Ranking 15 of the greatest Hip Hop diss tracks of all time

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Tupac Shakur (Image via X/@2PAC)
Tupac Shakur (Image via X/@2PAC)

Hip Hop has had a long history of rap beef and diss tracks which stems from the competitive nature of this art form. There have been examples where backing down, or just being 'out rhymed' by an opponent has had a significant negative impact on an artist's career, with many rappers fading into obscurity after losing a rap battle.

Several rappers have made a career and brand around themselves as "Battle rappers" with their entire discography revolving around beefing and taking shots at other, usually more popular, artists and MCs.

The idea of beefing did lose a lot of credibility with artists faking their beef and fabricating a diss war in hopes of capitalizing on the drama feud, with even popular YouTubers jumping onto the trend notably the 2018 Sidemen Diss War that generated millions of views. Check out Wroetoshaw's hilarious diss track that garnered over 70 million views on YouTube.

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Throughout Hip Hop history, artists have been consistently finding ways to not only raise the stakes but also provide massive entertainment to their audiences. This led many rappers to break past personal barriers to disrespect their opponents in a twisted kind of no-hold-barred showdown.

Note: This article is subjective and reflects the writer's opinion.


Top 15 Hip Hop diss tracks

With the world still reeling from Drake and Kendrick Lamar's iconic rap beef, here's a list of the 15 greatest hip-hop diss tracks of all time.


15) Super Ugly - Jay-Z's diss track

A picture of Jay-Z's 2001 single 'Super Ugly' printed onto a CD (Image via genius.com)
A picture of Jay-Z's 2001 single 'Super Ugly' printed onto a CD (Image via genius.com)
  • Released in: 2001
  • Produced by: Dr. Dre and Megahertz
  • Targetted at: Nas

Jay-Z's rushed response, to Nas's Ether, on the 2001 single titled Super Ugly was cited by many as the moment Jay lost the rap beef.

Looking back at this track it's clear the Blueprint rapper had a lot to get off his chest and did so with extreme disrespect to Nas, his Baby Mama (Carmen Bryan), and his daughter (Destiny). He later apologised for his words claiming he was trying to match Nas's level of derision.


14) F**k Compton - Tim Dog

Tim Dog's record titled 'F**k Compton' (Image via Spotify)
Tim Dog's record titled 'F**k Compton' (Image via Spotify)
  • Released in: 1991
  • Produced by: Ced-Gee
  • Targeted at: N.W.A, Compton, West Coast Gangster Rap
  • Album: Penicillin on Wax

Tim Dog was an American rapper from the Bronx, New York (East Coast), who made a massive career out of his diss track F**k Compton.

The diss track aimed at the newly emerging West Coast rap scene and fired shots in every direction, sparking the West vs East Coast rap beef. The late rapper starts his second Verse on F**k Compton by dissing Eazy E, claiming he'll "crush" Ice Cube, and wishing to beat up Dr. Dre.


13) Like That - Kendrick Lamar's verse

The official album cover for Metro Boomin and Future's album 'We Don't Trust You' (Image via Instagram/@metroboomin)
The official album cover for Metro Boomin and Future's album 'We Don't Trust You' (Image via Instagram/@metroboomin)
  • Released in: 2024
  • Produced by: Metro Boomin
  • Targeted at: Drake and J. Cole
  • Album: We Don't Trust You

Drake vs Kendrick Lamar's beef ignited with a single line on K-Dot's verse from Like That, where he disrespects Drizzy and J. Cole over an aggressive Metro Boomin production.

Kendrick makes fun of comparisons the 6ix God drew between himself and Michael Jackson. K-Dot asserts himself as the greatest while disrespecting the "Big 3" ideology from J. Cole's verse on Drake's First Person Shooter.


12) 7 Minute Drill - J. Cole

The official mixtape cover for J. Cole's 'Might Delete Later' (Image via Instagram/@realcoleworld)
The official mixtape cover for J. Cole's 'Might Delete Later' (Image via Instagram/@realcoleworld)
  • Released in: 2024
  • Produced by: T-Minus, Conductor Williams, Al Hug, and Elyas
  • Targeted at: Kendrick Lamar
  • Mixtape: MIGHT DELETE LATER

J. Cole dropped 7 Minute Drill as a "warning shot" to Kendrick Lamar, because of the latter's verse on Like That. Cole takes aim at Kendrick's discography, rap status, and accomplishments.

