Diss tracks that shook music to its core

Diss tracks that shook music to its core

by Robyn Pullen
5 min

In the wake of Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj’s lyrical beef playing out on the Billboard 100 List, we’re taking a look at some of the most iconic, dramatic, and outrageous diss tracks ever released. From Tupac Shakur to Mariah Carey, you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of these lyrics. Let’s get into it.

Megan Thee Stallion “Hiss” (2024)

Despite making reference to Mariah Carey, Kris Jenner, Drake, and Tory Lanez on her latest single, it seems that Nicki Minaj took personal offence to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hiss,” releasing a retaliation in the form of her own single, “Big Foot.” The line from “Hiss” that people believe had Nicki Minaj so riled reads, “These h*es don’t be mad at Megan / These h*es mad at Megan’s Law,” supposing that, without even hearing her name mentioned, Nicki Minaj assumed this was directed at her own family members. But as Megan said herself in an interview last week, “I’m saying, a hit dog gon’ holler. That’s it. Whoever feel it, feel it.” Basically, if the shoe fits, wear it.

2Pac “Hit Em Up” (1996) 

2Pac was known for his ability to roast in rhyme and, arguably one of the most infamous diss tracks of all time, his 1996 track “Hit Em Up” did so with ease. Targeted at rappers Bad Boy, Mobb Deep, and Chino XL, the track encapsulates almost the entirety of the East Coast vs. West Coast beef in 5 minutes and 12 seconds. And the intro alone sets a precedent that 2Pac would not be holding back, with the line “I ain’t got no motherf***in’ friends.” He definitely didn’t after dropping this song. 

Mariah Carey “Obsessed” (2009)

From potential power-couple to mortal enemies, Mariah Carey and Eminem’s alleged relationship (alleged by him, and denied by her) is the subject of multiple diss tracks, but one of the most iconic was Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed,” released in June 2009. Not only were her lyrics obviously addressed to Eminem, with lines like “Got you all fired up with your Napoleon complex” ridiculing his height, but the music video also featured Mariah herself dressed as her “stalker,” in an outfit that resembled something Eminem would wear. The lyric “I don’t even know who you are,” pretty much summarises how she felt about him alleging their relationship.

Eminem “The Warning” (2009)

Only one month after Mariah Carey released “Obsessed,” Eminem clapped back with his retaliation in the form of “The Warning.” Opening with the lines “Only reason I dissed you in the first place / Is ‘cause you denied seeing me, now I’m pissed off,” Eminem gets straight to the point, before threatening to release voicemails recorded by Mariah that prove their six month relationship. He also addressed Mariah Carey’s imitation of him in the “Obsessed” music video in the line “Oh gee, is that supposed to be me in the video with the goatee?”

Justin Timberlake “Give It To Me” (2007)

Maybe the most random diss track on this list came from Justin Timberlake and was directed at none other than… Prince. It came after Prince made an offhand comment at the 2006 Emmy Awards that “For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left,” and JT, realising it was in reference to his single “SexyBack,” took that personally. When collaborating on Timberland’s 2007 track “Give It to Me,” Timberlake’s grudge revealed itself in his verse which appeared to be entirely directed at Prince. Lines like “Now if sexy never left, then why is everybody on my sh*t? / Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it,” weren’t exactly subtle. Despite this, Prince remained unbothered.

Featured image via @megantheestallion©

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