’s “Thriller” outsold Prince’s “1999”. There were various incidents between the two, including a famous on-stage duel with James Brown. Their rivalry persisted until their respective deaths.
3. Dr. Dre vs. Eazy-E
Once allies in the groundbreaking rap group N.W.A., Dr. Dre and Eazy-E became bitter enemies after financial disputes and personal conflicts. The feud was publicly fought out in their music, with Dre’s “Dre Day” and Eazy-E’s “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” as highlights of their disagreement.
4. Eminem vs. Machine Gun Kelly
This recent feud between two generations of rappers began with subtle jabs and quickly escalated with diss-tracks such as Eminem’s “Killshot” and MGK’s “Rap Devil”. Although the feud was short-lived, it captured the attention of hip-hop fans worldwide. Eminem, obviously the bigger of the two, had the upper hand and destroyed MGK’s career.
5. Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West
One of the most public and long-lasting feuds in pop music began in 2009 when Kanye West stormed the stage during Taylor Swift’s VMA acceptance speech. The feud continued over the years with songs, public statements, and Twitter feuds. Although there were moments when it seemed the two had reconciled, the feud reignited with Kanye’s song “Famous” in 2016.
6. Eminem vs. Benzino
The feud between Eminem and Benzino, co-owner of the hip-hop magazine The Source, began in 2003 when Benzino released a diss-track titled “Pull Your Skirt Up“, targeting Eminem. The feud escalated when old demos of Eminem were discovered in which he used offensive lyrics. Eminem responded with his own tracks, “Nail in the Coffin” and “The Sauce”. The feud also affected business relationships, with ads from Shady/Aftermath being pulled from certain hip-hop magazines.
7. Nas vs. Jay-Z
This feud began in the late ’90s when Jay-Z invited Nas to appear on one of his tracks, but Nas never showed up. This led to a series of diss-tracks between the two, with Jay-Z’s “Takeover” and Nas’s “Ether” as the most notable songs of the feud. Although the two rappers eventually settled their differences and even collaborated, their feud remains one of the most discussed in hip-hop history.
8. Kid Rock vs. Tommy Lee
The feud between rockers Kid Rock and Tommy Lee began over their mutual ex, Pamela Anderson. The two had a physical confrontation during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2007, leading to much media attention.
9. 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule
This long-standing feud began in the late ’90s and lasted almost a decade. It all started when Ja Rule believed that 50 Cent was involved in a robbery against him. This led to a series of diss-tracks, physical confrontations, and even allegations of involvement in shootings. Both rappers have reignited their feud multiple times over the years, making it one of the most prolonged and bitter feuds in hip-hop.
10. Axl Rose vs. Kurt Cobain
The feud between Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain is legendary in rock history. It all started when Cobain made negative remarks about Guns N’ Roses, leading to a series of public insults between the two. Tensions peaked during the MTV Video Music Awards in 1992, where there was a near-confrontation between the bands. Although the two never physically fought, their feud remains one of the most discussed in the rock world.