Clash Of The Titans: 14 Epic Hip Hop Battles

posted Wednesday July 09 ,2014 at 08:25AM CDT | 48 comments

Clash Of The Titans: 14 Epic Hip Hop Battles

The stakes will be high at Total Slaughter this Saturday as Joe Budden takes on Hollow Da Don, but for now, we feast on epic battles of the past that played out both on wax and in the streets.

Hip Hop is a contact sport. There are few other music genres so competitive as to naturally pit the top contributors against each other. And clashes between the likes of Game and 50 Cent as well as Lil Kim and Foxy Brown have turned physical with both verbal and literal “shots fired.” Of course, the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. represent the ultimate losses for Hip Hop, as both men were dragged into a media-created “East versus West” feud and died of gunshot wounds in separate altercations. So there’s a precedent for corporations (in their case major record labels) profiting from emcees clashing.

This upcoming weekend’s “Total Slaughter” marquee battle between Joe Budden and Hollow Da Don represents one of the times when a corporate entity, two conflicting participants and Hip Hop at large will all hopefully profit from a battle. Hollow and Joe have been trading barbs in the months leading up to this battle, and on July 12, everything will finally be settled.

In the meantime, we look back at 14 memorable battles between emcees ranging from Nas and Jay Z to Three 6 Mafia and Bone thugs-n-harmony. This is not a ranked list. Enjoy looking back on what we hope are beefs that have long been settled, and as you await “Total Slaughter,” check out BattleRap.com for updates on the upcoming battle between Joe Budden and Hollow Da Don. And since we know you're fiending, don't forget to order "Total Slaughter" on Pay-Per-View this upcoming Saturday July 12. Check out "Total Slaughter" on FuseTV and if you're cable companie's acting the fool, you can grab the episodes over at Watch Loud

Battle: Jay Z vs. Nas

Key Songs:  “Takeover” - Jay Z [The Blueprint], “Ether” - Nas [Stillmatic], “Supa Ugly” - Jay Z [No album], “Stillmatic Freestyle” - Nas [No album], “Last Real Nigga Alive” - Nas [God’s Son], “Blueprint 2” - Jay Z [The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse].

Jay Z’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: The Blueprint peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 35-week run on the chart. On May 1, 2002 the RIAA certified The Blueprint as double platinum. The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 26-week run on the chart. On December 10, 2002, the RIAA certified The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse as triple platinum.

Nas’ RIAA/Billboard Impact: Stillmatic peaked at #5 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 38-week run on the chart. On January 16, 2002 the RIAA certified Stillmatic as platinum. God’s Son peaked at #12 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 28-week run on the chart.

Battle: Casual vs. Saafir 

Key Songs: “That Bullshit” - [Fear Itself],  Hieroglyphics vs. Hobo Junction Battle [Wake Up Show].

Casual & Saafir’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Fear Itself peaked at #108 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a two-week run on the chart. According to Sway Calloway, he and King Tech took upwards of 500 phone calls, facilitated coverage in Rap Pages and were able to parlay the Casual versus Saafir battle into a recurring segment on the Wake Up Show. So while the battle didn’t necessarily help sell albums, the registers definitely kept ringing.

Battle: Common vs. Ice Cube

Key Songs: “I Used To Love H.E.R.” - Common [Resurrection], “The Bitch In Yoo” - Common [No album], “Westside Slaughterhouse” - Westside Connection (Ice Cube, Mack 10 and WC) [Mack 10].

Common’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Resurrection peaked at #179 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a two-week run on the chart.

Mack 10’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: While the beef was primarily between Common and Cube, “Westside Slaughterhouse” appeared on Mack 10’s self-titled debut. The eponymous Mack 10 peaked at #33 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 19-week run on the chart. On September 12, 1995, the RIAA certified Mack 10 as gold.

Battle: Kurupt vs. DMX

Key Songs: “Callin’ Out Names” - Kurupt [Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha],  “Party Up” - DMX [...And Then There Was X]

Kurupt’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha peaked at #179 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a two-week run on the chart.

DMX’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: ...And Then There Was X peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 74-week run on the chart. On February 7, 2001, the RIAA certified ...And Then There Was X as five times platinum.

