An In-Depth History of The Game's Many Hip-Hop Beefs
The Game is back in headlines this week after dissing Meek Mill and calling him a snitch, sparking an extended back and forth -- on Instagram and on wax -- that is still ongoing. But the issue with Meek is just the latest in Game's long history of music-industry beefing, dating back to his early days as part of 50 Cent's G-Unit crew. As the diss tracks keep flying and more and more people weigh in on the issues between Meek and Game, Billboard takes a look back through a decade-plus of Game's hip-hop beefs.
50 Cent and G-Unit (Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Spider Loc, Mobb Deep), 2005-Forever
Ironically, The Game's biggest and longest-running beef stemmed, at least initially, from his unwillingness to beef in the first place. When Game signed to Aftermath Entertainment in 2003, then-Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine placed the young MC into 50 Cent's G-Unit camp, which at that time was effectively running the rap game. But 50's demands for complete crew loyalty included an ultimatum that everyone in the Unit join him in taking on his many, many beefs within the industry, regardless of the context or history.
Game had no problem piling on against the Ja Rules and Joe Buddens of the world, but he drew the line at Fat Joe, Jadakiss and Nas -- none of whom Game had issues with, and all of whom were targeted in 50's song "Piggy Bank." So 50, with his perpetual flair for the dramatic, officially kicked Game out of G-Unit live on the air at Hot 97 in an interview that was cut off prematurely due to a shooting outside the station involving Game's crew (which had arrived outside the station's headquarters during the interview).
What followed was one of the most extensive, extended beefs in hip-hop history: dozens of diss tracks, some of them excellent; Game's protracted "G-UNOT" campaign; 50's G-Unit Radio 21: Hate It or Love It mixtape that had a doctored image of Game in a thong on the cover and called him a male stripper; several rejected peace treaties, mostly from Game's side; and separate branches of the beef that directly involved Tony Yayo, Young Buck and Lloyd Banks, among others, in various ways. With so many touch points and flare-ups, it's impossible to explain it all.
The feud with 50 "ended" earlier this year when the two buried the hatchet at a club, but considering the history of this battle it's unlikely to ever truly be over. But hey, if 50 found it in himself to welcome Buck back to the fold and re-unite the Unit after years of issues in 2014, anything is possible. Maybe.
Jay Z and Roc-A-Fella, 2004-2012
This one is a little hazy, admittedly, because it revolves around a lot of tiptoeing and evasive wording. But conventional wisdom says that Game had been trying to goad Jay Z into a beef since his 2004 cut "Westside Story," in which he said he doesn't "do button-up shirts or drive Maybachs." Most people thought that was a dig at Jay; Game denied it and said it was directed at 50 Cent's arch enemy Ja Rule. Jay, as is customary for him, didn't directly acknowledge the beef, but in a freestyle on Hot 97 seemed to take shots at the L.A. rapper by mentioning the word "game" multiple times, though he described the freestyle as an "ode to summer."
Game then dissed Jay and Roc-A-Fella on stage publicly, including Memphis Bleek (who had problems with Game due to his Get Low Records, the same name as Game's former label Get Low Recordz) and Young Gunz, and added to the beef with a direct shot on "My Bitch," in which he also went at Suge Knight and 50 Cent. He would continue taking shots at Jay for years until 2012, when he seemed to finally give it up. Jay only actually went at him once -- during a live performance of the "Blueprint 3 Intro" in 2009.
Joe Budden, 2004-2008
Game has never shied away from his gang-affiliated past, so when Joe Budden called out G-Unit as "gangsta actors" on a song from a 2004 DJ Clue tape, he took it personally. It also didn't help that the ever-clever Clue tacked a verse from the Compton rapper onto the song, making it appear that Game had signed off on the track -- and drawing the ire of 50 Cent for the perceived betrayal. Game fired back on wax with a track called "Buddens," and the two continued their back-and-forth for years before it was all squashed with a text message and a phone call. "Me and Game never really had an issue," Budden told MTV after the beef had died. "It was more so a Joe Budden vs. G-Unit thing."
Ras Kass, 2005-2006
West Coast rapper Ras Kass had gotten locked up for a D.U.I. and was attempting to resurrect his career in early 2005 through a series of freestyles. One of those, "Caution," called out a particular "West Coast lyricist with East Coast love" who had "a thousand tattoos and won't raise a gun" -- before continuing, "So when you get murked/ I'ma raise your son." Ras denied the track was aimed at Game, calling it a "general statement," but shortly afterward the two rappers encountered each other in a club in L.A. If you believe one side, Game tried to jump Ras with 30 guys and failed; if you believe the other, Game ended the beef with a single punch to the face.
