In rap beefs, presentation is everything. If you’re going to go to the effort of dissing someone, you might as well do it in the most clever and disrespectful way possible. So, what better way to add insult to injury than by dissing someone over a beat from one of their own hit songs?
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. Jay-Z has done it multiple times in his career, Tupac put his own twist on the tactic for the iconic Biggie diss “Hit ’Em Up” in 1996, and it continues to happen to this day with rappers like 22Gz and Knuckles Brimm dissing CJ over the “Whoopty” beat.
As we take a walk down memory lane of iconic diss songs, we put together a list of memorable instances that this tactic was deployed. From “Whoopty” to “Stay Schmenin,” here are 14 times rappers got dissed on their own beats.
Jay-Z disses Nas over “Got Ur Self a Gun” beat
Lil B disses David Banner over “Swag” beat
22Gz disses CJ over “Whoopty” beat
Knuckles Brimm disses CJ over “Whoopty” beat
Jay-Z disses Jim Jones over “We Fly High” beat
Jim Jones responds by dissing Jay-Z over his “Brooklyn High” diss
Cam'ron disses Nas over “Hate Me Now” beat
EBG E.Jizzle disses Pooh Shiesty over “Back In Blood"
Tupac disses Biggie over “Gettin Money” sample
Tory Lanez and Joyner Lucas repeatedly diss each other over each other’s beats
In 2018, Tory Lanez and Joyner Lucas took their Instagram beef to the studio and repeatedly rapped over each other’s beats. First, Tory dropped a diss song over the beat from Joyner and Eminem’s “Lucky You” collab. A day later, Joyner responded with his own diss record over the beat from Tory and Meek Mill’s collab “Litty.”
Not to be outdone, Tory responded with “Litty Again” over the same beat. I know that’s all a lot to take in at once, but the back-and-forth didn’t end there. They kept dissing each other over beats like Kodak Black’s “Zeze” and ultimately brought things back to Instagram comments. What a time.
Capone-N-Noreaga disses Tha Dogg Pound over "New York, New York" beat
Eric Bellinger disses Tory Lanez over “Hate to Say” beat
Common disses Drake over “Stay Schemin” beat
Joe Budden and Jay-Z’s “Pump It Up” freestyles
Diss song: “Pump It Up Freestyle”
This one isn’t even considered a diss to many people, but it was just too interesting and close to the line to leave off. The people who downplay Budden as a rapper probably don’t remember this little nugget of rap history, which would have social media on fire if it happened today. Jay-Z (as well as Freeway and Beanie sigel) turned down Just Blaze’s beat, which ended up becoming “Pump It Up,” but decided to jump on it for a freestyle on his S. Carter Collection mixtape. He started the track proclaiming, “Gimme that beat, fool, it’s a full-time jack move!” before styling on it for two minutes. Even though Jay said, “I ain’t talkin’ to nobody in particular,” the battle tone of his bars made some feel like he was throwing slights at Budden.
Budden came back a week later and took his own beat back, flipping some of Jay-Z’s bars, notably his basketball metaphors, including some not-so-nice lyrics about a diminished Michael Jordan (who was playing with the Wizards at the time). Joe rapped, “Learn from him, don’t come back.” Given that Jay-Z has always compared himself to Jordan, people weren’t buying Budden’s assertion that “I ain’t comin’ at Jay, ’cause he’s the greatest breathing.” Nothing serious came from the exchange, but it was an interesting moment. Not many people could say they went toe-to-toe with a prime Jay-Z. —Andre Gee