Kanye West and controversy have sat side by side since the acclaimed rapper became Hip Hop royalty. The MC is renowned as one of the most polarizing artistic figures, with a plethora of contentious acts and remarks. Additionally, Kanye West has built an interesting track record of beef with other rappers over the years. From Drake to Kid Cudi, the rapper has gotten on the bad side of many MCs throughout his career.
Recently, leaked footage from an unreleased 2018 documentary made serious waves on the internet. In the clips, Ye took shots at Nas, as well as Pusha T, Cardi B, and Teyana Taylor. These comments were shocking, especially as he has not only shown love to these artists before but closely collaborated with them over the years. Regardless, it remains to be seen if these clips will be the genesis of yet another great rap beef involving Kanye West. In the meantime, however, these are seven of West’s biggest Hip Hop feuds.
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It’s not news that Kanye West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian was involved with Ray J in the past. However, while the famous Kardashian seemed to want to move on from the incident, Ray J did not. In April 2013, the singer released “I Hit It First,” a track on which he took some not-so-subtle shots at Kardashian and West. “She might move on to rappers and ballplayers, but we all know I hit it first,” Ray J sang. Kanye wasted no time clapping back at the singer.
During a live performance of “Bound 2” on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in 2013, Yeezy opened with the lines, “Brandy little sister lame and he knows it now / When a real brother hold you down, you’re supposed to drown.” On “Highlights,” a track from Kanye’s 2016 album, The Life of Pablo, the MC took another jab at Ray J. In a verse of the song, Kanye raps “I bet me and Ray J would be friends if we ain’t love the same b**ch / Yeah, he might have hit it first, only problem is I’m rich.”
CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 23: Kanye West and Kid Cudi attend The “Cruel Summer” Presentation by Kanye West during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Casino Palm Beach on May 23, 2012 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images for Belvedere)
Amidst Kanye’s beef with Pete Davidson in 2022, he made an announcement on Instagram. The rapper informed his followers that Kid Cudi would not be featuring on his upcoming album, Donda 2. “Just so everyone knows, Cudi will not be on Donda because he’s friends with you know who,” he wrote. Kid Cudi commented on the post, saying “Too bad I don’t wanna be on ur album u f***ing dinosaur hahaha.”
Kanye West and Kid Cudi were once close, with the Chicago MC helping break the Cleveland rapper to the masses. However, after that incident, their friendship may be at a point of no return. In an August 2022 interview with Esquire, Cudi shared, “It’s gonna take a motherf***ing miracle for me and that man to be friends again. I don’t see it happening.”
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When Kanye West took a shot at Big Sean in 2021, it started a short but very unexpected beef. In November 2021, West appeared on Drink Champs was asked to pick between Big Sean and Pusha T. However, West didn’t just take a pick, but told said, “The worst thing I’ve ever done is sign Big Sean.” The “Hurricane” rapper elaborated further, claiming that he felt slighted for not receiving support from Big Sean when he ran for president in 2021. However, after his earlier statement, the damage was already done.
The following month, during his own sit down with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, Big Sean had the following to say: “I love Kanye, bro. I love him for the opportunity he gave me and all these things. But I thought what he said was on some b**ch-a** shit. And I thought that wasn’t godly. It was a personal attack for no reason and he ain’t have to do all that.” The two reconciled in January 2022, and seem to have been cool since then.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 05: Wiz Khalifa performs during a race-break in the NASCAR Clash at the Coliseum at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
On January 27, 2016, Kanye West and Khalifa had a public beef on Twitter (now X). When Ye announced that he would be changing the name of his album from Swish to Wave, Wiz Khalifa wasn’t having it. Khalifa accused West of ripping off Max B. Later that day, West went off on Khalifa after confusing the acronym for Wiz’s “Khalifa Kush” strain with Kim Kardashian. Wiz’s comments triggered Kanye into sending out a barrage of now-deleted tweets addressing the “Black & Yellow” rapper. Among them were tweets like “I am your OG and I will be respected as such,” and “You wouldn’t have a child if it wasn’t for me.”
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LAS VEGAS – SEPTEMBER 09: Rappers Kanye West (L) and 50 Cent present the “Most Earth-Shattering Collaboration” award on stage during the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards held at The Palms Hotel and Casino on September 9, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
This is probably the most lighthearted beef Kanye West has been involved in. In fact, the feud between 50 Cent and Kanye West was more of a healthy competition than an actual beef. Nevertheless, it was a serious affair that had an unfounded impact on the rap game. The two MCs had albums set to drop on the same day, embarking on a high-stakes yet playful head-to-head over album sales. The build-up to the release of their respective albums was thrilling in hip-hop and undoubtedly proved to be an excellent marketing scheme. Subsequently, Kanye emerged victorious, with Graduation outselling Curtis.
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 30: Kanye West (L) and JAY Z onstage at the Tidal launch event #TIDALforALL at Skylight at Moynihan Station on March 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Roc Nation)
Watching Kanye West and Jay-Z fall out in real time was shocking for most fans of the rappers. At first, Jay-Z and Beyoncé failed to attend West and Kim’s wedding in 2014. Evidently, Ye wasn’t too happy about that. Afterward, in 2016, Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in a Parisian hotel. Although Jay-Z allegedly called to sympathize, Kanye expected more from the rapper. In his Sacramento concert in November 2016, Ye publicly criticized Jay-Z and Beyoncé. HOV did not appreciate being put on full blast in public like that. He famously called West out on “Kill Jay Z.” The two have since reconciled.
ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 20: Kanye West, Kenny Burns and Drake attend at Compound on June 20, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/WireImage)
The beef between Kanye West and Drake dates all the way back to the early 2010s. Their feud truly has a long and complicated history but things reached a boiling point in 2018 when Ye produced Pusha T’s “Infrared,” which included a not-so-subtle shot at Drake. Push and Drizzy then began taking shots at each other but the Canadian rapper then started to take aim at Kanye. Although Pusha had issues with Drake, Ye wound up getting a few jabs in his direction with “Duppy Freestyle.” Apparently, Drake also had a “career-ending ” diss track in the pipeline that would’ve crushed Kanye’s soul. Part of this seemingly related to the rumors that Drake hooked up with Kim Kardashian, which West did not take very well. In 2021, their feud seemed to have come to an end, but that was short-lived. Since then, the two have thrown subtle jabs at each other.