The Biggest Feuds in Music We’ll Never Forget

Many celebrities have gotten into public spats with one another over the years, but it seems none more so than those in the music industry. Sometimes a feud is over after a couple of diss tracks and late resolved with a face to face meeting. Other times, they end in violence, and sometimes, they don’t end at all.

Click through the list to see if you remember these feuds and how they turned out. From rockers to pop stars to rappers to absolute icons in the industry, here ‘s a look at some of the most memorable feuds in music history, leading up to the No. 1 biggest one of all.

15. Prince vs. Michael Jackson

Prince and Michael Jackson performing on stage.

Prince and Michael Jackson | Tenpamichael via YouTube

The feud between two of music’s biggest entertainers started back in 1982 when Michael Jackson’s Thriller album outsold Prince’s 1999 album. The Purple One then followed up with Purple Rain, and Jackson reportedly attended several of Prince’s shows to study his competition on tour.

Jackson later decided to ask Prince to join the recording of “We Are the World” in 1985, but Prince refused. MJ then asked if he would do a duet and appear in the video for “Bad,” but Prince declined that offer as well and later told MTV, “That Wesley Snipes character. That would have been me.” Mutual friend Will.i.am said he tried to make peace in 2006. However, Jackson called Prince “a meanie” for playing an “aggressive” guitar solo in his face.

Sadly, it seems the two never made up. Jackson died at his home in 2009 and Prince at his home in 2016.

Next: This rapper and pop singer exchanged words onstage. 

14. Nicki Minaj vs. Miley Cyrus

Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus posing together on stage.

Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus | Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Nicki Minaj has been involved in a longtime feud with fellow hip-hop star Remy Ma, but in 2015, she was in an even more public one with a certain pop singer. Minaj and Miley Cyrus got into at the MTV VMAs that year after the rapper commented on social media about Taylor Swift and the nominations.

Prior to hosting the award show, Cyrus told The New York Times that the “Anaconda” artist’s remarks “sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj, is not too kind.” That, of course, set the stage for something to be said when they came face to face at the ceremony.

Minaj ended up winning the award for Best Hip-Hop Video and when she accepted the Moonman called Cyrus a “b**tch” and uttered the infamous line, “Miley, what’s good?” Cyrus responded immediately after by saying, “Hey, we’re all in this industry, we all do interviews and we all know how they manipulate s**t; Nicki, congratu-f**king-lations.”

Next: These pop singers had some “Bad Blood.”

13. Taylor Swift and Katy Perry

Taylor Swift and Taylor Swift posing for a photo together backstage.

Katy Perry and Taylor Swift | Larry Busacca/Getty Images

The two stars were very friendly before 2013, when their feud started after three backups dancers left Taylor Swift’s Red tour to join Katy Perry’s Prism tour. The former accused Perry of trying to “sabotage” her and their “Bad Blood” boiled over into Swift’s song dissing Perry.

Then, in May 2017, “Swish Swish” was released and thought to be Perry’s response to “Bad Blood.” It even featured Minaj, who isn’t a fan of Swift. On an episode of Carpool Karaoke, Perry was asked about their feud and had this to say, “There’s a situation. Honestly, it’s really like she started it. And it’s time for her to finish it. I tried to talk to her about it, and she wouldn’t speak to me.”

Swift hit back a few months later with the release of “Look What You Made Me Do.”

Next: These ultimate divas had the friendliest feud ever. 

12. Whitney Houston vs. Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston performing on stage.

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston | Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

The feud between Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey isn’t remembered because it was drawn out and nasty, but because no one was really sure what to make of it. A rift between the two powerhouse voices seemed like a fictional tabloid story more than anything until Houston was asked about Carey in an interview and said these unforgettable words: “What do I think of her? I don’t think of her.”

In 1998, executives at DreamWorks approached the ladies to do a duet together for The Prince of Egypt soundtrack and they accepted. Thus, making public appearances together dispelling any reports they had beef.

Over the years, they were thought to have become close, and after Houston’s death in 2012, Carey was among those in attendance at her funeral service in New Jersey.

Next: After an album and tour together, we didn’t see this coming. 

11. Kanye West vs. JAY-Z

Kanye West and Jay-Z performing on stage.

JAY-Z and Kanye West | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Two of rap music’s biggest stars, Kanye West and JAY-Z, had a bit of a tumultuous relationship over the years but after their successful studio album Watch the Throne in 2011 and tour in 2012, we thought they were the best of friends.

In 2016 though, there were rumblings of tension between them then West went on his infamous stage rant about JAY’s family and not visiting him and Kim Kardashian following the reality star’s Paris robbery. JAY thought West talking about his wife and Blue Ivy went too far and called out the “Famous” rapper’s erratic behavior in his 2017 4:44 album.

