10 of The Most Pivotal Grime Diss Tracks

Living in a society where competitiveness is championed and encouraged this pervasive mantra spills into all aspects of our lives, we’re always posturing to appear better than the next man, even down to the point where we find ourselves angling to get those much sought after likes on Facebook or retweets on Twitter, this is how we’ve been hardwired. When we’re not competing ourselves, we get great pleasure from watching the tussles and conflicts of others in the never ending rat race. Is this simply human nature? Have we always been this way? Or have the many years under capitalist rule transformed the way we think and behave? Either way, we love conflict in whatever form it comes; whether it’s in the octagon, the ring or even on a tropical island (Love Island anyone?).

There is no doubt that this capitalistic fusion of both competitiveness and conflict is welcomed with open arms in the grime scene, where the MC’s jostle for the ephemeral top spot in fans hearts and minds. In the crudest sense this comes in the form of clashing, where we long to hear our favourites collide in a war of words. With the dust settled on the Drake and Pusha T fiasco; we thought it would be perfect time to look back at some of the finest diss tracks we’ve had the pleasure of baring witness to.

Written and compiled by Seth P – Features Editor, GRM Daily

Devlin – Extra Extra
Devlin recently returned to music after a lengthy four year hiatus, the reason he was able to take so long and come back with a top twenty charting album is because of the strong fan base he had built up prior to this. During grime’s first wave a then teenage Devlin was one of the most venomous lyricists on the mic, watch any of the golden era radio sets to witness the destruction of any instrumental in his path.

This destruction was not only reserved for instrumentals however, in his first and only send to date the Dagenham MC placed the Godfather Wiley firmly in his crosshairs. Devlin has spoken candidly since then, saying it’s one of his biggest regrets in his career thus far, although from a fans perspective, it was great to see Devlin turn his poisonous pen against someone as opposed to the faceless/nameless targets where most braggadocios lyricism finds its home.  

Since then Wiley has of course reached out to Devlin for a guest verse on arguably the best track on The Godfather “Bring them all/ Holy Grime”.

Ghetts – North London Riddim
In 2006 Logan Sama compiled a now legendary project entitled War Report. On this CD, he had gathered sends and responses from respective MCs; most of these 16 tracks document the lyrical tug of war between BBK and The Movement. Along with “Extra Extra” Ghetts’ “North London Riddim” is one of the standout tracks on War Report. Long time Ghetts fans will miss hearing him attack the beat with an aggressive energy that was (and possibly still is) unmatched by his peers. But Ghetts has always been more than just flow and energy, he has weaved clever lyricism into his rapid fire onslaughts and the “North London Riddim” is certainly no different. No one was safe when Ghetts started spraying, leaving plenty of casualties of war in his wake.

Wiley – Nightbus
One does not become the godfather without being battle scarred, and there is most certainly no one more battle scarred than Wiley. Wiley faced off against pretty much the entire movement collective himself. Also featuring on War Report, Wiley flexes on “Nightbus” and targets his most vocal critics with his own lyrical retorts. Unlike some of the offerings from the Movement you can tell Wiley has written this track with a live clash in mind, the lyrics and the flow of the tune are perfect for a call and response from a boisterous early noughties grime rave audience.

Black The Ripper – It’s Bedtime
In recent times Black The Ripper has spent more time on his entrepreneurial ventures with his Dank Of England business, and his crusade for cannabis legalisation. Casual fans might be forgiven for thinking that he mainly makes stoner music, as his last few releases have focused on everyone’s favourite herb quite heavily.

However, in the early days Black The Ripper’s music did not have such a hazy tinge to it, in fact a lot of his early stuff was socially conscious. Holla Black, Black is beautiful and Outlaw Vol 1 are three of his early standout releases that showcase the multi-faceted artist that Black really is.

Clashing is another thing that Black the Ripper does really well, you need only search for his classic Axe FM clashes on Youtube to see him living up to his name against a bunch of different MCs. On “It’s Bedtime” Black the Ripper uses his razor sharp tongue to claim the scalps of three of his adversaries Deadly, Dolla Da Dustman and Dynamic.

Lowkey – The Warning
Lowkey is an artist you’ll hear laying down his political ideologies on wax more often than not. But before Kizzy took a break from music, there was a great deal of diversity in his content and it wasn’t solely political. Believe it or not him and Chipmunk engaged in a tirade on Twitter that even resulted in Lowkey sending for him. Unfortunately, the track never actually got an official reply from Chip; the most we got was an indirect on Chip’s 2010 release “Flying High” where he said “pour me a glass I’m boasy/ fuck being Low key”. Due to the different trajectories of their careers, Chip didn’t deem the send worthy of a response, but it definitely had the makings of a great clash.

P Money – Reply To Ghetts
Two MCs of titanic proportions colliding is exactly the thing that dreams are made of. The beef allegedly started with Ghetts remixing the P Money “What did he say” rhyme scheme during a Westwood freestyle. Prior to this there was already some friction between Scorcher and P Money and this was the spark that would ignite one of the most epic grime clashes to date; even now years later, there hasn’t been a clearly defined winner.

Ghetts – All Black Winter
Ghetts is war MC with every fibre in his body, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that this is his second entry in this list. “All Black Winter” was arguably the best of Ghetts’ shots aimed at P Money, the two minute 45 second onslaught from Ghetts, has in classic Ghetts fashion, had people catching onto the quality of the bars years later.

Lady Leshurr – RIP
Lady Leshurr often gets overlooked when it comes to lyricism but tracks like this prove that she has plenty in her arsenal and is not gimmicky like many critics have said she is. “R.I.P” is aimed at former friend Paigey Cakey, after Twitter fingers ran wild and indirects were sent, Lady Leshurr let the shots fly and there was no doubt about who was the prime target. To add insult to injury Lady Leshurr decided to drop the track on Pagiey Cakey’s birthday.

Crazy Titch – Jus An Arsehole
One of the most iconic scene’s in grime’s history is undoubtedly the heated exchange between Dizzee Rascal and Crazy Titch while spitting on the Déjà vu FM rooftop. While trading bars back and forth Dizzee becomes increasingly annoyed about some of Titch’s lyrics and things quickly turn ugly and the lyrical war almost becomes physical. Thankfully it never got physical and Crazy Titch was more than willing to continue the dispute on mic remixing one of Dizzee’s most popular tunes “Jus a Rascal”. Again we never actually got a reply from Dizzee but the diss and the story behind it are certain to become part of grime folklore.   

Chip – Peri Peri Sauce
Taking after his mentor Wiley, Chip rarely shies away from a clash, so there was no chance he wasn’t going to respond to the call to arms from Yungen. Although there were many replies to choose from the humour and clever lyricism in “Peri Peri Sauce” is unparalleled. The title references a particular unfortunate situation that Yungen found himself in where he was forced to drop his Nando’s and run, something which Chip exploits great effect in this track.

Scrufizzer – “I Don’t Believe You”
Ghetts is most certainly one of the hardest MCs in the scene period. A true lyrical pedigree Ghetts has turned his hand to cooking bangers in the studio of a variety of flavours – whether its grime bangers dripping in sauce, or hard boiled diss tracks directed at his adversaries; Ghetts has many feathers in his cap. However, Scrufizzer attempted to rattle the cage when he sent for Ghetts on “I Don’t Believe you” his signature flow cutting through the Mischief produced refix of “Slim Shady” taking shots at the grime scene legend. Although Ghetts never responded, it would certainly have made for a very interesting encounter.

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August 31
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