Battle: Gucci Mane vs. Jeezy 

Key Songs: “Icy” - Gucci Mane [Trap House], “Stay Strapped” - Jeezy [Da Bottom Vol. 5], “Round One” - Gucci Mane [No album], “745” - Gucci Mane [Chicken Talk], “24, 23” - Jeezy [No album], “Truth” - Gucci Mane [No album] “Respect Me” - Gucci Mane f. Rick Ross [Large On Da Streets 28]

Gucci Mane’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Trap House peaked at #101 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a seven-week run on the chart.

Jeezy’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Oddly enough, the fact two of Jeezy’s most notable Gucci diss tracks don’t appear on albums is part of the back story between these two Atlanta-based [t]rappers. The beef was partially spawned by “Icy” not appearing on Jeezy’s Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101. For what it’s worth Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 peaked at #2 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 47-week run on the chart. On September 29, 2005, the RIAA certified Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 as platinum. Similarly, “24, 23” was slated to appear on Jeezy’s retail album TM:103 Hustlerz Ambition, but it did not. The project peaked at #3 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 36-week run on the chart. On January 31, 2012 the RIAA certified TM:103 Hustlerz Ambition as gold.

Battle: 50 Cent vs. Game

Key Songs: “Hate It Or Love It” - Game [The Documentary],  “Window Shopper” - 50 Cent [Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ Soundtrack], “Piggy Bank” - 50 Cent [The Massacre], “Outta Control” - Mobb Deep [Blood Money], “One Blood Remix” - Game [Doctor’s Advocate], “300 Bars and Runnin’” - Game [No album]

50 Cent’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: The Massacre peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 57-week run on the chart. On February 6, 2012 the RIAA certified Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ as six times platinum.

Game’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: The Documentary peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 35-week run on the chart. The Doctor’s Advocate also peaked at #1 on the Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 20-week run. On April 24, 2008, Billboard magazine cited Nielsen SoundScan statistics reporting Game’s The Doctor’s Advocate sold 969,000 copies. On January 18, 2005 the RIAA certified The Documentary as double platinum.

Battle: 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule

Key Tracks: “Life’s On The Line” - 50 Cent [Get Rich or Die Tryin’], “Wanksta” - 50 Cent [No Mercy, No Fear & Get Rich or Die Tryin’], “Clap Back” - Ja Rule [Blood In My Eye], “So Hot” - Ja Rule [No album], “Back Down” - 50 Cent [Get Rich or Die Tryin’]

50 Cent’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Get Rich or Die Tryin’ peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a  94 week run on the chart. On December 9, 2003 the RIAA certified Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ as six times platinum.

Ja Rule’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Blood In My Eye peaked at #6 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 10-week run on the chart.

Battle: DJ Quik vs. MC Eiht

Key Tracks: “Dollaz N Sense” - DJ Quik [Murder was the Case Soundtrack /Safe+Sound], “Def Wish II,” - Compton’s Most Wanted [Music To Driveby], “Def Wish III” - MC Eiht [We Come Strapped]

DJ Quik’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Murder Was The Case (The Soundtrack) peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 34-week run on the chart. On April 5, 1995, Murder Was The Case (The Soundtrack) was certified double platinum.

Comton’s Most Wanted RIAA/Billboard Impact: Music To Driveby peaked at #66 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a nine-week run on the chart.

MC Eiht’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: We Come Strapped peaked at #5 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 14-week run on the chart. On September 29, 1994, the RIAA certified We Come Strapped as gold.

Battle: Ice Cube vs. N.W.A

Key Tracks: “Alwayz Into Somethin’,” “A Message To B.A. (Interlude)” - N.W.A [Niggaz4Life], “No Vaseline” - Ice Cube [Death Certificate]

Ice Cube’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Death Certificate peaked at #2 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 33-week run on the chart. On October 21, 1991, the RIAA certified Death Certificate as platinum.

N.W.A’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Niggaz4Life peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart. On August 8, 1991 the RIAA certified Niggaz4Life as platinum.

