2018 In Review

The 13 Juiciest Music Beefs Of 2018

Being online often feels like witnessing a chaotic, nonstop reality TV show. We’re given windows into the private lives of everyone we didn’t know we were supposed to care about, alerted whenever Ariana Grande cuts her hair or Cher has a thought. There are the couples we’re all rooting for and the unions we didn’t see coming, the undercooked side stories, the running gags, and of course, the beef.

The beauty and horror of the reality show we call Internet is that the cameras are never off. Fights develop tweet by tweet, right before our eyes, and the feuds that go down in person are recorded and shared. Think of the following list as a “reunion special,” where the ladies tell all, but it’s just one lady (me), rehashing the best beef from this year.

Some of the bad blood has been building for seasons — Pusha T and Drake never quite got along. Other matches come out of left field, two new cast members having it out. Most of the drama is petty, but all of it makes for great television, er, blogging. Bon Appetit!

13. Chief Keef vs Teresa Giudice

Of all the unlikely feuds, Chief Keef and Real Housewives Of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice takes the cake. The “Housewife” threatened to sue Keef for using a picture of her mansion as the cover art for his mixtape, Mansion Musick. Keef’s version of the photo has a bust sculpture of his head in the foyer, which I assume is not in her actual home. Giudice’s lawyer argued that Keef’s use of the photo is an invasion of privacy and she should be compensated. However, the image isn’t technically a private photo, considering it was used to market the mansion while it was for sale. The question remains: Out of all of the mansions for sale, how and why did Chief Keef settle on Giudices’ listing to snag a picture from? Is he a Real Housewives fan? And does he want to come to my viewing party, in either corporeal or hologram form?

12. Fred Durst vs Insane Clown Posse

Nu-metal pioneers Limp Bizkit and juggalo leaders Insane Clown Posse both performed at Rock Allegiance Festival this year. Apparently, the washed-up outfits have beef that dates back 20 years to when Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst disinvited ICP from a tour. You might think two decades would be enough time to move on from some trivial “you can’t sit with us” drama, and you would be incorrect. Limp Bizkit’s Rock Allegiance set was interrupted by a running dropkick, courtesy of ICP’s Shaggy 2 Dope. He missed. Durst, apparently unaware of his attacker’s identity, remarked, “What a pussy, couldn’t even pull it off. Let’s give that guy a hand,” as security dragged Shaggy offstage. Attempted assault probably isn’t the best move when trying to remove your fanbase from an FBI gang list. All that aside, the footage is hilarious — a timeless video I hope to show my children one day.

11. Hayley Kiyoko vs Rita Ora

Back in May, Rita Ora had the opportunity to put her name on the map. You might be wondering, “Who?” You’ve probably read her name or heard her song in a commercial once, but wouldn’t be able to pick her out of a crowd or identify her voice on the radio. Ora, who has been making unremarkable pop music for years — scoring hits in her native UK but going unnoticed stateside besides her Iggy Azalea collaboration “Black Widow” — was gifted an opportunity to make magic with some of the biggest names in pop: Cardi B, Charli XCX, and Bebe Rexha. Instead they dropped “Girls,” a tasteless posse cut about getting drunk and making out with each other.

One of the most poignant and well-received responses came from Hayley Kiyoko. Again, you might be wondering, “Who?” The LGBTQ activist, Disney Channel alum, and pop star has a fervid following who refer to her as “Lesbian Jesus.” Her reaction sparked a chain of negative comments, leading to some sheepish apologies from the pop stars in question. Kiyoko wrote on Twitter, “I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life. This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community.” So pop stardom might not be Ora’s thing, but her ability to invalidate an entire community would be perfect for alt-right Youtube. Nobody would even recognize her!

10. Frances Bean Cobain’s Ex vs Courtney Love

Frances Bean Cobain has been fighting a two-year legal battle against her ex-husband Isaiah Silva over the iconic 1959 Martin D-18E guitar that her father Kurt played for Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in 1993. Courtney Love, of course, has a sentimental attachment to the guitar as well. But Frances Bean’s mom was a little more ruthless in her tactics, which allegedly included kidnapping, assault, burglary, and murder threats.

