Celebrity infighting used to be reserved for behind closed doors, and if things ever leaked to the public, it couldn’t be proven definitively outside of a publicist confirmation or video footage.
Social media has completely changed that, and celebrities are not waiting on their publicists to approve their next tweet.
Now, all it takes is an ill-advised 140-character tweet or an open letter posted to Facebook to start up a celebrity feud, and 2018 served up some major drama.
From father-and-son fights between Brandon Lee and Tommy Lee to hip-hop beef with Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly, Drake and Pusha T and Ja Rule and 50 Cent, the biggest celebs took each other on in highly publicized battles in 2018.
Here’s a closer look at eight of the biggest celebrity feuds of the year.
1. Nicki Minaj and Cardi B
Some would say the beef began when Cardi B stepped on stage at the Hot 97 Summer Jam with Nicki Minaj‘s friend-turned-enemy Remy Ma in June 2017, but others would say it came down to the Migos song Motorsport featuring Cardi B and Minaj.
In an interview with UK’s Capital Xtra in November 2017, Cardi B detailed her issues with Minaj allegedly re-recording her verse for Motorsport.
“When I heard the track, her verse wasn’t finished — well, it’s not the verse that is out right now — and Quavo told me to get on the song, and I just felt like it was a perfect opportunity for me to be on a track that’s big like that,” Cardi B said.
Minaj addressed the tension between the two rappers in April.
“The only thing with Cardi that really, really hurt my feelings was the first interview she did after Motorsport came out,” Minaj told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe.
“I remember when I first came in the game, if a female of that stature had done a feature with me on it, I would only be singing their praises and saying thank you. The first interview she did after Motorsport came out, it just really hurt me. She looked so aggravated and angry, and the only thing she said was: ‘Oh, I didn’t hear that. I didn’t hear that verse.’ I was like what?”
Things escalated in September after footage of a physical altercation between the rappers at the Harper’s Bazaar Icon party was released.
Minaj and Cardi B also had an incident that got physical at a New York Fashion Week party, leaving Cardi B with a mark on her head. In one of several videos posted to social media, Cardi B, wearing a red dress, can be seen lunging towards Minaj before throwing a shoe at the rapper as their security teams break it up.
Minaj said that Cardi B had been attacked by Rah Ali, Minaj’s friend who was also Cardi B’s co-star on Love and Hip Hop New York.
According to Minaj, “Rah held her head and punched her like eight, nine times, and I could hear it. I’m talking like the hardest punch you’ve ever heard in your life.”
Minaj was quiet after the incident, but Cardi B posted about the altercation on Instagram.
“I’ve let a lot of s**t slide! I let you sneak diss me, I let you lie on me, I let you attempt to stop my bags, f**k up the way I eat,” Cardi B wrote. “You’ve threaten [sic] other artists in the industry, told them if they work with me you’ll stop f**kin with them!! I let you talk big s**t about me!!”
Minaj has denied Cardi B’s claims that she talked negatively about her daughter, Kulture, and her parenting as well as claims Minaj stopped Cardi B’s paycheques.
In October, the pair called a truce on social media after Minaj tweeted that she wanted to focus on “positive things.” Cardi B took a screenshot of the tweet and posted it to Instagram, captioning it: “@Nickiminaj alright then! Let’s keep it positive and keeping it pushing!”
@Nickiminaj alright then! Let’s keep it positive and keep it pushing!
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2. Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner
Credit: Getty Images
It all began when Minaj’s latest album, Queen, failed to debut at No. 1 and the Barbie Dreams rapper decided to blame everyone, including Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner.
On Aug. 19, Minaj’s album fell behind Scott’s No. 1 album Astroworld, which was on its second week at No. 1. Billboard reported at the time that Minaj’s album sold 185,000 album equivalents to Scott’s 205,000. Both albums sold around the same amount in digital downloads and physical purchases, but Scott’s passed hers on streaming, which led to him pulling ahead in the overall total.