Acting as a notable moment during the Drake vs Kendrick beef, given that less than 48 hours after dropping his diss track J. Cole would publicly apologize to Kendrick Lamar. And much like the title of the mixtape, delete the record from all streaming services.


11) Real Muthaphuckkin' G's - Eazy E

Eazy E's record titled 'Real Muthaphuckkin G's' (Image via Spotify)
Eazy E's record titled 'Real Muthaphuckkin G's' (Image via Spotify)
  • Released in: 1993
  • Produced by: Rhythm D
  • Featuring: Dresta and B.G. Knocc Out
  • Targeted at: Death Row Records, Dr. Dre
  • Album: It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa

It's been well documented that Eazy E held major contempt against Dre for ditching Ruthless to start his own label, Death Row Records, alongside Suge Knight.

E wasn't too happy either when Snoop and Dre dropped shots aimed at him on the song F**k wit Dre Day. The Ruthless CEO responded by highlighting how even though Dre left Ruthless Records, Eazy continues to make money on the 'Doctor's' work given pre-existing contractual obligations.


10) The Sauce - Eminem

The official album cover for Eminem's 'Invasion: Shady Times' LP (Image via genius.com)
The official album cover for Eminem's 'Invasion: Shady Times' LP (Image via genius.com)
  • Released in: 2002
  • Produced by: Eminem
  • Targeted at: Benzino, The Source, Dave Mays
  • Album: Invasion: Shady Times

Eminem dropped The Sauce as one of the four diss tracks on the Invasion: Shady Times LP. Each of these tracks was aimed at Benzino and his formerly-owned magazine, The Source, for supposedly stating Eminem has an advantage over other artists because of his racial ethnicity.

On the diss track, Slim Shady highlights why he no longer rates The Source and its music review section (The Record Report), saying how he grew up looking through these pages calling it a 'source of light.'

Eminem then expresses how The Source is just a highly opinionated magazine, citing that since people realized this, it lost all its credibility. He even alludes to Benzino behaving like a power-hungry dictator, slowly losing control of his company.


9) F*ck Wit Dre Day - Dr. Dre

The official album cover for Dr. Dre's 1992 album 'The Chronic' (Image via genius.com)
The official album cover for Dr. Dre's 1992 album 'The Chronic' (Image via genius.com)
  • Released in: 1992
  • Produced by: Dr. Dre
  • Targeted at: Eazy-E, Tim Dog, Ruthless Records, Luther Campbell
  • Album: The Chronic

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg came together to drop the West Coast banger F**k Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin'), which serves as a response to Tim Dog's F**k Compton record and Luke Campbell's (Luke Skyywalker) Fakin' Like Gangstas single.

Dre takes clear shots at Eazy-E, Jerry Heller (manager), and Ruthless Records, citing illegal dealings were the reason for their fallout. The diss track music video goes deeper after Dre and Snoop hire lookalikes to play Eazy and Jerry, skyrocketing the record into the Top 10 on Billboards Hot 100 chart.


8) Back To Back - Drake

Drake's record titled 'Back To Back' (Image via Spotify)
Drake's record titled 'Back To Back' (Image via Spotify)
  • Released in: 2015
  • Produced by: Daxz, 40, Drake & NAV
  • Targeted at: Meek Mill

Drake and Meek Mill's beef officially ended after Drizzy hit the Philadelphia rapper with Back To Back, the second diss track to address the 'Ghostwriting' claims Meek consistently brought up throughout their beef.

Many claimed Drake won after Back To Back was released, given Meek never responded and the fact this single became the first diss track to be nominated for a Grammy award.


7) Killshot - Eminem

The official single cover for Eminem's 'Killshot' (Image via YouTube/@eminem)
The official single cover for Eminem's 'Killshot' (Image via YouTube/@eminem)
  • Released in: 2018
  • Produced by: IllaDaProducer
  • Targeted at: Machine Gun Kelly (MGK)

Not long after MGK dropped a surprise diss track taking shots at Eminem for being a 'washed rapper,' the Detroit legend hit back with an extremely disrespectful record titled Killshot.

Throughout the diss track, he makes it clear that his goal is to destroy MGK's career with a fatal blow to his skill as an MC. In hindsight, Eminem seemed to achieve his objective since Kelly would eventually transition into Punk Rock music, finding greater success with his projects there than he did while making Hip Hop music.


6) The Story of Adidon - Pusha T

Pusha T's record titled 'The Story of Adidon' (Image via Spotify)
Pusha T's record titled 'The Story of Adidon' (Image via Spotify)
  • Released in: 2018
  • Produced by: No I.D. and JAY-Z
  • Targeted at: Drake

Drake and Pusha T's back and forth came to a screeching halt when Push dropped The Story Of Adidon, filled with insane revelations about Aubrey Graham's (Drake) personal life.

