The grime world started the new year with new beef as South London’s Stormzy and East London’s Wiley went head to head. But the art of clashing and below-the-belt dubs have always been important in grime. Here are the very best.
K Koke – ‘Listen Likkle Man’
Who’s it aimed at? Nines
Why were they beefing? Back in 2015, K Koke was the big face of North West London, with tracks like ‘Lay Down Your Weapons’ reaching the Top 20. But way before this, he and fellow North West resident Nines were on opposing teams due to the postcode war between Stonebridge (K Koke’s ends) and Church Road in Harrow (Nine’s ends). It’s unlikely the two will ever kiss and make up.
Harshest line: “Your brother died in ’06, the dickhead’s in the hood giving out turkeys / You got a nerve G”
Devilman – ‘Skepta Diss’
Who’s it aimed at? Skepta (The clue’s in the name…)
Why were they beefing? The most integral video series of grime – Lord Of The Mics – is where this beef began. Ever since their first clash, which is one of the most treasured in grime’s history, Devilman has been spitting bars dissing Skepta. After Chip dropped the ‘Pepper Riddim’ and mentioned the Brummie grime star’s name, in Devilman’s response, he said “Skepta” one too many times. This sparked Skepta to drop ‘Nasty’, and ‘Skepta Diss’ is Devilman’s response back.
Harshest line: “Nong xiaomi, ni hao, wun sen pars” – because who else spits bars in Chinese?
Chip – ‘Coward’
Who’s it aimed at? Tinie Tempah
Why were they beefing? In his 2014 ‘Fire In The Booth’ freestyle, Tempah was accused by Chip for sneak-dissing him when he rapped “Left the Pizza Boys who thought I wouldn’t deliver again / You say you’re going to be around, let’s see who is in the end”. Chip took this bar as Tempah mocking the fact that Sony Records dropped This led to Chip sending for Tempah on multiple occasions but never getting a reaction out of him. ‘Coward’ is surely the best of the bunch.
Harshest line: “Today lyrically, you’re in a neck lock / I’m not letting go, on my Jess Glynne”
Cadell – ‘Hotline 3’
Who’s it aimed at? Stormzy
Why were they beefing? Back in 2015, Cadell – who is actually Wiley’s half-brother – created this diss track called ‘Hotline’ going after multiple MCs in the game. But when Stormzy heard his name, he wasn’t happy about it. He started sending tracks back and we got a full-blown rap war between the young budding grime stars. But out of all his dubs, Cadell’s third hotline diss is full of great pars, but not quite good enough to win his beef with the Norbury native.
Harshest line: “And anytime I hear man talking shit / I’ma buy them a packet of AirWaves”
Skepta – ‘Nasty’
Who’s it aimed at? Devilman
Why were they beefing? As mentioned above, Devilman and Skepta’s Lord of The Mics clash had them at each other’s necks for some time. And even when Skepta was running around with the A$AP Mob and dropping ‘Konnichiwa’, he reminded the world that he’d still “merk” anyone on this track.
Harshest line: “Your bars sound like you’re smoking the work / Before you end up on the sex offenders list”
Bashy – ‘Fuck Wiley’
Who’s it aimed at? Wiley
Why were they beefing? At one of Wiley’s Eskimo Dance raves, Bashy alleged that Wiley turned his mic down during a clash. So what better way to deal with that pent up frustration than in a diss track?
Devlin – ‘Extra Extra’
Who’s it aimed at? Wiley
Why were they beefing? Wiley got beefing with the grime collective The Movement and since Devlin was heavily affiliated with the collective, he dragged himself into it too. Originally a member of the collective, Devlin spat vicious bars to protect his friends. But the origin story for Wiley’s initial beef with The Movement is confusing. Either he was upset that Scorcher dated his ex-girlfriend or that he and Ghetts were going back-and-forth over who was better.
Harshest line: “William, you’re a tit fake like silicone / Sniff’s got to your brain cells and it’s killing ‘em”
Durrty Goodz – ‘Cokey The Snowman’
Who’s it aimed at? Wiley
Why were they beefing? One day, a young Wiley heard Goodz spitting on pirate radio. But there was a line that didn’t stick well with him, and it was the one where Goodz changed his name from “Wiley” to “Will he?”. He took this bar as a direct send for him. He then started a war he couldn’t win with ‘Where’s my brother?’, in which Wiley accuses Goodz of being a snitch for getting his brother a life sentence for shooting a producer they had beef with. But once Goodz dropped this near eight-minute-long diss track, it was clear Wiley had lost the battle.
Harshest line: “There’s only two men in the world that love Mickey Mouse / You and Michael Jackson, let’s kick him out”
Wiley – ‘Nightbus Dubplate’
Who’s it aimed at? The Movement (Devlin, Scorcher, Mercston, Ghetts, etc)
Why were they beefing? This is the track that sparked Devlin’s killer ‘Extra Extra’, but Wiley’s assassination of eight other MCs is historic. Even on Stormzy’s ‘Wiley Flow’ (a homage to the Bow MC), he interpolated this track.
Harshest line: “Saw ’em on the stage and I rushed it, I’ve sussed it / Must be the same old kid in the dinner hall / Primary, eating apple crumble and custard”
Stormzy – ‘Shut Up’
Who’s it aimed at? Cadell
Why were they beefing? Cadell sent for Stormzy, and the more Cadell spoke, the more sends Stormzy sent back in attempt to shut him down. He didn’t stand a chance after this Top 20 hit. And to anyone who thinks he did, “Ay, rude boy, shut up!”
Harshest line: “These MCs wanna talk about Lord of the Mics / You ain’t even lord of your yard”