Minaj then took to Twitter, accusing Scott and Jenner, Spotify and even her own record label of ruining her sales. She said that Scott cheated the charts by boosting his album sales with album-tour-merch bundles.
“Travis sold over 50K of these. With no requirement of redeeming the album! With no dates for a tour, etc. I spoke to him. He knows he doesn’t have the #1 album this week,” she wrote with a screenshot of Jenner’s Instagram post.
“I put my blood sweat & tears in writing a dope album only for Travis Scott to have Kylie Jenner post a tour pass telling ppl to come see her & Stormi. lol. Im actually laughing. #Queen broke the record of being number 1 in 86 countries. Thank Jesus & thank you to my fans,” Minaj tweeted.
On Aug. 20, Scott reportedly requested a seat change to the opposite side of the room for both himself and Jenner after learning that they’d be seated directly behind Minaj at the 2018 VMAs.
On Aug. 21, Minaj hosted her fourth episode of Queen radio on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio and continued her battle against Scott. She declared him “H*e N***a of the Week” as part of her episodic awards.
“What we’re not gonna do is have that autotune man selling f**king sweaters telling you he sold half a million albums because he f**king didn’t,” she said. “You stupid f**k. You got your f**king homeboy talking for you and you got your girlfriend selling tour passes. Stop it. Knock it the f**k off… When [Travis] comes along and sells a tour pass that has nothing to do with his f**king music and says he’s sold more than Kanye West and Nas — no you f**king didn’t, keep it the f**k real. I know I’m that b**ch, I know I’m No. 1.”
On Aug. 22, TMZ posted footage of Jenner nearly running into the Barbie Dreams rapper on the VMAs red carpet but stopping and turning the other way before they could have any interaction.
It’s unclear if this drama has been resolved.
3. Tommy Lee and Brandon Lee
(L-R): Tommy Lee and Brandon Lee. Credit: Getty Images
In March, Tommy Lee alleged that his 21-year-old son Brandon knocked him unconscious during a physical altercation. The altercation allegedly broke out between Lee and his son, whose mother is Pamela Anderson, on March 5. No arrests were made, however Lee was transported to a nearby hospital after his son allegedly gave him a fat lip.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to an incident at Lee’s Calabasas, Calif., home. Authorities confirmed that Lee was transported to the hospital the same night.
Tommy posted a photo of himself with a bloodied lip.
“My heart is broken,” Tommy wrote in the since-deleted post. “You can give your kids everything they could ever want in their entire lives, and they can still turn against you. Good job, Brandon! Great son!”
He also tweeted on March 6: “My fiancé and I were in bed when my son busted into the room and assaulted me. I asked him to leave the house, and he knocked me unconscious. He ran away from the police. THAT’S the truth.”
In April, the case against Brandon had been dropped after Lee “chose not to cooperate” with the criminal investigation. The L.A. District Attorney’s office confirmed that it had declined to press charges against Brandon due to victim unavailability.
4. Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly
(L-R): Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly. Credit: Getty Images
In August, when Eminem released his surprise album, Kamikaze, he decided to take aim at fellow rappers Lil Yachty, Drake, Lil Pump, Tyler the Creator, Joe Budden, Lil Xan, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) and more.
Eminem directed some rhymes at Cleveland rapper MGK on the song Not Alike.
“But next time you don’t gotta use Tech N9ne if you wanna come at me with a submachine-gun / And I’m talking to you but you already know who the f*** you are, Kelly / I don’t use sublims and sure as f*** don’t sneak diss / But keep commenting on my daughter Hailie…”
The lyrics stem from a 2012 tweet MGK posted commenting on how attractive he thought Eminem’s daughter was. She was 16 years old at the time, and MGK was 21.
It said: “Okay, so I just saw a picture of Eminem’s daughter … and I have to say, she is hot as f**k, in the most respectful way possible because Em is king.”
