The 8 Greatest Diss Tracks of All Time
Diss tracks — songs with lyrics that roast an MC’s enemies so bad — transcend genre. Many pop singers have recorded (and made millions off of) songs insulting their famous peers. We have all, at some point, danced to a song that ruined someone’s life. Here are eight diss tracks that shaped the face of music forever. (Be careful of some NSFW lyrics, if that’s a thing you have to be careful of.)
1. Jay-Z – “Takeover”
Jay-Z eviscerated fellow East Coast rapper Nas on this classic track where he insults Nas’ album sales, street cred, and skill. And to top it all off, he does it all over a David Bowie sample.
2. Nas – “Ether”
But Nas would strike back at Jay-Z, and strike back hard. He methodically dissects and destroys every aspect of Jay-Z’s life and career. “Ether” is one of the most famous diss tracks of all time, but while Nas is generally accepted as the winner of this particular beef, Jay-Z sorta won the fight overall by selling more albums and making more money. It all depends what your definition of winning is. Personally, I could have done without the homophobia but I guess you don’t come to diss tracks looking for social consciousness.
3. Remy Ma – “ShETHER”
Remy Ma took shots at Nicki Minaj over the track of Nas’ classic “Ether”, and her version lives up to the name. For seven whole minutes, Remy gets vicious and personal. The best line might be when she basically calls Nicki a wimp and makes fun of her for getting butt injections: “Talking ’bout bringing knives/ To a fight with guns/ When the only shot you ever took/ Was in your buns!” She accuses Nicki of cheating on her boyfriends, ghostwriting her lyrics, and even popping her butt implants. It’s next level.
4. Biggie Smalls – “Kick in the Door”
“Kick in the Door” is one of the most well-known diss tracks of all time, in which Biggie calls out Wu-Tang Clan and and Nas and basically everyone, even the audience. Only Biggie could take on the entire world.
5. Destiny’s Child – “Survivor”
After Michelle Williams joined Destiny’s Child, the group wanted to make it clear to their former members that they really didn’t need them. Beyoncé wrote “Survivor” to LeToya, LaTavia, and Farrah to let them know they’d be just fine without them, despite that being completely obvious to anyone who ever listened to a Destiny’s Child song or watched one of their music videos. And this diss track was pretty effective, seeing as how LeToya and LaTavia sued over it.
6. Justin Timberlake – “Cry Me a River”
I’m a huge Britney fan, way more than Justin, but even I have to admit that this breakup diss track is vicious and catchy as all hell. The world learned that Britney cheated and Justin wasn’t looking to forgive her any time soon. You could even say he went over the top with the Britney lookalike, but this song and video meant that he basically won the feud.
7. Taylor Swift – “Bad Blood”
Taylor Swift definitely wins an award for most epic diss track over something so silly. She wrote a bad-ass revenge anthem and a video full of ass-kicking super hotties, slamming Katy Perry for… hiring some of Taylor’s backup dancers while they were supposed to be on Taylor’s tour. Ooh! No slight is too small for Taylor to write a jam about!
8. Logan Paul – “The Fall of Jake Paul”
We couldn’t make a list of great diss tracks without including one song from the epic diss track battle of 2017, the fight between the Paul brothers. Jake started the fight, but Logan ended it with “The Fall of Jake Paul”, which shows off his modest rapping skills that are undoubtedly better than Jake’s. The line, “Let’s talk about the garbage that you call a song” is a perfect description of Jake’s anthem “It’s Everyday Bro”. Have I just outed myself as part of the Logang? Yeah, I guess I did.
Which diss track do you think hit the hardest? Tweet at me and let me know @erikaheidewald!