Top Five Hip-Hop Foes Turned Friends
Some rivalries are beyond repair. You'll never catch Kobe and Shaq trading smiles at a joint family picnic. 50 Cent and The Game will still be mugging at each other at the 2021 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors. Batman will always despise that sonamabitch The Joker.
Truth be told, hip-hop is a competitive sport. Sometimes competitive firepower can turn friends into enemies. But once in a while, we'll see two warring sides move past their differences and break bread together.
In the light of the recent Trae/Z-Ro reunion, here are five other hip-hop rivals who later became buddies.
5. Joe Budden and Saigon
MTV Rap Fix
Joe Budden delivered the first blow when he released "Letter to Saigon" and labeled Saigon "desperate." Sai responded with a hastily banged-out missive of his own, "Underachiever." While Saigon's response packed a few uppercuts, he lost points by dragging Budden's son and girlfriend into the ring.
There's no quicker way to earn hip-hop's rarely bestowed douchebag label than by talking sideways about another man's family. Following the intervention of their mutual collaborator Just Blaze, the two rappers called a truce. To further affirm their friendship, they decided to cut a song together. The track, "Bring Me Down," appears on Saigon's oft-delayed album, Greatest Story Ever Told, due out in February.
Saigon told Rap Fix that he always respected Joe Budden. "I always thought Joe was dope, even when we were going through our little thing," Saigon said. "I always thought he was one of the more talented MCs. I look at it like you'd rather have a good guy on your team than play against them.
"I'm sure Dwayne Wade is happy he could pass the ball to LeBron [James] now, instead of trying to have to block one of those thunderous dunks."
4. T.I. and Ludacris
Tip and Luda went at each other's throat for years. One of the most memorable moments of their battle was when the two ATL-iens dissed each other on the same song - "Stomp," a posse cut from Young Buck's Straight Outta Cashville LP.
Luda would later clarify that he never had any personal conflict with Tip. He blamed the feud on the petty power play of the music biz. They later reconciled and teamed up for a proper collaboration on Luda's Theater of the Mind album. The news surprised the hell out of Atlanta rapper Alfamega at the time.
"It's showing that once great minds set their differences aside, they can make something happen," said Alfamega at the 2006 Ozone Awards. "That's two grown men, not two grown males, grown men!"
Houstonians remember the wrangle that forced these two former pals to go their separate ways after years of whipping up good music together. The duo broke up after their remarkable Get Ya Mind Correct LP. Koopa wound up in a war of words with the entire Swishahouse emporium.
Despite the feud, both men maintained some level of mutual respect for each other. Last summer, the melodically gifted Cham and his erstwhile partner in rhyme reunited onstage. Not only did they squash the beef, they went on a month-long tour together.
2. Eminem/D-12 and Royce da 5'9"
Eminem and Royce da 5'9" started out as friends. Some of you might even remember them as the duo Bad Meets Evil. As Em's career skyrocketed, the two Detroit natives grew apart. A slew of diss tracks later ensued between Royce and Em's D-12 crew.
The highlight of the battle was the potent diss "Malcolm X," in which Nickel Nine effectively limned Slim Shady's allies as marginally talented puppets. Not since Ice Cube vs. N.W.A. has one rapper single-handedly wrecked an entire group in battle. D-12 and Royce eventually squashed the beef and collaborated on a song from D-12's Return of the Dozen mixtape.
Earlier this week, Eminem officially announced that he had signed the Royce-led Slaughterhouse to Shady Records.
1. Jay-Z and Nas
Nas may be the only rapper to have survived major-label shafting, a bankrupting divorce, and a cage fight with one of the greatest rappers of all time. Jay probably thought he had a career-killer in "Takeover," and for a moment, everyone was readying a coffin for Nas' career. But Nas came back and stomped all over Jay with "Ether."
The beef lay dormant until October 2005 when Jay-Z held a concert dubbed "I Declare War." People were expecting him to reopen old wounds. Instead, he shook hands with Nas as the two officially declared peace.
They've gone on to share airtime on several songs, including "Black Republican," "Success," and "I Do It for Hip-Hop."
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.