In response to this, MGK released Rap Devil (a poke at the Eminem moniker, Rap God), a track that held no punches. It shot straight to No. 1 on iTunes and sparked a huge controversy in the hip-hop community.
Eminem was quick with a comeback and put out the fiery diss track Killshot. The artwork featured the likeness of MGK with two crosses emblazoned over his eyes, topped off with the crosshair of a gun to truly mark the kill shot. The MGK diss track hit more than 36 million views within its first 24 hours.
MGK was quick to respond with an Instagram post, captioned: “He missed.” The picture shows MGK standing in front of a crowd wearing a Killshot shirt, middle finger held high.
he missed. ???♂️???#legshot #rapdevilstillNUMBERONE #letstalkaboutit ???
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5. Drake and Pusha T
(L-R): Drake and Pusha T. Credit: Getty Images
The beef between these two rappers runs a long timeline, but in 2018 Pusha T reignited the feud with his track Infrared. In May, Pusha T released his new album Daytona, which was produced entirely by Kanye West.
On Infrared, Pusha T continues to question Drake’s lyrical abilities, saying: “It was written like Nas but it came from Quentin.” The lyric refers to Quentin Miller, a rapper who Pusha T believes has been ghostwriting for Drake.
Drake responded to Infrared with his Duppy Freestyle, in which he dissed West, rapping: “What do you really think of the n***a that’s making your beats? / I’ve done things for him I thought he never would need / Father had to stretch his hands out and get it from me / I pop style for 30 hours, then let him repeat.”
The Toronto rapper continued by saying he bought a signed Pusha T microphone, but the autograph faded and he compared that to Pusha T’s career.
“I had a microphone of yours, but then the signature faded / I think that pretty much resembles what’s been happenin’ lately,” Drake rapped. He then requested to be paid by Pusha T and West for the publicity they were receiving from him.
Pusha T retweeted Drake’s song and wrote: “Send the invoice for the extra 20…”
Drake then posted a draft of an invoice requesting US$100,000 from the G.O.O.D. Music for “promotional assistance and career reviving” and tagged Pusha T in the post on Instagram.
You’re welcome. ?
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Following that exchange, Pusha T declared that Drake had been hiding a child on his Drake exposé, The Story of Adidon. The cover art is an old photo of Drake in blackface by photographer David Leyes.
“Sophie knows better, ask your baby mother / Cleaned her up for IG, but the stench is on her / A baby’s involved, it’s deeper than rap / We talkin’ character, let me keep with the facts / You are hiding a child, let that boy come home / Deadbeat mothaf**ka playin’ border patrol, ooh / Adonis is your son / And he deserves more than an Adidas press run, that’s real / Love that baby, respect that girl / Forget she’s a porn star, let her be your world,” Pusha T rapped.
In June, Drake appeared to confirm that he secretly fathered his first child — putting to rest a rumour that’s been circulating on gossip websites.
“I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid,” the Toronto star raps on Emotionless. He continues: “From empty souls who just wake up and looked to debate / Until you starin’ at your seed, you can never relate.”
Drake never retaliated against Pusha T again because his mentor, J. Prince, allegedly said that Drake’s response, which had apparently already been recorded, would’ve been too “overwhelming” and damaging to Kanye West’s family and Pusha T’s career.
On album opener Survival, Drake reveals why he stayed quiet, saying he didn’t want this rap beef to turn deadly: “I’ve seen this movie a hundred times, I know where it’s headed / Realize someone gotta die when no one will dead it / N***as gambling with their life for some content / That’s the type of lottery that could get your top picked.”
On Oct. 12, LeBron James aired the second episode of his HBO show The Shop. Drake appeared on the show and said that he had initially played March 14 for West, which is a song about his son. Drake claims West took that information and gave it to Pusha T.
“I’m in Wyoming, I play him March 14,” Drake said. “I send him a picture of my son. I tell him I’m having trouble with my son’s mother. We had a conversation.”
In November, Pusha T performed at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, where a brawl broke out during his performance.