West also reportedly got into a financial dispute with JAY’s streaming service Tidal.

Next: West isn’t the only rapper to have feuded with JAY-Z.

10. Nas vs. JAY-Z

Rappers Nas and Jay-Z performing on stage.

Nas and JAY-Z | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

West isn’t the only rapper JAY has feuded with over the years. Early in his career, the “99 Problems” artist had beef with Nas. Their feud began in 1996, when JAY-Z asked Nas to rap on one of his tracks. However, the day Nas was supposed to show up at the studio he never did. JAY considered it a snub and what followed were years of diss tracks and a war of words between the two.

In 2001, JAY went in hard on his rival and released a freestyle where he talks about sleeping with Carmen Bryan, the mother of Nas’ daughter, Destiny. Even JAY’s mother was ticked off at that and demanded that her son apologize to Nas, which he did the next day.

This feud has a happy ending as it was settled in 2005, when Nas appeared on stage with JAY at one of his concerts. The two even performed a few songs together, to the delight of their fans.

Next: These iconic frontmen couldn’t stand each other. 

9. Axl Rose vs. Kurt Cobain

Axl Rose and Kurt Cobain collage.

Left: Axl Rose performing in concert | Mark Davis/Getty Images, Right: Kurt Cobain during an interview | MTV

In addition to fighting with his own bandmate, Slash, Axl Rose had another public feud with Nirvana’s legendary frontman, Kurt Cobain. When Nirvana first came on the scene, Rose was a big fan of the band and their new alternative rock sound, but when Cobain started badmouthing Guns N’ Roses, the singer fought back. Rose unleashed a tirade during on of his shows calling Cobain “a f**kin’ junkie with a junkie wife.”

When the two met backstage at the MTV VMAs in 1992, Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, taunted Rose and exchanged words with his then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour. GNR’s Duff McKagan and Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic then got into it.

It wasn’t until Cobain’s suicide in 1994 that the members of both groups put the feud to rest.

Next: This artist hated a whole genre of music. 

8. Eminem vs. pop stars

Eminem and Christina Aguilera collage.

Left: Eminem in concert | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images, Right: Christina Aguilera at a party in California | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Eminem set a few things straight in the very beginning of his career, like letting everyone know how much he disliked boy bands and other pop singers. No one from NSYNC to Britney Spears was safe from his wrath.

Most of the pop singers didn’t respond, except for Christina Aguilera. When she publicly criticized the rapper for his “Kim” lyrics, he released “The Real Slim Shady” and put X-Tina’s sex life on blast.

Aguilera was so fumed that she responded with a her own rap song titled “The Real Slim Shady (Please Shut Up)” in which she raps this diss: “Was it Carson Daly or was it Fred Durst? / I’m sorry Slim, but this is gonna hurt / They both came closer than you ever will, jerk.

Luckily, the feud between them somehow just died down, and they can now be in the same room together.

Next: Their feud dismantled one of the most popular groups in history. 

7. John Lennon vs. Paul McCartney

John Lennon and Paul McCartney sitting together.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney | Fox Photos/Getty Images

Rumors swirled for years that John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, caused the Beatles to break up. However, in 2013, Sir Paul McCartney said that wasn’t the case. McCartney explained that while Ono brought out another side in Lennon that he could explore she is not the reason the band split, and he knew Lennon “was definitely going to leave” anyway.

In 1971, Lennon spoke publicly about his spat with McCartney telling Rolling Stone, “I pretty damn well know we [other Beatles members] got fed up of being sidemen for Paul.” Lennon also didn’t appreciate his bandmates’ reaction to his relationship with Ono saying, “Ringo was all right, but the other two really gave it to us. I’ll never forgive them.”

Lennon and McCartney continued exchanging slight jabs through their music for the next few years until the mid-seventies when they finally visited with each other and seemed ready to bury the hatchet. Any true reconciliation between them though was spoiled when Lennon was shot to death outside his apartment by a deranged fan in 1980.

Next: These legendary singers had a war of words. 

6. Madonna vs. Elton John

Elton John and Madonna collage.

Left: Elton John in West Hollywood | Dimitrios Kambouris /Getty Images, Right: Madonna performing on stage | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sir Elton John fired shots at Madonna in 2002 when he called her title song for the Die Another Day movie “the worst Bond theme ever.” John bashed her music again in 2004 insisting that she lip-syncs onstage.

He then unloaded on Madge yet again in 2012 in a profanity-filled tirade about her career and her looks. The two iconic performers bumped into one another at a restaurant in France that same year and John explained that he sent her an apology note and offered to buy her dinner.

“She was very gracious and accepted and we talked,” he told Graham Norton. “We are fine — it was just me and my big mouth.”

Next: The feud between these artists came to blows. 

5. Chris Brown vs. Drake

Chris Brown and Drake collage.

