Musicians Who Slammed Famous People In Their Lyrics

The following article includes brief references to child abuse and sexual assault.

Celebrity feuds have always existed, with some stars even holding grudges for decades. But social media has made it so much easier for their beef to become public knowledge. Take Rihanna and Ciara, for example. During a 2011 appearance on E!'s "Fashion Police," the "1, 2 Step" hitmaker called out RiRi for allegedly not being very pleasant toward her at an event. This resulted in Rihanna clapping back on Twitter, writing, "My bad ci, did I 4get to tip u? #howrudeofme." It didn't take long for Ciara to respond by tweeting out, "Trust me Rhianna u don't want to see me on or off the stage." Rihanna, however, wasn't willing to let it go and took her shade to another level with, "Good luck with bookin that stage u speak of." Ouch.

There was also the time that Kim Kardashian shared a nude selfie of herself in 2016, leading actor Chloë Grace Moretz to directly reply to her post and give the reality star a piece of her mind: "I truly hope you realize how important setting goals are for young women, teaching them we have so much more to offer than-." Kardashian, however, made sure her response was nothing short of epic, tweeting, "let's all welcome @ChloeGMoretz to twitter, since no one knows who she is. your nylon cover is cute boo."

While countless stars have used social media to get their feelings off their chest (and keep us glued to our screens), there have been many occasions where musicians have used their own lyrics to express their grievances and slam other famous people.

Gwen Stefani didn't take Courtney Love's words lightly

If there is one solo song by Gwen Stefani that everyone knows, it's "Hollaback Girl." While the 2005 pop anthem might sound like a carefree song that taught us how to spell bananas, it has been highly speculated that the lyrics are a response to Hole frontwoman Courtney Love after the "Celebrity Skin" hitmaker threw shade at Stefani. Speaking with Seventeen (via Goat), Love compared fame to high school and didn't refer to No Doubt singer in the most complimentary of ways, saying, "I'm not interested in being Gwen Stefani. She's the cheerleader, and I'm out in the smoker shed."

Stefani quickly got her own back when she teamed up with Pharrell Williams to make the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single "Hollaback Girl." Not only did the opening lyrics in the first verse seem to immediately respond to the negative comment — "I heard that you were talking s**t / And you didn't think that I would hear it / People hear you talking like that / Getting everybody fired up" — but Stefani also made sure the music video featured herself as the queen cheerleader of her squad. 

While Stefani has never publicly confirmed this song is indeed about Love, it admittedly seems pretty likely given the timeline and the video's theme. During her 2016 "Carpool Karaoke" appearance on "The Late Late Show with James Corden," Stefani stated she would never reveal the real meaning behind the track, but went on to insist, "All I will say is I won."

Kacey Musgraves bashed Ted Cruz in a live performance

Kacey Musgraves is never one to hold back, is she? During an Austin City Limits Music Festival performance held in October 2022, she made sure the crowd knew how she felt about Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. While singing her song "High Horse" — taken from the "Golden Hour" record that won her album of the year at the 2019 Grammys — Musgraves can be seen in a video shared to Twitter switching up the lyrics and singing, "'Cause everyone knows someone who kills the buzz, every time they open their mouth — Ted Cruz." Fans immediately screamed and applauded the singer, to which she responded with, "I said what I said."

This wasn't the first — or probably the last — time that Musgraves would be giving her two cents about Cruz. Around the time of the winter weather crisis in the Lone Star State in February 2021, Cruz took a controversial trip to Mexico, which was met with a lot of criticism, per BBC News. Musgraves was one of many people outraged by the situation and decided to make merchandise to support those in desperate need. "All proceeds will directly support Texans affected by the storm and also to homeless immigrants seeking shelter and food," she tweeted. This wasn't any old merch, however. As noted by Pitchfork, the t-shirts took a direct dig at Cruz as they had the slogan "Cruzin' for a Bruzin'" written across them.

Drake got his own back on Meek Mill

Drake's feud with fellow rapper Meek Mill first went viral in 2015 after Mill accused Drake of hiring ghostwriters to write his lyrics in a since-deleted tweet (via E! News). The Canadian rapper couldn't have been pleased with the accusations and subsequently wrote a couple of diss tracks about Mill. The first was titled "Charged Up." However, the follow-up, "Back to Back," was the one that really popped off, per Mic.

In the first verse, Drake implies that Mill's then-girlfriend, Nicki Minaj — whose tour he served as the opening act for — was the superior and more successful one in their relationship, rapping, "You love her, then you gotta give the world to her / Is that a world tour or your girl's tour? / I know that you gotta be a thug for her / This ain't what she meant when she told you to open up more." Minaj aside, then Drake declares that Mill will also never be as successful as him either in the second verse: "I been puttin' on a show, it was a sell-out event / Oh, you need better seatin'." In the closing line of the song, Drake insists that he has no reason to write another diss track about Mill as he's said all he has to say. Instead, he declares he's going back in the studio to finish his next album.