Silva sued Love earlier this year, asserting that she and an almost comically random gang comprising her manager Sam Lutfi and Riverdale actor Ross Butler “entered into a criminal conspiracy to procure false statements, solicit perjury, and dissuade witnesses whose testimony would contradict [Frances Bean] Cobain’s claims.” According to TMZ, “[Silva] alleges they made their way inside his house by pounding on the front door and yelling, ‘Police, open up!!!’ and ‘LAPD, open the fucking door!!!’ And he claims, Lutfi grabbed Silva’s genitals through his pants, moved to within inches of his face and whispered, ‘Listen faggot, calm the fuck down or we’ll drag you upstairs and take turns fucking you.'” This seems like it would’ve been the perfect time to return the fucking guitar.

Just this week Love was granted a restraining order against Lufti. The plot thickens.

9. Lauryn Hill vs Robert Glasper

Lauryn Hill’s concert tardiness is now a well-known habit. The legendary artist doesn’t seem to have much regard for her fans, and this year we learned she isn’t too concerned about her collaborators either. In August, Robert Glasper went on record accusing Hill of mistreating her band members and profiting off of other musicians’ work and ideas, citing her monumental 1998 debut, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. He also mentioned that she doesn’t know how to tune her own guitar. Hill promptly denied Glasper’s claims in an exhausting 3,000-word Medium post containing statements like “No matter how incredible the musicians who play with me are, MY name is on the marquee.” Over what feels like 5,000 bullet points, you learn that prolonged soundchecks are to blame for Hill’s lateness and that she definitely can’t tune her own guitar.

8. Ariana Grande’s Mom vs Piers Morgan

If Chief Keef and Teresa Giudice win the Strangest Beef award, Joan Grande and Piers Morgan are a close second. The hack commentator famously criticized Joan’s daughter Ariana in the aftermath of the 2017 bombing at her Manchester concert and later ate his words. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving this year, Morgan again opted to totally exit his lane and criticize UK pop group Little Mix for copying the Dixie Chicks in a recent photoshoot. Ariana Grande’s mom, Joan, decided to step in with a counter-tweet: “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it!”

It was a pretty tame response, but Morgan came to fight. “My mother taught me to speak my mind & never be afraid to express honestly held opinion,” he tweeted. “I’d just prefer they use their talent to sell records rather than their nudity. As your own daughter does…!” Ariana, better trained in the Twitter clap-back than her mom, replied, “I use my talent AND my sexuality all the time because i choose to. Women can be sexual AND talented…i say this with all due respect, thank u, next.” She continued in another tweet, “i look forward to the day you realize there are other ways to go about making yourself relevant than to criticize young, beautiful, successful women for everything they do…i think that’ll be a beautiful thing for you and your career or what’s left of it.” We’re all waiting for the Piers Morgan diss track, Ari!

7. Ariana Grande’s Forehead vs The Haters

There were some insane headlines this year, but “Ariana Grande Has No Time for People Making Fun of Her Forehead” has got to be my favorite. It has everything you could ever want in a trashy pop-culture news piece, and the headline gets stupider with every word. The story is from October, when Grande posted a selfie in the midst of her breakup with Pete Davidson and the internet doubled down on the size of her forehead via memes and comments. Glamour, Cosmo, and Buzzfeed are just a few of the outlets that covered the riveting news. In a since-deleted tweet, Ariana wrote, “Also I see some of y’all making fun of my forehead! sorry i have a big forehead ! at least i’m cute and i don’t make fun of other ppl’s foreheads ! suck my d*ck.” We truly live in incredible times. Hats off to Ariana, holding it down for forehead queens everywhere.

6. Lana Del Rey vs Azealia Banks

Lana Del Rey joined the ranks of celebrities denouncing Kanye West after the tirelessly problematic rapper hosted Saturday Night Live wearing a Make America Great Again hat. She compared him to Trump in a comment on Instagram and called Kanye’s support “a loss for culture.” This didn’t sit well with Azealia Banks, who, like Kanye, is known for her questionable ethics.

