Competition has been ingrained into hip-hop's lifeblood since the very beginning, with battle raps, cypher and freestyles springing up not long after DJ Kool Herc first birthed the genre.
Whether they're the product of macho posturing, perceived disrespect or commercial agendas instilled into fledgling artists by their labels, arguments or 'beefs' have been the source of both rampant innovation and heartache. With the rap industry's code of conduct irreconcilable with any other musical categorisation, the onus placed on respect, credibility and authenticity means that any snipe or jibe must be rebuked with swift and merciless verbal (or sometimes physical) retribution.
A key component of the rap game which has both enhanced careers and spelled the end for MC's that simply couldn't return from vicious putdowns or; in extreme cases, physical assaults on their lives, this age old test of a rapper's fortitude persists into the modern era with The Game recently levelling brutal remarks towards Meek Mill and the distinctly less street savvy Sean Kingston.
Charting those which were the source of infamous diss tracks and those which transcended music and into a more dangerous realm, here's a rundown of the most important beefs in the storied history of hip-hop to date.