In hip-hop, having and commanding respect is paramount to one's success and survival.
While this is largely relegated to using expression in the form of art, dance, and performance as a means of attack, at times, competitive tensions have flared, leading to things getting physical.
The DJs and the dancers may have been the first to engage in artistic warfare, however, it would be the emcees that would become the central figures in these battles as rap became more popular.
Showdowns between the likes of Busy Bee and Kool Moe Dee, the Cold Crush Brothers and the Fantastic Romantic Five, and other acts would create an excitement among fans like few records could. However, these exchanges were purely artistic and rarely led to any violent altercations.
As hip-hop grew and blossomed during the 90s, street credibility became pertinent to an artist rhyming about the criminal element, resulting in a number of rappers going out of their way to release diss records disparaging one another for the sake of bragging rights or to defend their honor.
But with the stakes getting higher and the aggressive and violent overtones associated with the streets coming into play, these spats between rappers and crews would occasionally spill off record and be settled off wax, which has led to some of the most notorious beefs and moments in rap history.
That said, here are15 unforgettable instances in which rap artists or members of their crews got into physical altercations.
Mobb Depp member Prodigy and Def Squad alum Keith Murray got into an altercation during the mid 90s outside of notorious NYC hot-spot The Tunnel. The beef, which stemmed from perceived slights against Murray made by Prodigy on an interlude from the Mobb's Infamous album, as well as on LL Cool J's 1995 posse-cut "I Shot Ya (Remix)." would go on for over a decade before the two put it to rest in 2012, posing in a photo together.
The bad-blood between 50 Cent's G-Unit faction and Ja Rule's Murder Inc. crew runs deep and came to a head in 2000, when the two entourages crossed paths at The Hit Factory in New York. Although Ja Rule was not involved in the altercation, Murder Inc. rapper Black Child alluded to stabbing Fif, who was reportedly wounded during the incident. Murder Inc claims that led to 50 Cent signing an order of protection against his rivals, a charge he vehemently denies.
In 2012, West Coasters Game and 40 Glocc duked it out in the California streets, with the whole ordeal being caught on camera and broadcast for the world to see. Game, who uploaded footage of him pummeling the G-Unit affiliate, would win the battle, but 40 Glocc would win the war, as Game would be ordered to pay his rival $216,000 in damages in December 2017.
Joe Budden has never been slow to share his opinions, but in 2009, the rapper-turned-pundit's views landed him in hot water. After throwing salt on Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man's name, Joe Budden ran into fellow Clansmen Raekwon and his entourage of goons, one of which struck the "Pump It Up" rapper in the face during the showdown. Afterwards, Joe Budden would own up to his part in the dust-up, while Raekwon extended an olive branch of his own, wishing Budden well and opting to put the past behind them.
Brooklyn rapper Maino and Chicago rapper/producer Yung Berg made headlines in October 2008 when rumors of the two getting in an altercation at a New York nightclub surfaced. According to Maino, Berg was under the assumption that Maino had been talking behind his back, and his body language and tone led the former felon to smack the "Sexy Lady" rapper in the face. Yung Berg would attribute the incident to a lapse of judgement, resulting in the beef quickly fizzling out.
In June 2005, Queens rappers Nas and Nore got into a scuffle during a party in which both a flowerpot and fisticuffs were involved. The incident, which stemmed from comments Nas made about Nore's lyrical ability in 2002, escalated when Nore threw a flowerpot at Nas, who proceeded to land a few punches of his own. Luckily, the two have since squashed the beef and buried the hatchet, giving fans a glimmer of a hope that a sequel to their classic "Body in the Truck" may actually see the light of day.
In 2005, Brooklyn diva Foxy Brown and Miami rapper Jacki-O got into a spat that led to an all-out brawl while at a Miami studio during one of Jacki-O's recording sessions. Brown, who felt disrespected by her southern counterpart, sparked a war of words between the two, resulting in the pair getting into a brief scuffle that was quickly broken up. The two have yet to reconcile.
In 2006, footage surfaced of a brawl between rap crews Dipset and Junior M.A.F.I.A. while the two factions were attending a basketball torunament at Rucker Park. The tension, which allegedly flared from a series of ice-grills between Jim Jones and Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Gutta, got so thick that it led to blows being thrown, with Jones catching the worst of the fade.
Things got a little dicey between Fat Joe and former Terror Squad member Cuban Link in 2001 while the two Bronx rappers were in attendance at a release part for radio personality Angie Martinez's debut rap album. Cuban Link, who had become embroiled in a beef with Fat Joe following Big Pun's death, alleges that Joe set him up to be slashed, resulting in two permanent scars on the rapper's face. The feud between the two has yet to be resolved, but has been relatively dormant for years.
Idle threats about bodily harm may be made without care in hip-hop, but n March 24, 1992, Willie D of the Geto Boys and rap pioneer Melle Mel took things to a professional level when they decided to take part in a celebrity boxing tourney comprised of rappers. Although the two didn't have any rap or personal vendettas against each other, they would face off in one of the more memorable bouts from the tournament, with Willie D knocking out his Bronx counterpart with a vicious blow, earning the Texan the type of bragging rights that cannot be bought.
In 2007, things got real at New York's famed music venue SOB's when rapper Saigon and his entourage got into a war of words with Mobb Deep, ending in an all-out brawl that had the whole rap world buzzing. During the brawl, which was caught on tape, Saigon landed a punch on Mobb Deep member Prodigy before quickly being ran out of the club by Prodigy and his goons. While both rappers would claim victory in their personal accounts of the event, it was, without question, one of the wildest moments of the aughts.
Rick Ross vs. Young Jeezy
On September 29, 2009, southern trap stars Rick Ross and Young Jeezy's issues with one another bubbled over, and the two got into an altercation while at the BET Awards. While Young Jeezy played down the incident when initially questioned about it, according to Rick Ross, after the two exchanged words, the MMG boss attempted to choke Young Jeezy before the scuffle was broken up by security. The two have since made peace and have even collaborated on numerous occasions since the incident.
Prior to becoming the doting family-man and a voice of reason, T.I. was one of rap's more volatile characters, a trait that was on full display during his war with Houston rapper Lil Flip. After taking issue with T.I. ordaining himself as the King of the South and letting his feelings be known, Flip would catch Tip's wrath upon his release, both lyrically and physically, as the Grand Hustle rapper kicked a fair one with his rival in 2005, on his own Texas stomping grounds. However, cooler heads would eventually prevail, resulting in the two making amends and closing the chapter on their beef.
In 2012, Drake and Chris Brown were involved in one of the more infamous and high-profile nightclub battle-royals in recent memory when the two stars and their entourages clashed during a visit to former NYC hot-spot W.i.P. With the two already at odds due to their shared affections for R&B singer Rihanna, Drake and Chris Brown would stoke the fires with a few mean-mugs and slights directed towards one another, leading to a brawl and champagne glasses being thrown. In the end, W.i.P. would be closed as a result. Chris Brown and Drake have yet to make peace.
Boogie Down Productions vs. PM Dawn
One of the first instances in which two rap crews got physical occurred in 1992, when Boogie Down Productions confronted breakout rap group P.M. Dawn live onstage for comments member Prince Be had made about BDP leader KRS-One. Apparently, Prince Be's words weren't received too well, resulting in KRS-One and his Boogie Down Productions crew hijacking the stage from P.M. Dawn at one of their shows. Prince Be was punched off the stage by BDP enforcer Willie D (not to be confused with Willie D of the Geto Boys). The incident has since gone on to become one the more celebrated occasions of when force was used in the name of hip-hop.