The 10 Best Feuds of 2017: Which Artists Had the Best Beef This Year?

From left: Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber & Marilyn Manson
Getty Images; Design by Jessica Xie

From left: Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber & Marilyn Manson

Each year sees its fair share of feuds among celebrities of all kinds, but the music world has seen the resurrection of some ancient feuds (as well as the start of some bizarre new ones) in 2017.  

Why cry over spilled milk when you can write a Hot 100-charting dis track, sabotage your enemy’s album rollout and/or offer up some quotable soundbites on Howard Stern’s radio show? Up-and-comers and A-list celebrities alike proved that they have pedigrees in pettiness, and the public has been more than happy to watch.  

Below, Billboard breaks down the juiciest most high-profile beefs in popular music this year.     

10. Jake Paul vs. Alissa Violet

Jake Paul might be the most divisive teen star in history with accusations of bullying, racism and turning his LA neighborhood into a playground for his pranks. But in an online culture that thrives on pettiness, his feud with fellow Vine star and ex-girlfriend Alissa Violet will go down in history. The two social media stars moved to California together to start Team 10, a social media collective of teen celebrities. The two produced a steady stream of content together from their shared luxury mansion, but things went south when Paul kicked Violet out of Team 10.    

The ex-couple formerly known as #Jalissa lobbed accusations back and forth at each other about cheating and manipulation. The he-said-she-said culminated in two Hot 100-charting diss tracks. Paul’s “It’s Everday Bro” with Team 10 peaked at No. 91 while Violet’s response with RiceGum, “It’s Everynight Sis,” peaked at No. 80. Clearly, a different kind of #ship has sailed.  

9. Yo Gotti vs. Young Dolph

Yo Gotti has experienced an impressive comeback in the last two years: he released his eighth album The Art of Hustle last year (assisted by Nicki Minaj on the "Down in the DM" remix), and earlier this year released a joint mixtape with Mike WiLL Made-It that spawned another great collab with Minaj, "Rake It Up." Meanwhile, Gotti and fellow Memphis rapper Young Dolph have been entangled in a highly publicized beef for years, which climaxed in September when Dolph was shot several times at the same hotel where Gotti and his crew were staying.

Less than a month after suffering gunshot wounds and being hospitalized in critical condition, Dolph released his third album Thinking Out Loud in October -- a week before Gotti released his newest album I Still Am. 

8. Azealia Banks vs. Cardi B

Azealia Banks has beefed with an always-growing number of artists -- from rap heavyweights Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky to Remy Ma more recently -- and even this year's breakout rap star Cardi B wasn't immune to Banks's digital fury. Banks said that while she enjoyed Cardi's music, she protesting that "black men in hiphop should have gotten me, remy AND nicki a number one before they gave cardi or iggy [Azalea] one," and even dubbed Cardi "the poor man's Nicki Minaj." Cardi responded in a classically Cardi way, posting a video of Banks dancing at a club to "Bodak Yellow."

7. Justin Bieber vs. Marilyn Manson

It all started with a Marilyn Manson shirt. Justin Bieber repped the Antichrist Superstar’s swag on tour, later telling Manson, “I made you relevant again.” In a Consequence of Sound interview, the shock-rocker called out the Bieb’s arrogance and said he was a “real piece of shit.” The “Sorry” singer later apologized to Manson over text messages shared in the latter’s interview with Howard Stern.

The on-and-off beef underwent a brief respite with Manson teasing a potential collaboration. But that moment of peace ended in October when Manson said Bieber has the “mind of a squirrel.” We’ll have to wait for Manson’s next interview to see where their odd feud ends up next.

6. Julian Casablancas vs. Ryan Adams

The early aughts not only marked the NYC rock revival, but also the emergence of a feud between Ryan Adams and The Strokes. According to Meet Me in the Bathroom, the oral history of New York's 21st-century rock scene released this year, Strokes members reportedly voted to ban the “Come Pick Me Up” singer for influencing Albert Hammond Jr. to do heroin. Julian Casablancas allegedly threatened to beat up Adams if he came near the guitarist. The frontman is quoted as saying, ““Did I specifically tell Ryan to stay away from Albert? I can’t remember the details, to be honest. I think heroin just kind of crosses a line. It can take a person’s soul away.”

In response, Adams whipped up a Twitter storm directed at the alt-rock band, claiming that his former friend is a worse songwriter than his dad, Albert Hammond Sr. and that Casablancas is “strung out on lasagna.” The bizarre tweets appear to have since been deleted.

5. Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry

Back in 2014, all anyone could seem to talk about were theories swirling around an ongoing feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, which started with dancers who left Swift’s Red Tour to join Perry. “Swish Swish,” advance single from Perry's Witness album, is ostensibly her response to Swift’s “Bad Blood" -- featuring none other than Minaj, who had a disagreement of her own with Swift in 2015. #Squad member Ruby Rose tweeted that the track was “a sloppy mess of writing over the top of Funkagenda.”

Perry later addressed the feud in an interview on Carpool Karaoke: “She started it. And it’s time for her to finish it. I tried to talk to her about it, and she wouldn’t speak to me.” Then, many hypothesized that Swift had perhaps thrown some light shade over the release of Perry's Witness album by releasing her catalog on streaming services the same day in June -- though sources close to the situation roundly denied any connection between the two occurrences. Regardless, let’s hope this bad blood doesn’t spill over into 2018.

4. Camila Cabello vs. Fifth Harmony

Like fellow X Factor group One Direction before them, Fifth Harmony was down one member this year as Camila Cabello began pursuing her own solo career in late 2016, leading to contradicting accounts of the split and some messy fallout to follow. When the group performed at the VMAs earlier this year, they kicked off their performance (no pun intended) with a faceless stunt double -- presumably meant to stand for Cabello -- falling backwards off the stage, leaving the four girls to perform their new music, one of many explicit or implied comments the group has made about the departed original member.

Cabello, who has mostly refrained from responding, is enters 2018 gearing up to release her self-titled debut solo album January 14th -- after the tremendous pop success of "Havana," her love letter to her Cuban homeland. 

3. JAY-Z vs. Kanye West

Longtime friends and collborators JAY-Z and Kanye West have had their fair share of tiffs throughout their expansive careers, and up until this year, JAY deemed them nothing more than brotherly arguments. At the end of last year, though, Kanye launched into an onstage rant calling out Jay as well as his wife Beyonc√©, which didn't sit right with the 4:44 mastermind. Jay, upset that Kanye would bring Jay's family into it, said that 'Ye crossed the line. After not receiving any comment from 'Ye, Jay took what could be interpreted as a few jabs at him on his new album, with lines like "you ain't a Saint, this ain't KumbaYe." Looks like the ever-rumored Watch the Throne 2 won't be happening anytime soon. 

2. Nicki Minaj vs. Remy Ma

Until this year, Lil Kim and Foxy Brown's feud nearly 20 years ago was the most electrifying beef between female rappers, before the currently reigning "Queen of Rap" Nicki Minaj took a couple rumored shots at Remy Ma in a few of her guest verses. Remy responded with "Shether," an epic 7-minute diss track set to Nas's "Ether," his vicious diss of Jay-Z from 2001. Minaj responded with "No Frauds," even performing the song as part of her opening medley at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, but the beef eventually trailed off as the year progressed. Remy is gearing up to release her sophomore album 7 Winters & 6 Summers early next year; Minaj's fourth album is supposedly also in the works. 

1. Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West

Everyone in the English-speaking world knows this feud of Shakespearean proportions goes all the way back to 2009, when West stormed Swift’s acceptance speech by declaring Beyonce should’ve won. Last year saw Kimye putting the last nail in the coffin of The Old Taylor with a series of Snapchat “receipts” that prompted snake emojis to become associated with -- and later reclaimed by -- her strategically constructed brand.

The country-turned-pop star withdrew from the public eye for a while, only to emerge in 2017 with a new album, Reputation, that thematically centers on her image’s fall from grace. While there are no overt references to the rapper on the album, Swift notoriously writes in riddles that are traceable enough to enter the national discourse.

“Look What You Made Me Do” has been widely interpreted as aimed at West because, among other clues, she sings, “I don’t like your tilted stage” -- likely a reference to the stage suspended in midair that could be seen on the rapper’s Saint Pablo tour. And on the album's "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things," she seems to bemoan the intentions behind Kim and Kanye's Snapchat reveal ("Friends don't try to trick you/ Get you on the phone and mind-twist you"), later offering forgiveness, only to break out in sarcastic laughter ("I can't even say it with a straight face!").

It's been virtually unchallenged as pop's preeminent feud for nearly a decade now, so why should 2017 -- or 2018, for that matter -- be any different? 

Billboard Year in Music 2017


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