“Don’t use Kanye for your own vapid attempts to seem politically aware when there is SO MUCH MORE bootleg witchcraft you could be doing to TRY and take down 45,” Banks tweeted. Lana responded with words that would be repeated for memes to come: “U know the addy. Pull up anytime. Say it to my face. But if I were you—I wouldn’t…I won’t not fuck you the fuck up. Period.” It’s not that this comeback was unwarranted. There’s just something so unexpected and goofy about Lana, doe-eyed and tongue-in-cheek, begging someone to try her.

Alas, Banks did not pull up. She made some valid arguments against white feminism and then went on to body-shame Lana in a Twitter rant: “This is an example of an aging white woman who got work done on her face, and none done on her body (where she needed it most)…Let’s walk her through some upper arm workout!…Pick up the two dicks on the floor and raise them up by your ears. hold them in your clenched fists with your elbows facing the floor. When you are finished. Be sure to collect the semen ejected from said dicks, and massage this liquid into your aging white lady skin. This is an excellent way to fill the wrinkles left behind by expired botox.” Lana closed the duel, offering Banks her “surgeon’s number and a good psychiatrist.” Here’s hoping she sought treatment.

5. Grimes vs Azealia Banks

Before Banks and Lana had it out, Banks brought her A-game to another battle: a bizarre encounter with 2018’s favorite bizarre celebrity couple, indie treasure Grimes and Tesla dickbag Elon Musk. The couple flew Banks out to LA, where she spent multiple days waiting around for Grimes in Musk’s mansion. Grimes and Banks had planned to collaborate on a new song that obviously never came to fruition. Banks described her stay with minute-by-minute recaps on Instagram: “Staying in Elon Musk’s house has been like a real [life] episode of ‘Get Out.'” “This trash ass beta male pig was given his start in life because his disgusting racist parents took advantage of thousands of black people.” “These fake ass libertarian shit bags.” “[Grimes is a] dirty-sneaker-inbred-out of the woods-Pabst beer pussy methhead-junkie.”

Musk later claimed that Banks was spewing nonsense and he had never even met her. This was met with an apology from Banks. “Over the time spent liaising said collaborations, I was welcomed to a lot of personal information about you. The stuff made me feel awkward and uncomfortable about being privy to, yet I never had any intentions of ever using the information against you,” she wrote. “What started off as a cat-fight lead [sic] to some seriously unexpected consequences and I sincerely apologize.” Maybe Musk bought her silence with a new Tesla, but my main takeaway is that Grimes should definitely change her name to “Pabst Beer Pussy.”

4. Nicki Minaj vs People Who Didn’t Listen To Queen

Nicki Minaj really thought she could get away with rhyming “Chyna” and “China.” She really thought slapping together some lazy verses would get her a #1 album. Her star power and charisma certainly carry a force, but evidently, it wasn’t enough this year. Her latest album, Queen, still debuted at #2, behind Travis Scott’s Astroworld, but the queen thought she deserved more, and Scott and Spotify were the perfect scapegoats. From the pop-rapper’s perspective, it was a misrepresented blockbuster success. People listened to Queen, Minaj insisted. People loved Queen! Of course, its second-place ranking was Spotify’s fault for not featuring the album on the homepage and Scott’s fault for having his mega-celebrity girlfriend Kylie Jenner promote his tour.

“What we’re not gonna do is have that Auto-Tune man selling fucking sweaters telling you he sold half a million albums, because he fucking didn’t. You stupid fuck. You got your fucking homeboy talking for you and you got your girlfriend selling tour passes. Stop it. Knock it the fuck off,” Minaj ranted on her radio show. “When [Travis] comes along and sells a tour pass that has nothing to do with his fucking music and says he’s sold more than Kanye West and Nas — no you fucking didn’t, keep it the fuck real. I know I’m that bitch, I know I’m #1.” I wish I loved anything as much as Nicki Minaj loves herself.