Lil Eazy-E, 2005-2006
The Game has a well-known predilection for dropping names in both interviews and verses, and as a West Coast rapper from Compton, N.W.A was a favorite point of reference -- particularly the group's late founder Eazy-E, of whom Game's got a tattoo on his arm. Eazy's son, creatively nicknamed Lil Eazy-E, had collaborated on a song with Game in 2004, but at some point grew tired of Game name-dropping his father so often, and questioned Game's credibility. Game dropped "120 Bars" in 2005, calling out Lil Eazy for not writing his own lyrics and insinuating that he only started the feud to promote his own album; Lil Eazy responded a few months later with "Coming From Compton," which essentially said Game lied about knowing his father, called him disrespectful for the tattoo, and, once again, said Game used to be a stripper. By the end of 2006 the beef was over.
Suge Knight and Yukmouth, 2005; 2007
Another beef that stemmed from G-Unit associations came via Game's feud with Yukmouth of Luniz, with several diss tracks flung across both sides. On Yuk's first, however, he also claimed that Game had been slapped by Suge Knight, who had a long-standing issue with Dr. Dre stemming back to their Death Row Records days, drawing Suge into the conflict as well. Yuk later admitted that he had no issues with Game specifically, but more with the Unit as a whole, and the 2005 West Coast Peace Summit spearheaded by Snoop Dogg brought an end to their back and forth. Suge did not attend that event, though Steve Harvey spoke on his behalf, but Game had more issues to air out -- in 2007, he dedicated the third verse of his diss track "My Bitch" to taking down Suge.
After nearly a decade in prison, Shyne was a bit disgruntled by the state of things upon his release in 2009 and subsequent deportation to his native Belize. But in 2012, he risked alienating everyone by calling Kendrick Lamar's widely-beloved debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city "trash" on Twitter for reasons only he can explain. Game immediately jumped in to defend the rising rapper, telling Shyne to "back away... and if not... we might find ourselves face to face." After some more back and forth in interviews, Game dropped an a cappella called "Cough Up a Lung" aimed at the former Bad Boy rapper; Shyne responded with an a cappella of his own, "Psalms 68 (Guns & Moses)," later remixed into "Bury Judas," and more shots were fired in more interviews. Eventually, things just died down.
40 Glocc, 2012-Present
As with so many of Game's beefs, this one stemmed from 40 Glocc's G-Unit affiliation, which automatically made the two West Coast rappers natural enemies. As the story goes, Game rolled up on 40 Glocc with his crew and stepped to 40, and the two began exchanging punches while Game filmed the whole thing on his iPhone. The bad news for 40: he clearly lost the fight, and is shown in the video running from his fellow rapper. The bad news for The Game: 40 Glocc sued him for $4.5 million; a judge eventually awarded 40 $3,000 for his troubles. But that didn't end things, and 40 wastes few opportunities to throw shots at The Game, most recently piling on with "snitch" rumors following the dust-up with Meek Mill.
Lil Durk and G-Count, 2014
Lil Durk and Tyga had gotten into a bit of a back and forth over a lyric Durk dropped in a feature intended for a Chris Brown-French Montana song that referenced Blac Chyna, Tyga's then-fiancee and the mother of his son. Apropos of nothing outside of backing up his fellow West Coast rapper, Game then hopped on a diss track that Tyga dropped days later called "ChiRaq to L.A.," claiming that nobody knew who Durk was and... well, that was the extent of it.
Durk's preferred battleground was Twitter, and he weighed in on the artistic merits of Game's song, which he called "wack." Then G-Count from the Chicago group L.E.P. Bogus Boys -- who Game name-checked as a "real" Chicago rapper in his original Durk diss -- came to his younger comrade's aide against Game in a new track, aptly titled "Fuck the Game Up." T.I. came in and mediated the issues between Game and G-Count, and six weeks later, Game and Durk got on the phone to settle their differences during the 2014 BET Awards weekend. And all was well.