Video circulating on social media appeared to show a fight between multiple people after fans threw liquid at the rapper while he was on stage.
Pusha T replied to the incident in a tweet following the concert saying he was not assaulted on stage.
“Don’t spread these lies!!! Thats [sic] not Pusha – T getting punished on stage,” the tweet said.
Pusha T returned to the stage to perform Infrared and claimed that the people throwing beer were being paid to attack him. Three were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the altercation.
6. Ja Rule and 50 Cent
(L-R): Ja Rule and 50 Cent. Credit: Getty Images
These two rappers have been involved in a longstanding feud since 1999 following multiple physical altercations, but in October, 50 Cent took it upon himself to boost Ja Rule’s ticket sales for his show on Nov. 9 in Arlington, Texas.
Ja Rule’s ticket sales weren’t doing great and resulted in an exclusive Groupon sale, which priced tickets at US$15. 50 Cent dropped $3,000 after buying 200 tickets under his name. He posted several photos to Instagram including a Photoshopped image of him sitting among a row of empty seats. He said, “Lol, at $15 a pop you can’t lose, I got 200 tickets for 3 bands.”
Lol at $15 a pop you can’t lose, I got 200 tickets for 3 bands. ?#bellator #lecheminduroi
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LOL?Damn Boy you put on a hell of a show. ?get the strap #bellator #lecheminduroi
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Ja Rule seemed unbothered and tweeted at 50 Cent.
“I get under 50 Cent’s skin. I love it! #iconn,” he wrote.
Ja Rule also posted a superimposed photo of 50 Cent fashioning tidy makeup, earrings and a feminine wig.
He wrote: “This beef is a joke to everyone except this lil ape looking b***h. She mad mad!”
50 Cent responded by posting a photo of an empty Arlington Backyard venue featuring him, dead centre, sporting a smile.
He said: “What a show, I mean just f**king great. Do it again, my kid went to the restroom LOL.”
In November, 50 Cent decided to block Ja Rule on all forms of social media, allowing no further contact. Ja Rule took that as a surrender from the In Da Club rapper.
In an Instagram comment, 50 Cent further insinuated that their beef will never end.
“South Side rules apply, it’s never over,” he wrote. “We may take a break, but it ain’t over til one of us gone.”
7. Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson
(L-R): Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson. Credit: Getty Images
Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande split on Oct. 14, but the Saturday Night Live (SNL) star made jokes at the expense of his ex-fiancée in early November.
During a promo clip for an episode of SNL, Davidson jokingly proposed to musical guest Maggie Rogers while Jonah Hill was standing between them.
“Hey Maggie, I’m Pete. You wanna get married?” Davidson asks as soon as Hill introduces her. When Rogers rejects Davidson’s offer, he mutters: “Zero for three.”
The 24-year-old SNL star met Grande while she was hosting and performing as a musical guest on SNL in 2016.
Soon after the promo was released, Grande tweeted “for somebody who claims to hate relevancy u sure love clinging to it huh.”
She also tweeted, “Thank u, next” and “k that’s the last time we do that” before deleting those tweets as well.
On Nov. 3, Grande release a track inspired by her ex-boyfriends, titled Thank U, Next.
She did confirm that her exes had heard the breakup track before she released it.
Some of the lyrics read:
“Even almost got married / And for Pete I’m so thankful / Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm [Miller] / Cause he was an angel / Look what you taught me / And for that I say / Thank u, next / I’m so f**king grateful for my ex.”
8. Kanye West vs. Kanye West
(L-R): Kanye West and Kanye West. Credit: Getty Images
“It’s been a shaky-ass year,” Kanye West rapped on his newest album, Ye. In January, he welcomed his third child, Chicago West, with wife Kim Kardashian-West.
But then West got very political again. In April, West faced criticism after he praised conservative activist Candace Owens, known for her opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, among other controversial views. The rapper took to Twitter to write: “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.”
