In 2018, we as a culture had so many other things to worry about than which artists were beefing.
And yet, in a year that had so many other stressors, following the various feuds between warring musicians — some deadly serious, others hilariously nonsensical — helped take the edge off, providing an escape from the real world and a peek into an alternate reality of celebrity life.
Below, look back at the notable feuds you will remember from 2018, as well as some that you likely forgot, ranked in order of the worst to the best.
Eminem vs. Machine Gun Kelly
This fight faded from the headlines as quickly as it arrived, spanning precisely from one of their releases to the other — Eminem’s “Kamikaze” album to Machine Gun Kelly’s “Binge” EP — and scoring both rappers the kind of breathless coverage and streaming numbers that neither artist has seen in years. It’s almost like, as many fans speculated, it was all manufactured by their shared record label Interscope.
At the very least, some good music could’ve come out of the feud, which wasn’t the case here, as Eminem and MGK traded diss tracks and bashed each other in interviews, a process that was exhausting from the beginning and only got worse from there.
Read more: Was Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly’s feud fake – or just bad?
50 Cent vs. Ja Rule
50 Cent seemed to spend all year picking fights with various stars which often crossed the line, like the shameful incident in which he mocked Terry Crews for the actor’s sexual assault activism, which the rapper later claimed was “a joke.” 50 struck a better tone — albeit a still-petty one — when he claimed that he bought 200 tickets close to the stage at an upcoming Ja Rule concert, just so he could leave them empty.
50 Cent and Ja Rule have apparently been on bad terms since the two rappers’ early 2000s heydays, and 50 Cent seems keen on reigniting their feud, posting a Photoshopped Instagram shot showing him sitting at a concert among rows of empty seats. The Ja Rule show that 50 Cent claimed to buy out happens on Nov. 9, so fans will get to see whether he made good on his word.
Nicki Minaj vs. Cardi B
It’s the feud that nobody wanted to see happen: Nicki Minaj, hip-hop’s reigning queen, versus Cardi B, the genre’s newest female superstar. The two rappers were diplomatic towards one another at first, with Nicki dispelling early rumors that the two women had bad blood with a tweet congratulating Cardi on her first No. 1 single, “Bodak Yellow” in September 2015, with Cardi tweeting back an admiring response.
Fast forward one year, and the rappers have drastically changed course. After indirectly exchanging negative words in interviews for much of 2018, Cardi seemingly snapped when she saw Nicki at the Harper’s Bazaar Icon party during New York Fashion Week — quite a fabulous setting for their first altercation — and reportedly threw a shoe at her, later claiming that she picked the fight because her mothering skills were being disparaged.
Since the shoe-throw heard ’round the world, things have only gotten messier, with Nicki recently releasing official merchandise alluding to their feud. As much as the music world would’ve liked to see the two rappers band together and support one another, that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.
Read more: Cardi B injured after fight with Nicki Minaj at New York Fashion Week party
Related: Nicki Minaj talks ‘mortifying’ NYFW fight with Cardi B: ‘Get this woman some help’
Teyana Taylor vs. Jeremih
In terms of music feuds this year that had a clear protagonist, it was difficult not to root for Teyana Taylor when she publicly outed the alleged bad behavior of her fellow R&B singer Jeremih this summer.
Over Twitter, Taylor announced that she would be dropping out of her and Jeremih’s co-headlined Later That Night tour, saying she was being “extremely mistreated.” She later claimed that her name was left off of the tour’s tickets and specialized Snapchat filters, and that she was treated like Jeremih’s opening artist, rather than as an equal headliner.
“He did “little to (no) promo, so it was just like, when we got there and the concerts were sold out, (everything) was Jeremiah, his name was on everything, like, my name wasn’t even on the ticket,” she told The Real in a September interview.
While Jeremih declined to respond to Taylor and tell his side of the story, Taylor’s fans certainly identified with her account of doing all the work as the woman in a scenario and not getting her share of the credit.
Read more: Teyana Taylor leaves Jeremih’s tour, offers free shows: ‘I will NOT tolerate disrespect’
Pusha-T vs. Drake
There could only be one feud at the top of 2018’s list, thanks to “The Story of Adidon,” Pusha-T’s diss-track equivalent of bringing a bazooka to his knife fight with Drake.
The backstory to the explosive track is negligible, with Pusha-T and Drake taking veiled shots at one another over the years, including on a few new songs in May, with Pusha-T accusing Drake of using ghostwriters on his song “Infrared” and Drake responding with some mild insults on his own “Duppy Freestyle.”
Then, in the lyrical equivalent of Cardi B’s shoe throw, Pusha-T went nuclear with his follow-up track “The Story of Adidon,” claiming that Drake fathered — and was hiding — a secret child that he fathered with a Canadian porn star.
“A baby’s involved, it’s deeper than rap / We talkin’ character, let me keep with the facts / You are hiding a child, let that boy come home / Deadbeat (expletive) playin’ border patrol.”
Pusha-T also wasn’t afraid to mess with Drake’s money in addition to his reputation, referencing an alleged deal Drake had with Adidas and linking it to his son, presumably to hurt their partnership: “Adonis is your son / And he deserves more than an Adidas press run.”
To add insult to injury, Pusha unearthed a photo of Drake in blackface for the single’s art, with Drake later claiming that the picture was staged as commentary on the struggle black actors face.
The rest is history, with Drake confirming the fatherhood rumors on his June album “Scorpion” and slowly revealing more about his child, most gushing about his “beautiful son” on a recent episode of LeBron James’ new unscripted HBO series The Shop. While everything seemed to work out for Drake this year, it took the year’s most memorable feud to get him to this point.
Read more: Drake responds to blackface controversy on Pusha T’s diss track in long-running feud
Review: Drake’s double album ‘Scorpion’ is peak Drake: overlong and self-obsessed, yet still fun
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