Left: Chris Brown at the red carpet of his listening party in 2017 | Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images, Right: Drake in a stylish leather jacket | Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Chris Brown and Drake’s feud, which was reportedly over Rihanna came to a head in 2012 when Drake and Brown were at the same club and the rapper sent the “With You” singer a bottle of Ace of Spades as a piece offering. Brown wasn’t feeling the gesture though and sent the bottle back with a note that read, “I’m still f**king Rihanna.”

Drake obviously wasn’t pleased, so the artists and their entourages clashed. Bottles started flying and several people were injured by shards of glass including Brown, who suffered a cut on his chin. Drake did not sustain any injuries.

In 2014, we thought they put their differences behind them. However, in 2017 they were back at it again with Drake calling Brown out at a concert, which ignited a threat from Brown.

Next: These rockers fought over a famous woman. 

4. Kid Rock vs. Tommy Lee

Tommy Lee and Kid Rock collage.

Left: Tommy Lee in 2011 | Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images, Right: Kid Rock performing at a Tennessee concert | Frederick Breedon IV/Getty Images

Pamela Anderson was married to Tommy Lee in 1995 and had two sons together before divorcing in 1998. Anderson then started a relationship and married Kid Rock, but when they divorced things between the two rockers got ugly.

The “American Badass” wasn’t a fan of Anderson’s ex, so tensions between those two were bound to boil over at some point. Rock claimed that while they were going through their divorce, Lee took Anderson’s phone and harassed him, so Rock told him he was going after him the next time they came face to face.

That happened in 2007 at the VMAs when Lee intentionally jumped into Rock’s seat while he was in the restroom. The two then actually had a physical fight during the broadcast in which Rock punched the Motley Crue drummer before security broke it up.

Rock later claimed that the brawl was inevitable and had nothing to do with their common ex. .

Next: During their feud one of them was shot nine times. 

3. 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule

50 Cent and Ja Rule collage

Left: 50 Cent performing in 2014 | Kevin Winter/Getty Images, Right: Ja Rule in concert | Jemal Countess/Getty Images

50 Cent and Ja Rule have had one of the longest lasting beefs in hip hop. Their feud began in 1999 after Ja Rule was robbed for his chain in New York City and believed 50 knew who was behind it. 50 then released a diss track directed at not only Ja, but the entire Murder Inc. crew. The two Queens-born rappers then bumped heads at a nightclub in Atlanta, and things turned physical.

In 2000, 50 was stabbed at a recording studio and later shot nine times in front his grandmother’s home. Authorities later said they believed that the shooting was a plot between crack kingpin Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff and Murder Inc. employees to kill 50.

To this day, the rappers still call out the other every chance they get, whether it’s at shows or via social media.

Next: A reality star dived into this feud. 

2. Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West

Kanye West and Taylor Swift on stage at the VMAs.

Kanye West and Taylor Swift | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The feud between these two stars is well-documented as it played out in front of millions on the VMA stage in 2009. West’s infamous “Imma let you finish” mic-grabbing line was only the beginning. In the days following the award show, the rapper admitted he was “rude,” but later took it back and questioned why Taylor Swift never defended him in her interviews.

By 2015, the two seemed to have let bygones be bygones and were even said to collaborate on something together. In 2016 though West released “Famous” in which he rapped about Swift saying, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that b**ch famous.”

Publicly, Swift said she was upset about the lyrics but West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, released a recording allegedly of Swift agreeing to the line. The “Shake It Off” songstress fired back saying she never agreed to be called a “b**ch.”

Although Swift never mentioned West by name, everyone knows he is one of her enemies she sang about in “Look What You Made Me Do.”

Next: Their feud pinned two entire coasts against one another. 

1. Tupac vs. Biggie

Tupac and Biggie collage.

Left: Tupac in a music video | 2PacVevo via YouTube , Right: Biggie is greatly missed by fans. | Notorious B.I.G via YouTube

The No. 1 feud on our list is not only the biggest feud the music industry has ever seen, but also the most tragic because we lost two of the best and brightest rap stars to ever enter the game. The feud that pinned the East Coast and West Coast against one another and claimed lives too soon was the war between Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

It all started when Tupac was robbed and shot in the lobby of a recording studio in 1994 where he was supposed to meet Biggie and Sean “Diddy” Combs. The Bad Boy rapper and his producer maintained that they knew nothing about what occurred and did not have Tupac set up. But the “California Love” artist never bought it, especially after the release of Big’s song “Who Shot Ya?” —  and thus the rap war began.

Tupac released multiple diss tracks in which he never held back just how pissed he was, while Biggie continued to deny any knowledge of the shooting. The two never repaired their friendship and were both shot and killed within a few months of one another, linking their names in music history together forever.

Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.

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