At Drake's OVO Festival performance in 2015, he used the various memes that went viral online about Mill as the backdrop of his performance of the Grammy-nominated song.

Taylor Swift and Katy Perry had bad blood

Taylor Swift and Katy Perry were once known as good pals. But all of a sudden in 2012, it appeared they weren't ... and things got pretty ugly real quick. As noted by NBC News, one of the alleged reasons for their initial falling out was due to Perry dating Swift's ex, John Mayer. However, the two were also said to be fighting about backup dancers they both shared on tour, which Swift hinted at to Rolling Stone in 2014. "It wasn't even about a guy! It had to do with business," Swift claimed without name-dropping the "Hot N Cold" singer (via The Guardian). "She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. ... I was like, 'Oh, we're just straight-up enemies.'"

As a result, Swift wrote a track titled "Bad Blood," which has long been perceived as a personal diss against Perry. "Did you have to do this? / I was thinking that you could be trusted / Did you have to ruin / What was shining? Now it's all rusted," she sings during the first verse of the "1989" track. Its music video features a range of high-profile stars who are a part of Swift's squad and preparing to battle another girl gang led by real-life bestie Selena Gomez, who notably has dark hair like Perry. A coincidence? Hmm.

Soon after Swift's Rolling Stone interview, Perry took to Twitter with a seemingly indirect slam against her. "Watch out for the Regina George in sheep's clothing..." she wrote, making it pretty clear who Swift was singing about.

Katy Perry hit back at Taylor Swift on Swish Swish

Since Taylor Swift got to have her say on "Bad Blood," it was only fair that Katy Perry was allowed to respond through her 2017 single "Swish Swish," featuring Nicki Minaj. In the verse two lyrics, Perry doesn't hold back, expressing, "Your game is tired / You should retire / You're 'bout cute as / An old coupon expired / And karma's not a liar / She keeps receipts."

After singing the song with James Corden during her "Carpool Karaoke" segment on "The Late Late Show," Perry was pretty transparent about their ongoing feud, but claimed that Swift was the one who started it all. The "Waking Up In Vegas" hitmaker alleged that things started to spiral after three of her backing dancers chose to perform on tour with Swift; when it came time for them to join Perry back on the road the following year, they were apparently fired by Swift's management. Perry admitted she attempted to phone Swift and settle the situation but claimed that the "Look What You Made Me Do" singer-songwriter was having none of it and immediately stopped speaking to her. "It was a full shut down, and then she writes a song about me," Perry said, seemingly referring to Swift's "Bad Blood" single.

Ultimately, "Swish Swish" was where Perry and Swift's beef thankfully came to an end. The pair publicly made up two years later in Swift's music video for "You Need to Calm Down," in which they can be seen hugging it out while wearing matching hamburger and fries costumes.

A$AP Rocky directly put Rita Ora on blast

In A$AP Rocky's 2015 song "Better Things," he had no problem putting Rita Ora on blast. "I swear that b***h Rita Ora got a big mouth / Next time I see her might curse the b***h out / Kicked the b***h out once 'cause she b***h out," Rocky rapped in the second verse, before detailing an alleged sexual encounter they once had with a very NSFW lyric. 

During a subsequent appearance on "Sway in the Morning," Rocky explained why he directly dissed the British singer-songwriter in the song. "I got into a lot of trouble over her at times when I didn't need to, because she caused a lot of grief," he claimed. "... I said what I said." While Rocky stated he didn't warn Ora about the song in advance, he also insisted during a conversation with BBC Radio 1's Annie Mac (via Complex) that the verse about wasn't supposed to come across as negative. "I'm not saying she's a terrible person," he clarified. "I'm just saying that when I was in a relationship and I did things with her that I wasn't supposed to do, she had a big mouth."

For her part, Ora told Hot 97 that she enjoyed Rocky's music and didn't care what he said about her, but noted, "I don't want people to think it's okay to speak about women like that. That's it."

Big Sean regrets a song associated with Naya Rivera

Following Big Sean's split from "Glee" actor Naya Rivera, he wrote the scathing "I Don't F*** With You," which many assumed was him slating Rivera explicitly from start to finish. In the pre-chorus, Sean bluntly addresses one of his exes, rapping, "You lil' stupid a** b***h, I ain't f***in' wit'chu / I got a million trillion things I'd rather f***in' do." According to Sean's follow-up Complex interview, the whole song, which dropped in 2014, isn't about Rivera, but he did admit the last verse was inspired by their relationship: "I guess drama makes for the best content / Everything got a bad side, even a conscience / ... When you get a fine b***h, just don't forget to read the fine print / ... Yeah, I know that karma too real, so I hope you doin' cool."