Chris Brown, 2015-Present
Longtime allies and friends Game and CB got involved in a beef that was so petty it hardly bears mentioning, but here we are. Brown ended things with his girlfriend Karrueche Tran in a protracted breakup that seemed like a story that would never truly come to an end, and Instagram became a place where he aired out his feelings. That didn't change when he reacted to gossip 'grammers The Shade Room capturing The Game liking some of Tran's photos on the app and called out the rapper for "gimmicks" to promote his upcoming Documentary 2 album, to which Game responded with typical bravado. Game then shouted out Karreuche on his 2016 Jeremih-assisted single "All Eyez," keeping this one going for some reason.
Young Thug, 2015-2016
Following his own pattern of jumping into issues that don't involve him, The Game hopped into the feud between Lil Wayne and Young Thug in May of 2015, taking to the stage to threaten to "f--- Young Thug up" for dissing Weezy. Thugger responded almost immediately in his own Instagram, referencing (again!) Game's male stripper photo as a reason he doesn't want to fight the West Coast MC: "I don't want no germs." The two sent more Instagrams back and forth before a truce was ultimately brokered by Jo Jo Capone, only for things to flare up once again a few months later after Game gave an interview defending Wayne once more. More Instagrams and then -- finally! -- a lyrical diss from Game during a freestyle emerged, before everything, once again, calmed down in July.
Stitches was a novelty rapper from Miami who inexplicably started throwing shots at The Game, including in a diss track titled -- brilliantly!!!! -- "Game Over." Sparring on social media followed, Game threatened Stitches in a freestyle on Power 106 in L.A., and then in December 2015 the two rappers met face-to-face in the parking lot of a Miami nightclub. An incident began when Stitches allegedly was denied entry to the club, Game and his crew came out, police were called, and then Game's manager promptly (allegedly) ended the scuffle with a single punch to Stitches' face. The beef, unsurprisingly, remains intact.
In possibly the strangest beef on this list, The Game got drunk one night -- drinking 50 Cent's Effen Vodka liquor line, no less -- and took to Instagram to #GetReal. Maybe a little #TooReal: In an extended caption -- during which he was trying to play nice with 50, no less -- Game wrote that he and Fif "used to be tight as @Kehlani's p---y." In a beautiful response, the young Bay Area singer took to Instagram to post a picture of Rihanna looking disgusted and, among others, dropped the hashtags #YourLackOfRespectForWomenIsShowing, #YouNeedANap and #KeepMyYouthfulAssNameOutChaMouth. A week later, the two were in the studio together with everything water under the bridge.
Meek Mill, 2016-Present
All of which brings us to the current situation with Meek Mill, which has extended to include Beanie Sigel, Sean Kingston, Omelly, 40 Glocc (of course) and, in a fit of peak pettiness, Drake. This one allegedly started over a situation in a club a few months back when Kingston's chain was stolen, after which Game accused Meek Mill of pointing the finger at Game and his crew. That is, allegedly, where the snitching accusations came from in Game's initial diss, and while there were threats tossed back and forth, the good thing about this one is that it's stayed on wax -- and produced some pretty solid diss tracks along the way. With Game's recent comments on feeling torn about beefing with another Black artist while the Black Lives Matter movement continues, this one seems like it will die down pretty soon as well. All we'll have left is Game's "Meeky Mouse" line, and we'll all have to be okay with that.
Honorable Mention: Game's 2014 diss track "Bigger Than Me," which came pretty much out of nowhere and dissed everyone from Frank Ocean to 40 Glocc to XXL Magazine's 2014 Freshman Class (which, it should be noted, included Lil Durk and helped fuel part of their beef). This one doesn't make the list because, frankly, no one really responded and it came and went without too much fuss. Sometimes, it seems, Game just disses because he feels like dissing.
Honorable Mention No. 2: There are several beefs that Game commented on or stepped into without actively participating, and one of them was the long-running blood feud between 50 Cent and Rick Ross. Despite his animosity with Fif, however, Game sided with his former G-Unit boss in 2009, at least in the spirit of the beef, saying that 50 was winning and Ross needed to step up: "Rick Ross, holla at ya boy, man. 50 eating you, boy."
Honorable Mention No. 3: For as much as The Game has tried to end beefs -- the multiple olive branches offered to 50 Cent, his involvement in the West Coast Peace Treaty -- he has never truly been able to stop himself from getting involved in them. To that point, some shout outs to others Game has gotten into feuds with or dissed over the years: Benzino, Bishop Lamont, Xzibit, Guerilla Black, Lil B, JT the Bigga Figga, Olivia and every other member of G-Unit who may have been tangentially connected to the crew that hasn't been previously named. There are many.