Battle: KRS-One vs. MC Shan

Key Tracks: “The Bridge” - MC Shan [Down By Law],“The Bridge Is Over” - Boogie Down, Productions [Criminal Minded], “South Bronx” - Boogie Down Productions [Criminal Minded], “Kill That Noise”- MC Shan [Down by Law], “Juice Crew Law” - MC Shan [Born To Be Wild], “Blackman In Effect” - Boogie Down Productions [Edutainment]

BDP’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: N/A. This album was released before Nielsen began tracking SoundScan’s data in 1991

MC Shan’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: N/A. This album was released before Nielsen began tracking SoundScan’s data in 1991.

Battle: Tupac vs. Notorious B.I.G.

Key Tracks: “No More Pain” - Tupac [All Eyez On Me], “Hit ‘Em Up” - Tupac [How Do You Want It Maxi-Single], “Long Kiss Goodnight” - Notorious B.I.G. [Life After Death]

Notorious B.I.G’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Life After Death peaked at the #1 spot on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 80-week run on the chart. On March 25, 1997 the RIAA certified Life After Death as 10 times platinum.

Tupac’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: All Eyez On Me peaked at the #1 spot on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 105-week run on the chart. The How Do You Want It maxi-single featuring “How Do You Want It,” “California Love” and “Hit ‘Em Up” peaked at the #1 spot on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” singles chart during a 24-week run on the chart. On June 18, 1998, the RIAA certified All Eyez On Me as nine times platinum. The Don Killuminati (The 7 Day Theory) peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 Albums chart during a span that lasted over 331 weeks. On June 15, 1999, the RIAA certified The Don Killuminati (The 7 Day Theory) as four times platinum.

Battle: Foxy Brown vs. Lil Kim

Key Tracks: “Bang Bang” - Capone N Noreaga (feat. Foxy Brown) [The Reunion], “Guess Who’s Back” - Lil Kim [No album], “Quiet Storm Remix” - Mobb Deep (feat. Lil Kim) [Murda Muzik], “Massacre” - Foxy Brown [No album]

Mobb Deep’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Murda Muzik peaked at #3 spot on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 17-week run on the chart. On October 26, 1999 the RIAA certified Murda Muzik as platinum.

Capone-N-Noreaga’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: The Reunion peaked at #31 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 14-week span.

Battle: Nicki Minaj vs. Lil Kim 

Key Songs: “Black Friday” - Lil Kim [Black Friday], “Roman’s Revenge” - Nicki Minaj [Pink Friday].

Lil Kim’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Black Friday did not chart on any of Billboard magazine’s charts. In February of 2011, Lil’ Kim claimed to sell 113,000 copies of Black Friday through PayPal in 28 hours, setting an all-time record. These numbers were never verified through PayPal.

Nicki Minaj’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 49-week run on the chart. On April 03, 2012 the RIAA certified Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded as platinum.

Battle: Three 6 Mafia vs. Bone thugs-n-harmony

Key Songs: “Live By Yo Rep”- Three 6 Mafia [Mystic Stylez], “Notorious Thugs” - Notorious B.I.G. [Life After Death], “All Original” - Bone thugs-n-harmony [The Art Of War], “Look Into My Eyes” - Bone thugs-n-harmony [The Art Of War]

Three 6 Mafia’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Mystic Stylez did not chart on any of Billboard magazine’s charts. It has no RIAA certification.

Notorious B.I.G’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: Life After Death peaked at the #1 spot on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 80-week run on the chart. On March 25, 1997 the RIAA certified Life After Death as 10 times platinum.

Bone thugs-n-harmony’s RIAA/Billboard Impact: The Art Of War peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 albums chart during a 32-week run on the chart. On July 17, 1998 the RIAA certified The Art Of War as four-times platinum.

 

Victoria Hernandez is a journalism student at the University of Miami. She started listening to Hip Hop in high school and has been obsessed ever since. Her music news career began at the South Florida Arts Review. She has also written sports for CaneInsider.com and The Miami Hurricane amongst others. Follow her on Twitter @vrhernandez116.

Christopher Cole is a native of Rancho Cucamonga, CA (Yes, from Next Friday), and he studies Film and Television Production at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He is an aspiring screenwriter, Kanye West defender, Netflix binge watcher, and has written for Washington Square News. Follow him at @ChrisCole95.

 

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