Whether it was with itchy Twitter fingers, on a podcast, or via traditional media outlets, there are plenty of anti-Kanye West sentiments on record – ranging from President Barack Obama to musicians outside of the hip-hop genre like Liam Gallagher and Amy Winehouse – who all couldn’t bite their tongues despite the known backlash it would bring upon them by hoards of West fanboys.
Despite the prevalence of all that vitriol, J. Cole’s “False Prophets” – from his upcoming album, 4 Your Eyez Only – is one of only a handful of actual songs which materialized as a result of the aforementioned displeasure with the outspoken emcee.
Offhanded remarks to the media can be perceived as ill attempts at humor or taken out of context, but a diss record is the ultimate sleight. It takes time, effort, and the foolproof process of writing lyrics, recording them, and then releasing them – a so-called “trifecta of hate.”
For those wanting to compile a soundtrack of Kanye West bashing, these songs – all from varying degrees of emcees – fit the bill.
Song: “Hop is Back”
Key lines: I gotta problem yo’/I was ecstatic to buy Yeezus/But I burned it first, heard it and snapped in 5 pieces/Man, Kanye on that bullshit/That’s why the paparazzi made that n*gga hit his fucking head that’s what that fool get/You think you God now, you half assin’ rap little faggot bitch? Perhaps you suffered brain damage back when you had that accident.
Los Angeles rapper, Hopsin, released “Hop is Back” as one of several singles from his 2013 album, Knock Madness.
While in certain instances rap disses can be more subliminal than intentional, there was no mistaking Hopsin’s intentions with the above lyrics.
“I’m a Kanye West fan,” he told HipHopDX. “I like Kanye West. I like a lot of his old stuff so, you know, it’s not [like I’m not a fan]. But he’s on some bullshit now. He’s on some straight up [bullshit]. I’m not the only one that thinks this but it’s not even about what other people think. I just know what the fuck I think. Yeah, he’s on some bullshit.”
Specifically, he took issue with West’s god-like image of himself – citing “I Am a God” from Yeezus as proof of his enormous ego.
“The Godliness stuff, nah,” he said. “He can do whatever he wants. He’s a human. He’s entitled to do whatever. He can do whatever he wants. So can I, though. So can I. In his mind, he can be like, ‘What the hell? Who’s this cat dissing me, man? He don’t know who I am?’ And I can be like, ‘Oh, who the hell are you to be acting like this?’”
As for any hard feelings, Hopsin declared that the diss was keeping in the spirit of hip-hop music, saying, “I don’t hate Kanye. It’s rap. It’s a game of sharks swimming around.”
CyHi the Prince
Song: “Elephant in the Room”
Key lines: Hey Ye, do you know what it feel like/To really be signed to you in real life?/Have you ever wrote a song/And you know you about to say something wrong but you still right?/I hope when I’m done that we still tight/But why wasn’t I on the cover of the Complex?/You must’ve seen what I did to Funk Flex/Ya Sean my n*gga but I’m coming after Sean next/Sit the fuck down Mr. West, I ain’t done yet/While you’re in your little Lambo on Sunset/I’m riding with a gun next to me/And it sounds like a little boy playing with a drum set/And it hold a hundred rounds/Cause when you come around n*ggas quick to gun you down/You’ll be found on the other side of town somewhere, n*gga.
G.O.O.D. Music signee, CyHi the Prince, had hip-hop fans collectively scratching their heads when he released “Elephant in the Room” in the summer of 2015 which took aim at the reality of what it was like to be a label disciple of Kanye West.
In the aftermath of the song’s release, CyHi tried to clarify on Twitter that Kanye West had okayed the song and that it was meant to evoke a similar tone that Eminem had taken on various projects that saw him “murdering” Dr. Dre.
Despite his insistence, many were quick to point out that only days earlier, CyHi had been dropped from his Def Jam contract and many speculated that his disillusionment was a genuine diss after West had failed to help him put out a full-length album following his assistance on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Song: “Man Purses”
Key lines: And the one common thread that’s in this tale, kid/My crew aint been the same since Amber Rose and Taylor Swift.
In 2010, Kanye West and his fellow labelmates turned the last day of the work week into “Good Fridays” with the release of songs like “Monster,” “Runaway Love,” “Devil in a New Dress,” “Good Friday,” “Lord Lord Lord,” “So Appalled,” “Christian Dior Denim Flow,” “Don’t Stop!,” “Take One for the Team,” “The Joy,” “Looking For Trouble,” “Chain Heavy” and “Christmas in Harlem.”
As a signee to the label, Consequence had already figured prominently into Kanye West’s career by appearing on standout tracks like “Spaceship” from The College Dropout and “Gone” from Late Registration before dropping his own project, Don’t Quit Your Day Job! in 2007.
Following a G.O.O.D Music cypher at the 2010 BET Awards – where Consequence was notably absent – he responded in tune with “Man Purses,” which took a shot at the label and West for what he perceived as their unwillingness to help him with his sophomore project.
