Rappers aren’t known for their loyalty. They might rap about it a lot, but when it comes to backing up those bars with action, they fail spectacularly.
It’s easy to stay true to your squad when everyone’s broke, but when an artist hits the mainstream, and looks around at the guys carrying weed in their entourage, it can be hard to follow through.
Throughout the decades we’ve seen a plethora of artists come up together, only to implode and feud publicly and disgracefully in subsequent years. Here’s a look at the worst betrayals in rap:
A$AP Rocky and Spaceghostpurrp
A$AP Rocky is one of the most recognizable names in rap today, but only a few years ago, he was a complete unknown, hoping to get on. During that time, a young producer/MC from Florida named Spaceghostpurrp befriended Rocky, and moved to NYC to live with the Mob. Rocky and Purrp became inseparable, and Rocky’s trust in Purrp was absolute.
During this time Rocky would even leave his younger sister in Purrp’s care while he was away. They took copious selfies together, and rapped about how they were twins. But when Rocky began to build a buzz, in large part due to borrowing aspects of Purrp’s aesthetic and sound, things fell apart. At a 2011 SXSW appearance, A$AP Mob got into a fight with fans, a fight that members claim Purrp started on their behalf.
Once it was time to show up for court in Texas however, Purrp had fled to Florida, allegedly to take care of his mother. The Mob turned against Purrp, who couldn’t believe his abandonment in the face of familial obligation. Soon Rocky was giving interviews trashing Purrp, and Purrp reciprocated. The beef has led to a couple brawls, and the Mob jumping Matt Stoops, a Brooklyn member of Purrp’s Raider Klan.
The most famous brawl between the two rap factions happened in 2012 in Miami outside of an A$AP concert. There’s some grainy cell phone footage of it below. Since being abandoned by the Mob, Purrp’s buzz has diminished greatly, and there seems no chance of reconciliation.
Jay Z and Cam’ron
Their mutual friend, mogul Dame Dash brought Hov and Cam together, but they were never natural allies. They did songs together, made millions together, but something always seemed off. After he faced disappointing sales on his fourth album, 2004’s Purple Haze, Cam’ron left Jay’s Roc-a-fella Records unceremoniously.
In 2006, Cam dropped his fifth LP Killa Season, which featured a seven-minute diss rant towards Hov. In it, Cam attacked his former boss’ style, talent, even his fiancée Beyoncé. Hov responded on his record “Dig a Hole,” promising to spank Cam’ron and reminding him that without Jay as his boss, he would never be a platinum artist again. For Jay, the disrespect from a former protégé was too much to let go of, and the two never reconciled.
Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane
The roots of this betrayal are shrouded in mystery. Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka came up together, with Flocka’s mother Debra Antney serving as Gucci’s manager before and after he achieved mainstream success.
They were so close, that when Waka began rapping, Antney gave her son to Gucci as an artist under his control. The two rappers created the immensely profitable Brick Squad brand, and recorded myriad songs together.
They went through minor fallouts, but consistently settled them amicably. However, things collapsed with one May 2013 Gucci tweet in which he called Flocka disloyal, dropped him from Brick Squad, and offered to sell his contract to anyone who wanted it. Flocka swore he’d never betrayed Gucci, and vowed never to record with him again.
As time wore on, it became clear that Gucci betrayed himself months later, attacking the world via Twitter in one of the most monumental rants in the history of the medium. Gucci later blamed hackers, but the sad truth is he played himself.
Puffy and Notorious B.I.G.
This is one of the least publicized betrayals in rap, but it happened all the same. In the mid-90s, as Biggie became the biggest rapper in NYC, and an international star, he was signed to Puffy’s iconic Bad Boy label. Like a lot of major label artists however, Biggie was getting screwed. Puffy would charge him for everything: studio time, car rentals, production costs, etc.
All these ridiculous charges would be collected from Biggies’ sales, and if Biggie needed money, Puffy would allegedly loan him some in return for a larger stake in Biggie’s publishing. Sources claim that Biggie’s mother warned him that Puffy was shady, but he didn’t listen, signing contracts that essentially granted Puff complete control over him for years.
Years he didn’t get to see after he was gunned down in 1997. Puffy supposedly gave Biggie’s mother a giant check afterwards, but was able to capitalize on his relationship with the deceased rapper, recording tribute tracks while his wealth and industry power skyrocketed. It never became a big story, but Puffy knows what he did.
Carmen Bryan and Nas
“I came in your Bentley backseat/ Skeeted in your Jeep/ Left condoms on your baby seat” – Jay Z, “Supa Ugly”
In the middle of the famed Jay Z/Nas beef, after “Ether” had taken the world by storm, Jay responded with a no-holds-barred track that aimed not only to destroy Nas the rap artist, but also decapitate Nasir Jones the man. Jay was referring to his affair with Carmen Bryan, Nas’ former fiancée and the mother of his daughter Destiny.
It was a low blow, but the feud was historic in the competitors’ mindless quest for victory at any cost. But in 2007, Carmen released a gossip book entitled “It's No Secret: From Nas to Jay-Z, from Seduction to Scandal -- a Hip-Hop Helen of Troy Tells All,” and aired out her promiscuity, embarrassing Nas even further.
She called God’s Son lazy and apathetic about recording, detailed the anatomy and sex life she’d had with both Jay Z and Allen Iverson, and even went as far as to call her time with Hov, “my first adult relationship.” Cold blooded.
Baby mothers, best friends, business associates, anyone is a potential Judas when it comes to Hip Hop, and artists should be wary of trusting even those in their inner circle. And for those who backstab, be prepared to face the consequences.
Written By Doran Miller-Rosenberg