A brief history for each of Eminem's 12 disses from his "12 Days of Diss-Mas" Shade 45 episode.
The holidays are about giving, and when you happen to be Eminem, that includes rap beefs. On Christmas Day, the rapper, with the help of DJ Whoo Kid and Paul Rosenberg ran through "12 Days of Diss-mas" on Shade 45, counting down 12 of his favorite all-time rap diss tracks. It turned into a hip-hop time machine as the trio unwrapped infamous beef tracks for listeners, taking listeners back to the old school as they focused on songs from before the year 2000 – excluding “Takeover,” “Back to Back” and plenty of Eminem’s own disses too.
For the uninitiated, or anyone born after the year 1990, we're here to help explain the significance behind Em's twelve diss track pics. Scroll down to learn a bit of hip-hop history.
What'd you think of Eminem's list? Sound off in the comments.
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12. Boogie Down Productions – “The Bridge Is Over” (1987)
Among the earliest disses on this list, this beef involved two rap crews arguing over the birthplace of hip-hop(!). with Boogie Down Productions, representing the Bronx, effectively taking Queensbridge MC Shan's "The Bridge” and scribbling all over it. KRS-One had enough smoke for the entire Juice Crew, including Marley Marl, BDK and Roxanne Shante, and was savage enough to go for their Puma sneakers.
11. Roxanne Shanté – “Roxanne’s Revenge” (1984)
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Entirely improvised and recorded at the age of 14, Roxanne Shante was the Queen of the Juice Crew. She wound up with a major hit on her hands in the form of "Roxanne's Revenge," which itself was made in response to UTFO's "Roxanne, Roxanne." "Roxanne, Roxanne," a B-side record, was a song about a girl who wasn’t feeling any of the dudes trying to hit her up. Roxanne adopted UTFO's female character and doled out a response to UTFO. She became one of the first extremely popular female MCs at the time with this record.
10. MC Lyte – “10% Diss” (1988)
As the story goes, friends of MC Lyte, including producer Milk Dee and Audio Two, were pissed that female rapper Antoinette’s debut single “I Got An Attitude” sounded somewhat similar to the famed "Top Billin" -- an Audio Two single with production from Milk Dee. The two parties didn't want to diss a female, so they asked Lyte to do it, and evidently, she was up for it. She responded with the huge “10% Dis,” named as such because MC Lyte claimed the song only contained ten percent of what she could have said about Antoinette. The resulting diss sparked a back-and-forth between the two rappers, including songs such as "Lights Out, Party Over," before MC Lyte responded with "Shut The Eff Up! (Hoe)" and effectively ended it.
9. LL Cool J – “Jack The Ripper” (1989)
Pay close attention to the cover to Kool Moe Dee’s How Ya Like Me Now? and you can spot LL Cool J's Kangol caught under the front of the Jeep. Kool Moe was upset at LL for a couple of reasons, ones which sound all-too-familiar: he not only felt LL had stolen his style, he thought that LL was disrespectful of the hip-hop OGs to come before him. The two rappers had a feud that was only just starting to spill onto on wax and “Jack The Ripper” was the boiling point, where LL clearly saw fit to defend himself, likening himself to the infamous Jack the Ripper and calling Kool Moe Dee washed up.
8. N.W.A – “Fuck The Police” (1988)
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A song all too relevant today, thirty years after the release of Straight Outta Compton (though Eminem did try his best to convince Paul Rosenberg and DJ Whoo Kid the diss was actually about the band The Police). The iconic N.W.A record about police brutality and injustice, “Fuck The Police,” sparked outrage after its release. Disapproval for the newly-named "World's Most Dangerous Group" led all the way up to the FBI. Their criticism of the song was soon used by N.W.A. as free publicity, as they sold over three million copies of Straight Outta Compton with little-to-no airplay.
7. Ice Cube – “No Vaseline” (1991)
After Ice Cube left N.W.A. over unpaid royalties, his former bandmates saw fit to take shots while he took the high road. It wasn’t until Dr. Dre called Cube a “Benedict Arnold” that he saw fit to respond with the venomous “No Vaseline,” effectively breaking up N.W.A because how can you respond to something like “Goddamn, I'm glad y'all set it off/ Used to be hard, now you're just wet and soft.”
6. Dr. Dre – “Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebrating)” (1992)
The day Dre (and Snoop Dogg) got back at everyone: Eazy-E, former manager Jerry Heller, rappers Tim Dog, 2 Live Crew’s Luke and even Ice Cube weren’t safe from the smoke. In the end, Dre had the last laugh as the song ended up charting #8 on the Billboard charts and The Chronic, the first album he recorded while under Death Row, quickly went triple platinum.
5. Tim Dog – “Fuck Compton” (1991)
Frustrated at all the attention adorning West Coast rap music, and N.W.A. in particular, Bronx rapper Tim Dog let loose upon an entire city with "Fuck Compton." "Come to New York and we'll see who gets robbed," rapped Tim Dog, indirectly sparking the East Coast-West Coast wars that would kick off only a few years later.
4. Common – “The Bitch In Yoo” (1996)
Ice Cube took offense to certain lines in Common’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” which seemed to blame the West Coast with the decline of rap. He fired back with choice disses in “Westside Slaughterhouse.” But, Ice Cube clearly underestimated Common because he fired back with “The Bich In Yoo,” which tore apart Cube’s credentials, recent music and even dared to end it by quoting Cube’s own lyrics back at him. The Ice Cube-Common beef was bad enough it required Louis Farrakhan to squash it. Years later, the two starred together in a Barbershop sequel, so who really won out in the end?
3. Eazy-E – “Real Muthaphuckkin Gs” (1993)
Eazy-E had the best voice in N.W.A., and he used it to lay waste upon Dre and Snoop Dogg in “Real Muthaphuckkin Gs.” From improving upon Dre’s G-Funk production, to insulting both of them for signing with Death Row and questioning Dre’s past, getting a portion of his royalties was simply the icing upon Eazy’s cake.
2. YZ – “Diss Fe Liar” (1994)
Both YZ and hip-hop group Poor Righteous Teachers were signed by Diversity Records, a label YZ happened to be part owner of. Conflicts and a fight over reels would soon force PRT off Diversity, and when YZ later heard their work (produced by Tony D, who also made beats for YZ), he laid two verses aimed directly at their leader Wise Intelligent for daring to step to him.
1. 2Pac – "Hit ‘Em Up" (1996)
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“Hit ‘Em Up” is still a tough diss to forget. Listening to it now, you can hear Tupac step over the proverbial line and wander into murky territory as he went after Biggie, Diddy and an entire East Coast-- causing even more tension between the two coasts.
“That, I feel like, was the first time I ever heard anybody get that personal on a disc,” Eminem said during the Shade 45 broadcast. “Most of it, the majority was personal, below the belt jabs and shit. But it was done so well and the record was so crazy.