“As a man, you can’t hang your fate on no other man, but when you think the man is your brother and you talk about every other single situation known to man, you would think it would dawn on somebody to say, ‘Hey, let me make sure this all right, let me make sure my guy is good,'” Consequence said. “If I’m not your guy, that’s fine; let’s just have clarity on it.”
“Kanye, that situation with him and Consequence, that’s way personal,” Big Sean commented at the time. “That’s not a random dude dissing. That was somebody who was part of the fam, was all in the fam together and then they had their problems.”
In subsequent years, Consequence further fanned the flames by claiming that he had written many of Kanye West’s lyrics, stating, “It is true I participated in writing with Kanye. You could read it on credits on 808s and Heartbreaks, College Dropout. Every album that he’s had, I’ve been involved from a creative aspect in writing of songs.”
At the end of 2013, Consequence said in an interview with Hip Hop Wired, “I will say that here won’t be any more shots thrown. I wish everybody the best.”
Consequence seemed to make good on his positive outlook. He and West reunited in 2015 to work on what would become The Life of Pablo.
“More importantly than anything, me and Kanye were best friends for over a decade,” he said, while adding, “That kind of relationship is something that’s not easily disposable.”
DJ Khaled featuring Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne
Song: “I’m on One”
Key line: I’m just feelin’ like the throne is for the taking/Watch me take it.
Drake has a long and documented history of subliminal disses in his music – ranging from the likes of Jay Z to Beanie Siegel to Pusha T to Ludacris.
And just like his peers, Kanye West has also thought to have been a target on several occasions like in the case of Drake’s verse of Migos’s “Versace,” where he rapped, “I do not fuck with your new shit, my nigga, don’t ask for my take on it” just days after West released Yeezus.
Despite Drake’s notable beef with Meek Mill, he did in fact come out and challenge both Kanye West and Jay Z on DJ Khaled’s “I’m on One.” While rather PG in tone, there’s no denying it was a shot.
Beanie Sigel & King The Hood Savior
Key line: Middle finger up to Jayeeeer/I don’t give a fuck about Ye’eeer/Wanna know, I think Ye Queeeeer/He dress Gayeeeeer/I sweeeear/I heard he takes it in his reeeeear/You should know by now I don’t caaaaare.
Beanie Sigel enlisted the help of King the Hood Savior – the first signee to his State Property Chicago label – to lay claims that his former Roc-A-Fella cohort, Kanye West, was gay.
This was not the first time Siegel had questioned West’s sexuality.
As far back as 2007, West was commenting on Siegel’s accusations, saying “that shit is disrespectful,” while adding, “I’m not gay. Don’t come at me on any of that shit. Don’t fuckin’ disrespect me. I respect where he’s coming from. I respect Beans’ ‘gangsta.’ I’m not a gangsta, but I’m not gay neither. Don’t disrespect me as a fucking man.”
In October 2010, King the Hood Savior was shot and killed in Chicago.
Key lines: Look at the family, they walk around proud/All because she had my dick in her mouth/Wanna have me in bed while you fuckin’ your spouse/Shows that you still a rat and your man Mickey Mouse.
For obvious reasons, Ray J and Kanye West have been on unfriendly terms for several years now.
In 2013, the R&B singer released “I Hit it First” – a not so subtle dig that he and Kim Kardashian West had a longstanding relationship, singing, “I hit it north with her ass going south/But now baby chose to go west.”
Kanye West’s most decisive response came this year with the release of his music video for “Famous” which saw Ray J’s mannequin likeness splayed alongside George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby and Taylor Swift.
“I bet me and Ray J would be friends if we ain’t love the same bitch/Yeah, he might’ve hit it first /Only problem is I’m rich,” West rapped.
Although Ray J considered legal actions, he responded with a song aptly titled “Famous” that addressed both West and Kardashian West.
“You can’t fault me and Chris for responding to all the things that have been done about us [in the media] over the last few months,” Ray J said.
Song: “Drink the Kool-Aid”
Key line: I rock the Louis/But not like Kanye!
Ice Cube put several people on notice with “Drink the Kool-Aid” from his 2010 album, I Am the West.
Referencing Dr. Dre, Jay Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne and Kanye West, it certainly wasn’t as ruthless as his classic diss record, “No Vaseline,” but it certainly wasn’t purely subliminal either.
A month later, Ice Cube walked back his lyrics claiming that there was no disrespect intended. However, one has to assume that Cube caught wind of West’s 2014 guest lecture at L.A. Trade Tech where he claimed that the former N.W.A rapper was both one of his biggest inspirations and one of his biggest letdowns.
Master P featuring Fat Trel & Alley Boy
Song: “Brick To A Million”
Key lines: New n*ggas wearing dresses, fuck it/I ain’t scared to address it/Gangsta n*ggas on skateboards/I’m at the house breaking motherfucking headboards/Real n*ggas stand up.”
