Music's 30 Fiercest Feuds and Beefs

From classic-rock squabbles to hip-hop diss tracks and social media wars, here are the ridiculous, rancorous conflicts that have held us rapt

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Katy Perry vs. Taylor Swift
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Katy Perry and Taylor Swift Kevin Mazur/WireImage28/30

Katy Perry vs. Taylor Swift

The pair shared the stage in 2010 to duet on Perry's "Hot n Cold," but four years later Swift was singing a new tune: "Bad Blood." In her September 2014 cover story with Rolling Stone, she admitted that the 1989 track was written about another woman in the music industry who "did something so horrible" that it ended their friendship for good. It later came out that the misunderstanding was over backup dancers who had defected from Swift's Red tour to Perry's Prismatic trek. Though she never mentioned Perry by name in the profile, the California Gurl shared a telling tweet the day after the story hit stands: "Watch out for the Regina George in sheep's clothing ..."

Perry would periodically chime in from the sidelines over the next few years when Swift engaged in high profile Twitter confrontations. One 2015 tiff with Nicki Minaj – who protested that her video for "Anaconda" had been shut out from the VMAs in favor of ones that celebrated "women with very slim bodies" (like the supermodel-packed clip for 'Bad Blood") – led Swift to fire back, "It's unlike you to pit women against each other." Perry noted that the accusations from Swift were "ironic" considering her own VMA-nominated song was literally about women fighting.

The feud bubbled under the surface until Perry released "Swish Swish," a single from her album Witness, in May 2017. Lyrics like "You're calculated/I've got your number/Because you're a joke/And I'm a courtside killer queen," caught everyone's attention. A guest verse by Minaj left little doubt that this was the long awaited follow-up to "Bad Blood."

Perry got extremely candid about her disagreement with Swift during the Witness press tour (noting that Swift tried to "assassinate my character"), but Swift didn't need words to respond. After famously pulling her music from Spotify several years earlier, Swift announced on June 8th that her catalogue would return to the streaming service at midnight the following day – the same time Witness was due to drop. A press release claimed the move was in celebration of 1989's sales figures, but many saw it as an attempt to steal Perry's limelight.

Perry was ready to bury the hatchet soon after, telling Arianna Huffington, "I forgive her and I'm sorry for anything I ever did," but Swift wasn't done. In late August she dropped "Look What You Made Me Do," a no-holds-barred assault on all who ever crossed her. In the music video that premiered at the VMAs days later, Swift can be seen wearing a wig looking suspiciously like Perry's new cropped ‘do, wrecking a sports car that looks uncannily like the one from Perry's 2009 "Waking Up in Vegas" video. Not content with (seemingly) comparing Perry to a metaphorical car crash, Swift then holds up a Grammy, a possible reference to the fact that she has 10 to Perry's zero.

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