By Jeff Rosenthal
The other day, Kendrick Lamar took his guest verse on Big Sean’s “Control” as an opportunity to casually invite all his friends to fight to the death: “I’m usually homeboys with the same n***as I’m rhymin’ with / But this is hip-hop and them n***as should know what time it is / And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale / Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake / Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller / I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you n***as / Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you n***as / They dont wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you n***as . . .”
Kendrick’s verse is technically more of a healthy competitive challenge between friends than an actual threat. But it got us thinking about the greatest rap beefs ever, from the deeply silly to the all-too-serious. Here’s our definitive countdown:
10. Eminem vs. The Source
How could something so one-sided be so enjoyable? Benzino, a two-bit Boston rapper-slash-editor, somehow held a lot of influence at The Source magazine. In 1999, he promoted his group’s Made Men album with full-page ads in the magazine and a rave review. Conflict of interest alert! Benzino made things even worse for himself when he attacked Eminem on dubious racial grounds. Em came down on him like a combat boot on an ant with “Nail in the Coffin” and “The Sauce,” where he chuckled while imagining Benzino being held out of a window. The beef continued for a while after that, but in the end Benzino was a total laughingstock and Eminem was still Eminem.