The ’90s, also known as the ‘Golden Era of hip hop’, had the most effortless music out of all the decades. It is nearly impossible for millennials to not be inspired by ’90s entertainment. As dynamic and exemplary as those times were, that still didn’t stop the fierce rivalries that went on in the music industry and in real life.
1. Biggie and Tupac
The East Coast Vs. West Coast hip-hop rivalry began in 1991. Lasting six years, the most memorable feud in hip hop involved former friends, West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur and Brooklyn-based rapper “The Notorious B.I.G.” also known as Biggie. The camaraderie ended when Tupac was shot while leaving a recording studio in New York. Rumors circulated suggesting that Biggie and music producer, Sean Combs were involved in the setup. This ultimately lead to Shakur’s renowned diss record, “Hit Em Up”.
Selling over seventy-five million records worldwide, Tupac Shakur was fatally shot in 1996 at the age of 25. Just six months later, before the release of the album ominously titled Life After Death, Biggie was shot at the age of 24. Both murders remain unsolved yet rumors swirl. Regardless of the unfortunate conflicts, the impact both rappers caused in the industry overruled any negative connotations that lagged over their reputation. Christopher Wallace and Tupac Shakur’s legacies remain the most influential in the music business.
One of the biggest R&B rivalries known in the industry involves two of the most prominent and soulful women in the R&B/soul genre. Brandy and Monica were the iconic duo, who collaborated on the hit single “The Boy Is Mine” and reached accolades far beyond their limits. Their conflict certainly was not over a boy toy, but general industry beef. Little known fact, Monica admitted to actually getting in a physical altercation with Brandy once.
Fourteen years later, both songstresses released a duet, “It All Belongs To Me”, which seemed to put all assumptions of bad blood to rest in 2012. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, when asked about the previous beef with fellow contributor Monica, Brandy responded, “It was so long ago, I’m just in a different space. I don’t talk to Monica. We are on different paths”. Monica spoke out saying, “… we were sixteen and seventeen. We’re thirty-five and thirty-six now. There is no boy and no beef.” The two officially waved the white flag on the Verzuz stage in 2020, calling a truce and performing their greatest hits.
What happens when a pop princess and vocal powerhouse battle? If a mouth-to-mouth peck with Madonna on top of an enlarged wedding cake during an MTV performance is the result, then you’ve got a pretty good taste of pop culture. Christina was known to throw very slick subliminal shade to her former Micky Mouse Club co-star. Aguilera also stated that Britney was very “distant” during rehearsals for their MTV performance. Just a year later, during Britney Spears and Kevin Federline’s highly publicized romance, Aguilera stated to Us Weekly, “I know Britney, she’s not trailer trash but she sure acts that way”. Spears slammed Aguilera a few times in interviews but eventually, the feud seemed to have dimmed down.
Throughout all the shade and teen rivalry, the singers have been very supportive of one another in recent years. Britney’s reaction to Christina’s impression of her on The Voice was rather positive. A Hollywood Life source claimed, “Britney saw it and thought it was pretty great, they had their issues in the past but Brit thought it was light-hearted and fun. She never thought it was mean-spirited. Brit is happy and she did it so well.”
4. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston
There is always room for more than one diva, and these two vocal powerhouses prove that. Whitney Houston’s voice lead her to sell over $20 million dollars in record sales and have over 5 consecutive hits in the 80s. As the ’90s pushed on, Mariah Carey’s whistle register had begun to get some spotlight. The two songstresses cleared the air of their rumored beef, potentially spread by industry insiders, with their duet, “When You Believe” off of the 1998 Disney movie soundtrack for The Prince of Egypt.
5. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown
Brooklyn’s best and baddest, Lil Kim and Foxy Brown are the blueprint for successful women in rap. From attending the same high school to being the only women in their rap groups, the icons’ journeys to stardom were so similar. Both released their debut and critically acclaimed albums, Il Na Na and Hardcore within weeks of each other and the similarities began to fuel comparisons. Those comparisons turned into accusations of stealing style and the relationship turned sour. The beef resulted in bars back and forth between the rap stars and even a shooting allegedly between the two teams. The beef’s origin story is still unknown but the fans always (and still) root for their reunion and their proposed joint album Thelma & Louise.