Times When Rap Beefs Nearly Kicked Rappers’ Careers To The Curb

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Who doesn’t like a good ol’ fashioned rap beef?

Since Kool Herc’s first party in the South Bronx one summer day in August of 1973, feuds between MCs and crews have come and gone throughout hip-hop’s history. Between 2Pac and Biggie, 50 Cent and Ja Rule, Drake and Meek Mill, Meek Mill and Beanie Sigel, there’s really no shortage of a lyrical sparring match you can revisit and reminisce on. Even today, there’s some bad blood between rappers that’s just won’t go away. We’re still invested in seeing how Pusha T vs. Lil Wayne and Drake pans out. Hopefully, it produces a lot of great music and more exciting stories.

We’ve come a long way from Biggie’s description of what beef is, as the internet has opened doors for MCs to battle on social media rather than strictly on wax. But sometimes rap beefs can get so one-sided that there’s a clear winner. In those moments, you can just tell when one rapper will get destroyed by the other rapper. And the fans know it too.

Sure, these MCs eventually bounce back from the embarrassment. But it can be a long, grueling journey to win over the rap community again. Here, we dive deep into rap beefs that were nearly career-ending for some and how those missteps almost made them fade to black.

Chino XL vs. 2Pac

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Year: 1996
Outside of 2Pac’s personal rivalry with The Notorious B.I.G., ‘Pac had some issues with New Jersey rapper Chino XL. It started with a misunderstanding of one of Chino’s lyrics on “Riiiot!” off his debut album Here To Save You All. He rapped, “By this industry, I’m not trying to get f—ked like 2Pac in jail,” and ‘Pac thought he was feeding into the rumors that he allegedly got raped in prison. (It’s been said that this was started by former Hot 97 radio personality Wendy Williams.)

‘Pac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” was released just days before he had to serve 120 days in jail for violating probation on his assault and battery conviction in 1996. On the song, he goes after Biggie, Puff Daddy, Mobb Deep, and Chino XL. XL gets a direct line: “Chino XL: fuck you too! My .44 make sure all y’all kids don’t grow!”