Pusha T would cause the biggest drama spur Hip Hop had seen in years by announcing to the world that Drake had fathered a secret son (Adonis Graham). Pusha claimed Drake was holding out on announcing his child's existence because he supposedly wished to use Adonis in an "Adidas press run," calling Aubrey a deadbeat father.


5) Not Like Us - Kendrick Lamar

The official single cover for Not Like Us (Image via YouTube/@kendricklamar)
The official single cover for Not Like Us (Image via YouTube/@kendricklamar)
  • Released in: 2018
  • Produced by: DJ Mustard
  • Targeted at: Drake

Kendrick Lamar unexpectedly dropped one of the biggest diss tracks of the year with the DJ Mustard-assisted production Not Like Us. The track is bursting with infectious West Coast energy, which he capitalizes on with bouncy deliveries over bars filled with crazy allegations.


4) No Vaseline - Ice Cube

The official album cover for Ice Cube's 1991 album 'Death Certificate' (Image via genius.com)
The official album cover for Ice Cube's 1991 album 'Death Certificate' (Image via genius.com)
  • Released in: 1991
  • Produced by: Sir Jinx & Ice Cube
  • Targeted at: N.W.A, Ruthless Records, Jerry Heller
  • Album: Death Certificate

Ice Cube and N.W.A parted ways once the rapper claimed he wasn't being financially compensated for his work. The collective would later diss Cube on two projects, which resulted in Ice dropping the slur-filled No Vaseline on his second studio album Death Certificate.

Cube spends most of the record calling out individual members of the N.W.A, before specifically targeting Eazy-E and N.W.A manager Jerry Heller for running a supposed fraudulent business.


3) Takeover - Jay-Z

The official album cover for Jay-Z's 2001 album 'The Blueprint' (Image via YouTube/@jayzslifeandtimes)
The official album cover for Jay-Z's 2001 album 'The Blueprint' (Image via YouTube/@jayzslifeandtimes)
  • Released in: 2001
  • Produced by: Kanye West
  • Targeted at: Nas, Prodigy
  • Album: The Blueprint

Jay-Z's response to Nas's Stillmatic Freestyle easily breaks into the "Top 3 Best Diss Tracks" of all time because of how creative Jay got with each bar.

Hov dropped insane allegations against Nas's personal life and career by claiming he slept with his baby's mother (Carmen) while insulting him for falling off. Jay goes bar for bar over a Kanye West composition that samples The Doors' 5 to 1 and KRS-One’s Sound of Da Police.


2) Ether - Nas

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  • Released in: 2001
  • Produced by: Ron Browz
  • Targeted at: Jay-Z
  • Album: Stillmatic

Nas hit back with the infamous Ether, which gained notoriety for being so devasting that it immortalized itself as a popular term in Hip Hop history. The slang word means extreme public humiliation.

Nas rips into Hov and Rockafella Records on this track with crazy insinuations which include calling out Jay-Z for supposedly rehashing B.I.G lyrics on many songs. He even goes on to call Hov a 'stan,' referring to him as his son who learned everything about Hip Hop through Nasir's legacy.


1) Hit Em Up - Tupac Shakur

  • Released in: 1996
  • Produced by: Johnny J
  • Featuring: Outlawz
  • Targeted at: The Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, Diddy, Lil Kim, Chino XL, Junior M.A.F.I.A.
  • Album: How Do U Want It; {Later included on 2pac's posthumous album 'Greatest Hits'}

The best diss track to ever be dropped in the history of Hip Hop was 2Pac's Hit Em Up. The West Coast vs East Coast war was pushed to its very breaking point after this record was released, given the allegations and claims of violence that fueled the diss track.

Tupac recruited the entire Outlawz group to diss every major rapper and record label from the East Coast, throwing shade at their personal life, family, discography, hometown, city, and hood, all while asserting the power dynamic between them (West Coast) and everybody on the "other side".

Tupac's outro is likely one of the most threatening responses ever received on a diss track, leading many to believe his aggression was taken as a serious threat by East Coast gangs. The claim stems from the fact that Tupac Shakur was tragically shot dead in Los Angeles only a few months after Hit Em Up was released.


Tupac's diss track reigns supreme on the list for being the only record in hip-hop history to have caused mass concern over a potential war between two rappers.

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Edited by Ameen Fatima
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