Lupe Fiasco & Royce 5’9 Trade Savage Diss Records

For the last several weeks, Royce 5’9 and Lupe Fiasco have been engaged in a debate about what it takes to be the best rapper. While the exchange started as a spirited, but friendly exchange between two podcast co-hosts, somewhere along the way it has escalated. Now, the war of words has reached a fever pitch, as the two have released dissed records aimed at each other and, at least in the case of one, it appears to have gotten quite personal.

The back and forth began on Instagram in June when Royce wrote “I tried to put the fear of God in you on here @lupefiasco … ???? You, Los, soul and Cyhi was on my list of people to terminate.. Y’all were too good and y’all talked too gotdam much…” The statement was a reference.” The comment was a reference to Royce rapping over Lupe’s “Mural,” on Royce’s The Bar Exam 4 mixtape. Lupe later responded to Royce, saying ““That’s very @jerrylorenzo of you, to recognize when somethings above. But you can save that futuristic ball of lightning you call excitement over ya writin’ for Sean’s momma, Connor meets Contra honestly but even Popeye can move a biscuit so my mantras is calm conquers, don’t use the mirror mirror on that wall with too much gaul you’ll call monsters.”

Weeks later, Royce and Lupe once again flexed their competitive muscles, while on IG discussing their criteria for what makes the greatest rapper. During the conversation, Lupe tells Royce that to be the best rapper, an MC has to go through the End Of The Weak competition, and as a result, the best MC in the world currently is Osiris Anthem. Royce begs to differ, but Lupe is insistent about his point about what it takes to be the best. Royce tells Lupe that “he’s talking real spicy.” While the conversation starts off in a respectful and playful manner, there are points, where it becomes visibly testy. At one point, Lupe says that they should save aspects of their conversation for their podcast, so it isn’t fully clear whether the mounting tension is promotional or a precursor for real beef.

This week, however, they took things to a different level. Royce set things off on Wednesday (July 21), when he released his song “Silence of the Lambda.” During the song, Royce takes aim at Lupe with a number of pointed lines. In the nearly 7 minute song, he raps “Look at all this passive aggressive pu**ying / All the past neglectful positions these pu**ies put me in / We them cool ni**as bringin’ food, liquor and fullies in / They do all the yelling and accuse Nickel of bullying,” in a clear reference to Lupe’s Food & Liquor album. Later, Royce raps “Ryan, big alliances, clique of lions that’s eyein’ elk / Built the giant pyramids in alignment with Orion’s Belt / Well you ain’t gotta lie you a hostile guy / Like you about to ride with new entourage but you not too wise / You been ostracized, you used to rock with Nas / You was hot, July, but look at you now, you just Afu-Ra / Loaded Lux said if we battle then he gon’ sit with Lu’.” The lines contain a number of throwbacks to their IG live conversation, where Lupe is extolling the virtues Osiris Anthem and true battle rap.

While Royce has some barbs for Lupe in his song, they are not as deeply personal as some of the words Lupe has for Royce on “Steve Jobs: SLR 3 1/2.” On the 6+ minute song, Lupe challenges Royce’s relevancy, saying “Your problem is you ain’t never have no impact / Kit-Kats and chit-chats and syntax won’t make up for how much you sit back.” On a similar note, he attributes all of 5’9’s success to attaching himself to luminaries like DJ Premier and Eminem, rapping “Look at how they made him / Look how much they gave him / Look at all the assists / Ni**a, if it wasn’t for Premier / You wouldn’t be / If it wasn’t for, if it wasn’t for, if it wasn’t for, if it wasn’t for / Ni**a, I got a dozen more” and “Perpetual sidekick, ni**a sort of a station that you used to / So you ain’t got to get all extremely too personal on your albums / When you not surrounded by bigger artists to fucking boost you. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It is possible that Royce and Lupe are simply trolling the internet world, and this is all an orchestrated promotion for their podcast. As of now, Royce says that he will not attack Lupe personally.

Whatever may be the case, these are razor sharp barbs from two of Hip-Hop’s most lethal swordsmen.