Moving the crowd may be the crux of what rap music is all about, but from a competitive level, showing, proving and testing your mettle against your contemporaries is what separates a superstar from an icon and a bonafide legend. Throughout the years, soloists and groups alike have battled on wax or in person, making for some of the most important and memorable moments in hip-hop history. Beginning with crews like The Cold Crush Brothers and The Fantastic Romantic Five dueling it for rap supremacy, the '80s would include numerous rivalries that would prove historical, with Kool Moe Dee and Busy Bee, MC Shan and Boogie Down Productions, and Rakim and Big Daddy Kane among the more notable match-ups of the decade.
As rap ushered into the '90s, rivalry and beef became a sign of the times, with a plethora of artists waging war against each other, sometimes the bad blood would escalate into actual violence. One particular instance where the high stakes would prove deadly was the east coast/west coast feud between Death Row and Bad Boy Records, which preceded the murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., briefly casting a cloud over the genre of rap and the culture itself. However, the hip-hop community would learn from this tragedy and make a concerted effort to keep things peaceful and to let their skills settle the score, with the epic battle between JAY-Z and Nas serving as an example of how history could be made without blood being shed.
Many casual rap fans may be familiar with the more popular beefs in rap history that usually dominate the conversation, but there is some electric war of words and rivalries that have not received the same fanfare but produced classic material and moments that will be remembered by die-hard rap fans for years to come. The Boombox compiled a list of 15 beefs and rivalries throughout the years that have flown under the radar and remain underrated.