While the song was a big hit for Sean and has become one of his signatures, he has since admitted to New York magazine that he would have never penned the track if he knew something so tragic was going to happen to her. Since Rivera's shocking death by accidental drowning in July 2020, Sean has expressed nothing but love toward her, saying, "She's made such an impact on people, and she's done so many great things in her life and her career that it was hurtful to even have that [song] be associated with her."

This Lily Allen anthem has been dedicated to numerous people

As time has gone on, Lily Allen's iconic middle finger anthem "F*** You" has been dedicated to numerous political figures. First released in 2009, the song was initially penned about the newly-out-of-office U.S. President George W. Bush, according to ET. In the second verse, for example, Allen sings about someone who is full of negativity: "Do you, do you really enjoy living a life that's so hateful?/ 'Cause there's a hole where your soul should be / You're losing control of it, and it's really distasteful." She also expresses how she disagrees with anyone who discriminates against others in verse one: "So you say it's not okay to be gay / Well, I think you're just evil / You're just some racist who can't tie my laces / Your point of view is medieval."

During her "No Shame" tour in 2018, Allen declared the catchy number's heightened relevancy to the political climate at that time and dedicated her rendition to then-President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, in June 2022, Allen performed the song at Glastonbury Festival alongside teen star Olivia Rodrigo. This time, it was dedicated to the five Supreme Court justices who ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade. "This song goes out to the justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh," Rodrigo told the crowd. "We hate you," both Allen and Rodrigo stated before performing the song, which quickly went viral.

Janet Jackson didn't hold back on her ex-husband

Janet Jackson might be a private star, but that doesn't mean her songs don't entail a lot about her personal life. After splitting from her second husband, Rene Elizondo, the "Feedback" hitmaker made sure to get a lot off her chest on her "Son of a Gun" single in 2001. In the song's intro, Jackson boldly opens with, "Thought you'd get the money too / Greedy motherf***ers / Try to have their cake and eat it too." Despite never confirming who the song is about, many fans assumed it was a direct hit at Elizondo. Even though he signed a prenuptial agreement, it was later reported that he was asking for $25 million in spousal support. As noted by Forbes, Elizondo would end up securing himself $10 million in 2003.

Meanwhile, in the song's first verse, Jackson implies that she was once with someone who was unfaithful, singing, "Hollerin' at everything that walks / No substance, just small talk / Know why you're feelin' on that girl's behind / You got a sleazy, one track mind / Workin' your work until you think you find / Who's goin' home with you tonight?" However, it seems clearer later in the song that she may in fact have been singing about Elizondo, considering Jackson whispers the line, "Stupid b***h in my beach house." 

According to a source cited by, the former couple shared a beach home in Malibu, which Jackson sold in 2004 as it was reportedly tainted with "too many bad memories."

Mariah Carey insisted Eminem is obsessed with her

Mariah Carey and Eminem don't get along. That appears to be common knowledge by now. As reported by Bro Bible, their fallout was kickstarted after Eminem publicly claimed the pair dated for half a year following a supposed meeting about a potential collab back in 2001. Seemingly annoyed by Carey's ongoing denial of the alleged relationship, Eminem began to reference the singer in a negative manner in numerous songs throughout the 2000s. Carey, however, largely kept her cool for years.

While she admittedly shaded Eminem in retaliation in her 2002 song "Clown," Carey endured ongoing jabs from the rapper before finally getting her own back in 2009's "Obsessed." "Why you so obsessed with me? Boy, I wanna know / Lying that you're sexing me, when everybody knows / It's clear that you're upset with me," she sings in the song's chorus. For its accompanying music video, Carey went all out and had no problem making sure the single was an obvious diss toward Slim Shady, portraying an obsessed male stalker fan wearing a tracksuit that is similar attire to what Eminem has worn in the past.

During an appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman," Carey expressed that she decided to write "Obsessed" because of Eminem's continuous lyrical references to her. The "Don't Forget About Us" hitmaker also dedicated it as an anthem for those who have to deal with mistreatment from "the boy [that's] really in love with them, and they can't be with them."

Eminem couldn't help but respond to Obsessed

Given the number of times Eminem has mentioned Mariah Carey in his songs — including 2002's "Superman" and "When the Music Stops," as well as 2006's "Jimmy Crack Corn," per Bro Bible — it's perhaps not very surprising that he also responded to her song "Obsessed." In Eminem's unofficial track "The Warning," the rapper says in part, "I'm obsessed now, oh gee / Is that supposed to be me in the video with the goatee?" He continues: "As long as that song's gettin' airplay, I'm dissin' you / I'm a hair away from gettin' carried away and gettin' sued."