Owens is an activist currently serving as the communications director for Turning Point USA and specializing in “urban engagement.” The organization is a non-profit aimed at delivering far-right ideology on university campuses around the country — and is reportedly aligned with the Trump administration.
West sent out multiple tweets after tweeting about Owens. In a series of tweets, he wrote: “People demonize people and then they demonize anybody who sees anything positive in someone whose [sic] been demonized.”
He continued: “People respect people for following the general trend and consensus… there was a time when slavery was the trend and apparently that time is still upon us. But now it’s a mentality. … self victimization is a disease.”
On April 25, West tweeted (in a now-deleted tweet) his support for the U.S. president, calling Donald Trump “my brother,” and he showed off his signed “Make America Great Again” hat.
In a follow-up tweet, West wrote: “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.”
Trump actually responded to West.
On April 26, West returned to Twitter to share a private text message conversation he had with singer John Legend. Legend reached out to West privately.
“Hey, it’s JL. I hope you’ll reconsider aligning yourself with Trump. You’re way too powerful and influential to endorse who he is and what he stands for. As you know, what you say really means something to your fans. They are loyal to you and respect your opinion,” Legend’s text read.
The text message continued: “So many people who love you feel so betrayed right now because they know the harm that Trump’s policies cause, especially to people of colour. Don’t let this be part of your legacy. You’re the greatest artist of our generation.”
In response, West said: “I love you John and I appreciate your thoughts. You bringing up my fans or my legacy is a tactic based on fear used to manipulate my free thought.”
West explained his decision to share the screenshot of the private conversation with Legend in a tweet.
“I tweeted the John text to show that there are people around me that disagree with me and voice their opinion,” West tweeted afterwards. “I respect everyone’s opinion but I stand my ground.”
In another followup tweet, he argued: “If you feel something, don’t let peer pressure manipulate you.”
In May, following the release of an extensive sit-down interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God, West appeared on TMZ Live with founder Harvey Levin.
He made several startling statements and defended his support of Trump as well as his posting of a photo of himself on social media wearing a MAGA hat.
The Life of Pablo rapper said he loves his “boy” Trump and added: “So many rappers [used to] love Trump, but then he get into office, and now they don’t love him. Trump is one of rap’s favourite people.”
West then transitioned to the discussion of race, stating: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years and there’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.”
He continued: “I like the word ‘imprisoned’ because slavery goes too directly to the idea of blacks … so prison is something that unites us as one race. Blacks and whites being one race. That we’re the human race.”
This caused Van Lathan, a TMZ employee, to speak up and voice his disapproval for West’s “absence of thought.”
“Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion. You’re entitled to believe whatever you want, but there is fact and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said. While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives,” Lathan said to West.
The TMZ employee continued: “We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice. Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled.”
“And brother, I’m unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something [that], to me, is not real,” Lathan concluded.
West responded by approaching Lathan and saying: “I’m sorry I hurt you.”
Many people were shocked by West’s remarks on TMZ Live.
On Sept. 29, West was the musical guest on SNL‘s Season 44 premiere, and as the show ended, he took the stage wearing a MAGA hat and gave an unscripted pro-Trump speech after the credits rolled.
“I want to cry right now,” the rapper said into the mic. “Black man in America, you’re supposed to keep what you feel inside right now. And the liberals bully you and tell you what you can and cannot wear, where you and they can’t not stare. And they look at me and say, ‘It’s not fair. How the hell did you get here?’ Well…”
He continued: “Actually, blacks weren’t always Democrats. It’s like a plan they did to take the fathers out the homes and promote welfare. Does anybody know about that? That’s the Democratic plan.”
He went on to suggest that the SNL cast had tried to stop him from using the platform to make a political statement.
West posted a message on Twitter explaining why he wore the MAGA hat after the show aired.
“This represents good and America becoming whole again,” he wrote. “We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment.
“Message sent with love.”
It’s going to be hard to predict what type of drama will get stirred up in 2019.
—With files from Chris Jancelewicz, Adam Wallis and Rahul Kalvapalle
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