The art of tactfully roasting your exes in your art is something that Big Sean has arguably mastered. Two years ago on “I Don’t Fuck With You,” Big Sean succeeded in rapping what we mere mortals only daydream about saying to our past flames when he (allegedly) referenced his ex-girlfriend Naya Rivera. On his new single “No More Interviews,” the rapper boldly flaunts, “This my last time putting my ex in a song even though the last one went triple platinum,” and goes on to demonstrate his skill at getting extremely personal and petty. At least Big Sean can tie up his scorn in a nice little bow while delivering some guilty pleasure bars.
Let’s face it: we all live for the drama. At the end of the day, a tale of a love lost hits way harder than stories of happy days. Themes of heartache and perseverance are just as ingrained in rap music as any other. Considering how most listeners can relate to Big Sean’s impassioned vocal delivery when he shades those who burned him, it’s really just a bonus when we know exactly who, or what, the artist is question is venting about. Here are some other cases of rappers burning their old flames.
Kurupt, “Calling Out Names”: Back in 1999, Kurupt cut right to the chase on his track “Callin’ Out Names.” Skipping any formalities, he directed his spitfire track was directed at DMX, Ja Rule, Irv Gotti and more. The song is inspired by Kurupt’s accusation that DMX allegedly had an affair with his then-fiancé Foxy Brown. While Foxy herself is not mentioned by name — he simply refers to her as “my bitch” — the track didn’t leave any questions about how the Dogg Pound gangsta felt about the situation.
Jay Z, “Super Ugly”: Jay Z’s “Super Ugly” is not only a textbook diss track, but also an example of a rapper arguably taking things too far. When he answered Nas’ “Ether” by rapping, “I came in your Bentley backseat, skeeted in your Jeep, left condoms on your baby seat,” jaws across the nation hit the floor as he outed his affair with Nas’ baby mother, Carmen. He later apologized for his track, and cited a phone call from his mom as the reason for taking back his words.
Eminem, “Kim”: Eminem is no stranger to discussing his ex-wife Kim Mathers in his music. However, “Kim” takes the drama behind their infamously strained relationship to staggering new lows as he spits in graphic detail how he would kill his wife if he could get away with it. To this day, the violent, bitter standout from The Marshall Mathers LP is cited as one of the most shocking songs of all time.
Ace Hood, “Letter To My Ex’s”: On this cut from Blood, Sweat and Tears, Ace Hood delivers a detailed shot-for-shot dissection of one of his exes. While he hasn’t confirmed the subject of his ire, one of his them reportedly spoke up in outrage. On top of addressing his past relationships, he also fires a warning shot at “Mrs. Independent Hoes.”
Lil Dicky, “Molly”: This track is reflective of something many rappers deal with: how to balance rising fame while nurturing a relationship. The song’s title holds a double meaning since it’s not only the name of Lil Dicky’s real-life ex-girlfriend, but also the name of a popular party drug, as well as a metaphor for the high he got from his ex. He talks about how since he and Molly weren’t destined to marry, he eventually had to let her go.
Kanye West, “Blame Game”: Kanye West never officially confirmed whom he tore into on “Blame Game,” though many speculate that it was former girlfriend Amber Rose. The rapper covers his tracks by recruiting Chris Rock for a skit about how ‘Ye excels at “teaching” women. John Legend’s chorus underlines the song’s playful yet frustratingly vague nature.
Lauryn Hill, “Ex-Factor”: While technically not a rap song, this ballad from her 1998 classic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is the ultimate hip-hop breakup ballad, and is reportedly aimed at her former Fugees bandmate Wyclef Jean.
Trey Songz & Drake, “Successful”: On this 2009 hit from So Far Gone, the 6 God foreshadows his subsequent talent for shouting out his exes in his catalog. The track features the line, “Back when I was trying to put a ring on Alisha hand,” bringing us full circle back to Big Sean’s mantra that the best revenge is living well, considering the success Drizzy has experienced since this throwback to his early days. That being said, please hold for the post-Rihanna break-up album.