Carey, however, isn't the only name he brings up on the track. At the time, the "We Belong Together" hitmaker was married to Nick Cannon, who had already gotten involved in their beef in a since-deleted blog post, per MTV News. So naturally, Eminem decided to diss him, too. "You think I'm scurred of you? / You're gonna ruin my career, you better get one," he raps after name-dropping Cannon several times and even using an anti-LGBTQ+ slur against him. Eminem also refers to the alleged sexual encounters he and Carey apparently had and claims he isn't lying about a thing, sharing he supposedly has photos and phone calls to prove he is being genuine.

To this day, "The Warning" has never had an official release, which we can only assume Carey and Cannon are happy about.

Remy Ma came for Nicki Minaj for seven whole minutes

Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj's lyrical feud almost seemed like a long time coming. As previously noted by Time, there had been speculation about whether the pair were low-key going at one another behind the scenes for a number of years. However, in 2017, it was clear the two were officially taking shots at one another. After Remy achieved her first platinum single for "All the Way Up," Minaj threw shade during her verse on Gucci Mane's "Make Love," questioning Remy's self-proclaimed queen status.

Remy wasn't having any of it and came for Minaj on a nearly seven-minute diss track titled "ShETHER." During the song's hook, Remy fires back, rapping, "You ain't the queen, I'll show you." Remy continues to question Minaj's status in the verse: "And to be the Queen of Rap, you gotta actually rap / The whole industry know that your s**t is a wrap / No, to be the Queen of Rap, you can't have a ghostwriter." 

Among other things, Remy goes on to allege that Minaj slept with Drake and Lil' Wayne — despite Minaj denying these claims in her 2014 song "Only" — had undergone botched surgery, and couldn't sexually satisfy her then-boyfriend, Meek Mill. She also slams the rapper for paying for her brother's wedding. For context, in 2020, it was reported by Page Six that he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being convicted of raping his stepdaughter. Minaj released "Another One" in response shortly after, furthering their longtime feud.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Nicki Minaj called Lil' Kim a 'has-been'

Nicki Minaj and Lil' Kim have not seen eye to eye for many years. According to Exclaim, Kim seemingly accused Minaj of copying her image in 2010 and also publicly slammed the rapper at several concerts. As noted by the outlet, Minaj remained quiet for the time being. However, when it came to releasing her debut album "Pink Friday" later that year, Minaj made sure to give Kim a piece of her mind on the fiery album track "Roman's Revenge" with Eminem. In the first verse, Minaj refers to Kim as a "has-been," while the lyrics, "I got bars, sentencin'," seemingly poke fun at Kim's one-year house arrest sentence in 2006 for perjury and conspiracy, per UPI.

In the third verse, Minaj continues to insist that the careers of Lil' Kim and other veteran female rappers are over, stating, "Is it my fault that all of you b****es gone? / Should've sent a thank-you note, you little h* / Now I'ma wrap your coffin with a bow." In the lyrics that follow, Minaj alleges that Kim is mad that she seemingly took "the spot" she previously held in the rap game.

In return, Kim wrote a diss track directly about Minaj titled "Black Friday," where she refers to her as a "Lil' Kim clone clown" and a "put-together gimmick" (via HuffPost).

Machine Gun Kelly wrote an Eminem diss track while drunk

Like a lot of musicians on this list, Machine Gun Kelly and Eminem's feud goes way back. According to Vibe, it all started when a 21-year-old Kelly inappropriately called Eminem's then 16-year-old daughter, Haile Jade, "hot as f***" in a since-deleted 2012 tweet. Yikes. Fast forward to 2018, when Eminem dropped his "Kamikaze" album, which features a Kelly diss track titled "Not Alike." In return, Kelly mocked Eminem's hit song "Rap God" with the release of "Rap Devil." 

During an appearance on the "Everyday Struggle" podcast in 2019 (via NME), Kelly confessed that he was inebriated when he wrote the song shortly after the release of "Kamikaze." In addition to criticizing Eminem's image (after being known for a more clean-shaven look for decades, the rapper debuted a beard around this time) in the first verse with, "Ayy, somebody grab him some clippers / His f***in' beard is weird," Kelly goes on to discuss the "Without Me" hitmaker's age and sobriety. He also insists Eminem's no longer on top of his game: "Somebody help your mans up / Knees weak of old age, The Real Slim Shady can't stand up." 

Kelly's song also declares that it took Eminem a long time to come back with his own diss track following the abovementioned tweet: "Mad about somethin' I said in 2012 / Took you six years and a surprise album just to come with a diss." Not one to remain silent, Eminem would slam MGK again on 2020's "Music To Be Murdered By – Side B," per The Sun.