3. Nicki Minaj vs Cardi B

Cardi B and Nicki Minaj provided more entertainment than a runway show ever could during this year’s New York Fashion Week. Apparently, Cardi confronted Minaj about some rumors, one thing led to another and Cardi chucked her shoe at Minaj. Cardi was then escorted out of the event with a giant bruise on her forehead, a ripped Dolce & Gabbana gown, and no shoes. “When you mention my child, you choose to like comments about me as a mother, make comments about my abilities to take care of daughter is when all bets are fuckin off,” Cardi later wrote on Instagram. “I let you attempt to stop my bags, fuck up the way I eat.”

It didn’t stop there. Minaj responded on her Beats 1 show Queen Radio, claiming that Cardi is the one trying to “attack people and to stop their bags.” Then, she sold actual bags. Like, physical backpacks. Minaj made “Nicki Stopped My Bag” into a catchphrase and put it on jackets, bags, and shirts. The merch is designed like security gear with “N.M. DEPARTMENT OF STOPPED BAGS” and QSA (“Queen Security Administration”) logos. She took her rage and turned it into profit. You know what they say: When life throws shoes at you, make merch.

2. Drake vs Pusha T

Pusha T and Drake have been going tit for tat since 2012, but the beef cooled over the last few years — that is, until Pusha reheated it this year with DAYTONA’s closing track. On “Infrared,” Pusha took a shot at Drake for hiring rapper Quentin Miller as a ghostwriter in 2015. Drake foolishly retaliated with a lukewarm diss track called “Duppy Freestyle.” Pusha kept us on our toes and declared war a few days later, firing off “The Story Of Adidon,” along with a picture of Drake in blackface. “It’s about to be a surgical summer,” Pusha begins before dissecting Drake’s character with remarkable poise. It’s more cutting psychoanalysis than slander, but boy is the incision deep.

Later in the song, he exposes some personal information about Drake: “Since you name-dropped my fiancé, let ‘em know who you chose as your Beyoncé / Sophie knows better, ask your baby mother.” Yes, Drake is a daddy, the father of porn star Sophie Brussaux’s child. Drake knew he couldn’t come back from the scathing track, so he didn’t. Pusha took mercy on Drake and closed the feud. The “surgical summer” came and went, but the beef will live on in our hearts forever.

1. Ye vs The People

2018 was the year Kanye West was “cancelled.” It all started with his return to Twitter, where he proceeded to spout off pseudo-philosophical bullshit about “shift[ing] the consciousness.” He used his Twitter to expand on his 2016 endorsement of Donald Trump and to pontificate on their shared “dragon energy.” His account was a fucked-up sketchbook where he could develop his shrouded point of view and feed off of critics. Our outrage gave him fuel. Coverage gave him power.

Kanye’s statements got weirder by the day, almost as if he was testing us, leading up to his shocking statement that slavery “sounds like a choice.” Thus began the wave of friends, fans, acquaintances, and haters denouncing Kanye. He shared screenshots of a text exchange between him and longtime friend and collaborator John Legend, in which Legend asks Kanye to reconsider his viewpoint. Jimmy Kimmel left Kanye speechless when he challenged his views on his late night show. T.I., who compared stances with Kanye and made zero progress on “Ye Vs. The People” back in the spring, was ready to disavow Kanye by autumn, when Kanye fawned over Trump and delivered a nonsensical monologue during a White House visit.

Not everyone abandoned Kanye over his 2018 antics. Just last month, Jay-Z made a lukewarm reference to Kanye’s Trump support on a new song with Meek Mill but insisted, “don’t pit me against my brothers no matter what our differences are.” Still, by the latter part of the year even Kanye seemed aware a change was in order. After falling out with right-wing pundit Candace Owens in October, Kanye announced that he plans to step away from politics in a tweet: “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in.” That’s right: Having wreaked chaos and sowed immeasurable damage all year, Kanye is ready for our forgiveness. Soon, he’ll drop Yandhi and his politics will be a footnote. Despite the chorus of “Fuck Kanye,” he won, wearing his MAGA hat with impunity.