Master P’s “Brick To a Million” seemed to point a negative spotlight on the sartorial leanings and hobbies of rappers A$AP Rocky, Kanye West and Lil Wayne. Specifically, the “wearing dresses” line coincided with the stylings of Rocky and West who both opted for genderless-looking ensembles during respective appearances on 106 & Park and during a televised 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy charity concert.
Like in other aforementioned instances, P attempted to clarify that he meant no disrespect, telling Power 106’s Big Boy’s Neighborhood, “Even that, that ain’t a diss. I never made a diss record. Like I said, a lot of people, if you feel salty behind that, then I could say if the shoe fit well, I’m not afraid to address it.”
Cam’ron featuring Jim Jones
Song: “Toast (Freestyle)”
Key lines: And Kanye, you a sucker n*gga/Dis Dame, so my attitude is “fuck a n*gga”/Sucking Jigga, how you gonna live with that?/Took your beat — now, come get it back.
Cam’ron’s major issue with Kanye West stems from the unhappy separation between former Roc-A-Fella business partners, Jay Z and Dame Dash.
Although Dash had been the one more instrumental in developing Kanye West as an artist, Cam’ron viewed his decision to side with Jay Z as one more aligned with future growth as opposed to loyalty.
Additionally – like in the case of CyHi the Prince and Consequence – Cam’ron was eager and quick to help Kanye West, but didn’t feel the same energy and attention was reciprocated when he needed something done for his own album.
In turn, Killa Cam and Jim Jones hijacked West’s “Runway” beat and went at both West and Jay Z.
“You might take it the wrong way, that’s what people do,” Jones said. “They gonna think we starting trouble, but we just viewing our opinions.”
Fellow Dipset emcee, Juelz Santana echoed Jones’ statements, saying, “It shouldn’t surprise people. Especially [with] Cam, he’s always said how he felt about Jay-Z or Kanye. He’s never been a person that’s bitten his tongue.”
Cam’ron would later clarify exactly what led to his ill feelings, saying, “The reason I took a shot at Kanye, he needed something done for his album [a couple of years ago, and] when he needed it, I sent it back to him in about an hour. I needed something for my record and he was in Honolulu; he has to do this, he has to do that. And I’m one of those people, I do a favor for a favor. When you need it, I got it back to you. When I needed something, you couldn’t get back to me?”
Song: Hit ‘Em Up (Remix)
Key lines: He better stay his ass on the West, just like Kanye/N*ggas up in Paris, aww that’s where y’all stay/Go buy a pair of Yeezys then get some top from Kim K.
Relatively unknown/unsigned Chicago drill rapper, Rico Recklezz attempted to make a name for himself by essentially dissing every single Windy City emcee – including Lil Reese, Montana of 300, Lil Bibby, G Herbo, 600Breezy, Chance The Rapper, Lil Durk, Spenzo, Chief Keef, Tay600, Lil Mister, FBG, Famous Dex, Katie Got Bandz, King Louie, Lud Foe, SD, Tadoe, Boss Top, Prince Dre, Ayoo KD, Common and Kanye West.
The song registered like a minor blip. However, his perchance for writing inflammatory lyrics was noticed after he dissed Soulja Boy who in turn put a $100,000 USD bounty on his head and confirmed the threat with a tweet which read, “He gone be dead before 2017. We sliding. I got 100k on his head.”
Songs: “First Chain (Remix)”
Key lines: Kanye wore a skirt; what was he trying to prove?/Y’all be following them illuminati rules.
With album artwork which shows a decapitated Big Sean, there was no mistaking Papoose’s intentions with “First Chain.”
While he dedicated 95 percent of the song to trying to eviscerate the Detroit rapper, Papoose also included a barb similar in tone to Master P’s assessment of Kanye West’s wardrobe.
Song: “Lift Up Your Skirt”
Key lines: Pioneer of this queer shit is Kanye West/He introduced the skinny jeans to the rap scene/Then he wore a fucking skirt on a video screen/Then he wore it again at a memorial/I can’t pretend that this shit ain’t deplorable/I bet this n*gga think he looking adorable/Your music good, but your ego is horrible/Now these other n*ggas wanna follow suit/I tell the truth/Talk shit, you’ll be swallowin a tooth/Duckin hollows in the booth/Wishing that you showed the respect to an OG you followed as a youth/I rebuke all this gay shit, some are scared to say shit/You might lay and take this, but I’m not to be played with.
Brand Nubian’s Lord Jamar was another rapper who took umbrage with Kanye West’s wearing of a leather Givenchy kilt and in turn equated it to the rapper living a gay lifestyle.
Following the track’s release, Jamar further cemented his opinion on homosexuality, saying, “First of all, my stand on homosexuality is I don’t agree with it but everybody has their own free will in this world,” he said. “And if that’s how you choose to live, you do you. I don’t agree with it; I feel like it’s a distortion of mind. But that’s up to me. You don’t have to live in my universe and I don’t have to live in yours. So I don’t regret nothing I said … ‘cause it’s all real.”
- Featured/Main Image: Michael Tran/Getty