This year saw its fair share of beef, controversy and rumors. Equally so, 2011 saw some members of Hip Hop elite taking their careers and the culture to new heights.

On the beef tip, Lil Wayne dedicated a salty verse on “It’s Good” to taking down Jay-Z for those Baby shots on “H.A.M.,” while Fabolous and Ray J swung fists at one another over comments that the former made on Twitter. Ludacris even got in on the action, dissing Drake and Big Sean for failing to give credit for pioneering the “Supa Dupa” flow.

Tragically, we lost several members of the community this year including Nate Dogg, Heavy D and, most recently, Slim Dunkin. But on the bright side, Jay-Z and Kanye West managed to put out one of the most successful Hip Hop albums of the year, breaking Coldplay’s previous iTunes record for the highest selling first week sales. Even Dr. Dre came close to dropping his oft-delayed Detox, but instead decided to take the other route and announce his hiatus from the game.

HipHopDX assembled its top 10 most trafficked news stories of 2011. Check below to see what articles made top rank.

Lil Wayne Disses Jay-Z On “It’s Good” Featuring Jadakiss & Drake

Though he only released his diss track “It’s Good” in August, Lil Wayne ended up scoring the most viewed news story on HipHopDX in 2011. On the cut, Weezy took Hov to task for that “baby money” jab on “H.A.M.,” tossing out extra sharp barbs at his frienemy on the cut, which also featured Jadakiss and Drake. “Talkin’ ‘bout baby money, I gotcha baby money / Kidnap your bitch get that how much you love your lady money,” threatened Weezy of Mrs. Beyonce Carter. The Roc Nation boss later responded to the track in October, downplaying the beef as “sport” and chalking it up to simply being “rap music.” “Nothing is going to change but the participants. I don’t even see why that’s news,” he replied. 

Fabolous & Ray J Engage In A Brawl In Las Vegas, Nevada 

The battle between Fabolous and Ray J came out of nowhere. Loso had been poking fun at Brandy’s brother on Twitter back in September (“Nigga Ray J doin a concert in his living room,” “Nah but Floyd [Mayweather] saying we havin a concert in my living room & the camera cuts to Ray J singing ‘One Wish’ on the piano had me in tears!!”). The two bumped into each other in Las Vegas, Nevada, resulting in a physical fight and Ray J in handcuffs. The R&B singer apologized for his behavior shortly after, while footage of a bruised Fabolous surfaced the next day. Both artists haven’t revisited the beef since.

Lil B Releases “I’m Gay (I’m Happy),” Sends Shockwaves Through Hip Hop

Lil B stirred up some controversy in Hip Hop back in April after announcing that his new album would be titled I’m Gay, attempting to prove how words can have a strong impact but be relatively meaningless. The title earned him both revere and jeer: the Bay Area rapper faced death threats, but was praised by contemporaries including Lupe Fiasco. He inevitably caved into the pressure and added “(I’m Happy)” to the album name, undercutting the initial impact of the LP’s title. Lil B ended up releasing I’m Gay (I’m Happy) to digital retail as well as for free in July, but the album failed to make an impact on the charts.

Ludacris Disses Drake & Big Sean On “Badaboom,” Eliciting Responses From Both

Big Sean and Drake spent a good part of 2011 talking to the press about who pioneered what Sean dubbed the “Supa Dupa” flow, notable for one-word punch lines at the end of a sentence. Ludacris didn’t take kindly to their assertion of ownership over the rhyme style, prompting him to record a diss track titled “Badaboom,” released in November. The following day, the G.O.O.D. Music rapper responded to Luda, stating that “I ain’t got no problems with Luda, I never did” and sharing respect for him. Drake didn’t take the high road, tweeting to Big Sean, “You awlready [sic] know. I wish they’d just let young niggas live…respect always.”

Nate Dogg Dies After Suffering Complications From Strokes

On March 15th, one of Hip Hop’s most iconic singers suddenly passed away at the age of 41. The former Death Row crooner had suffered from two strokes in 2007 and ’08. His family later revealed that complications from the strokes had led to his death. Members of the Hip Hop community, including Daz Dillinger, Shade Sheist and Ice-T, shared memories with fans, while associates including DJ Quik, DJ Premier and Snoop Dogg performed live tributes to the fallen soldier.

Clayton Hill Confesses To Being An Accessory After The Fact To The Murder Of The Notorious B.I.G.

HipHopDX broke one of the biggest news stories in Hip Hop this year, when former Nation of Islam member and currently incarcerated felon Clayton Hill confessed to being an accessory after the fact to the murder of the Notorious B.I.G. In June, he revealed that fellow N.O.I. member Dawoud Muhammad said he was on the run for Biggie’s murder, for which he was allegedly paid $25,000. Clayton was asked to deliver the gun used in the shooting and followed suit. DX later published the full interview with Hill in July, where he spoke on his criminal past and revealed how he became involved in the murder of Biggie.

Jay-Z & Kanye West’s Watch The Throne Breaks iTunes Sales Record

Jay-Z and Kanye West unleashed their collaborative LP Watch the Throne this past August, dodging a pre-release leak and dropping the album to iTunes first. While other stories about the album including album trailers and tour dates made top rank, their breaking of the iTunes sales record was the top article surrounding the LP. Shortly after its release, Watch the Throne broke sales record for the online store, becoming the highest selling album in the store’s history for first-week sales after moving 290,000 copies. Less than a month later, Lil Wayne ended up breaking that record by selling 300,000 copies in its first four days.

Dr. Dre’s Detox Announced For July 26th, Fails To Release

Dr. Dre promised that 2011 would be the year that Detox finally arrived, but the Good Doctor didn’t keep his word. Dre’s biggest news story of the year, and one of DX’s highest ranking articles for ’11, was when HMV put up his oft-delayed third album on their site for pre-order. The LP was allegedly slated to release on July 25th in the UK, meaning it would drop in the States a day later. Not the case, as we later learned. The West Coast veteran later said that he plans on taking a break from the music industry, putting Detox in even deeper limbo.

V-Nasty Explains Her Use Of The N-Word

V-Nasty came on the scene as Kreayshawn’s sidekick, drawing attention from the Hip Hop community for gratuitously throwing around the N-word. Her use of the epithet was defended by Mistah F.A.B., but generally attacked by most. “On some real nigga shit…how I really feel about these motherfuckers talking about, ‘Why is V-Nasty saying the N-Word?’ you motherfuckers have never walked in my shoes, bruh,” responded the White Girl Mob member to critics, which included David Banner. She later vowed to stop using the N-word, and hasn’t broken her promise since.

Jewell Explains Her Book’s Claims About Tupac’s Death & Dr. Dre’s Sexuality

The former first lady of Death Row Records Jewell resurfaced in September, giving a candid interview to HipHopDX about a few rumors. During our conversation, Jewell Caples explained her history with the house that Suge Knight built, her dream about Tupac’s murder and, most controversially, Dr. Dre’s sexuality. She said that she wasn’t exactly convinced that he wasn’t gay, but teased by stating that her book My Blood, My Sweat and My Tears revealed the truth.