Freakouts. Twitter rants. Vague threats. Specific threats. No look back at the year in music is complete without a survey of all the times artists totally flipped out in 2013 — from Kanye West's problems with Jimmy Kimmel to Rick Ross' drama with real-live gangsters to Morrissey's beef with… beef. By Daniel Kreps
It started innocently enough: Miley referenced O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" video as an inspiration for her own "Wrecking Ball" clip. But O'Connor used that as an invitation to pen Cyrus an open letter, advising Miley to not let the music industry "make a prostitute out of you." Cyrus responded – on Twitter of course – by poking fun at Sinéad's past public emotional breakdowns, comparing her to Amanda Bynes and posting a photo of O'Connor's controversial ripping of the Pope's photo on Saturday Night Live. O'Connor threatened legal action if Cyrus didn't take down her tweets. It seemed as though the whole ordeal was publicity for Cyrus' own SNL appearance, and in fact this feud faded away days after.
It was the verse that launched a million feuds. In the middle of August, "Control," a non-LP Big Sean track, made the rap game explode as guest Kendrick Lamar used his feature to provoke everybody from Drake and A$AP Rocky to Jay Electronica. It was a run at the throne, and overnight, it seemed like every rapper's Soundcloud came alive with response verses, with many Big Apple MCs taking aim at the Compton-bred Lamar for declaring himself "The King of New York."
Stephen Colbert thought he scored a major get when he announced that Daft Punk would appear on The Colbert Report to perform "Get Lucky" at StePhest ColbChella. However, Daft Punk's first live performance in years was unceremoniously nixed by MTV execs, who thought they landed the Daft Punk exclusive for the then-upcoming Video Music Awards. In the end, the Random Access Memories duo canceled their Colbert performance, forcing the host to perform the track with an all-star lineup. Daft Punk's VMA appearance, meanwhile, was nothing more than presenting Taylor Swift an award.
"Wait, is this a hoax?" That was everyone's initial reaction after West went on a blistering and unexpected Twitter rant against Jimmy Kimmel for a fairly innocuous skit poking fun at an interview West gave to the BBC. "SARAH SILVERMAN IS A THOUSAND TIMES FUNNIER THAN YOU AND THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS IT," West tweeted. Kimmel commented on his show that night, "I guess I'm in a rap feud." A few weeks later, Kanye guested on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to bury the hatchet and was given the late-night pulpit to talk about everything, and we mean everything. #NODISRESPECTTOBENAFFLECK
So many of 2013's music feuds were wars of words, but this is one of the rare beefs that turned physical — and it all started over a parking spot. Nearly a year later, it's still unclear who started the January 2013 fight outside a Los Angeles recording studio, but what we do know is that Chris Brown, Frank Ocean and their respective entourages brawled in the parking lot. Ocean hurt his finger bad enough in the confrontation that it prevented him from playing guitar during a Grammy performance, and Brown was eventually sued by a member of Ocean's entourage for "a concussion, humiliation, and mental anguish" after the fight.
Like Godzilla or King Kong, a monster from a foreign land invaded and wreaked havoc on a peaceful society… only replace the giant lizard with Justin Bieber. But forget about the graffiti in Colombia or the Brazilian brothel visit. Bieber's disastrous South American tour really reached its "climbing the Empire State Building" moment when the singer twice defaced the Argentine flag: first by kicking it backstage, then by using his mic stand to mop it off the stage. That promptly had the Beliebers booing. After Bieber's wrath, it's just a miracle that a diplomatic crisis didn't arise between the South American nations and Canada.
Since the surprise release of Radiohead's In Rainbows, Thom Yorke has been viewed as the unofficial liaison between the artist, the music industry and the Internet. So when Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich – representing their side project Atoms for Peace – went to war against the popular streaming service Spotify, fans and artists began questioning Spotify's practices. First the group pulled their album AMOK from the service, then Godrich unfurled a month-long tweet campaign against the service's measly royalty payout. "The music industry is being taken over by the back door and if we don't try and make it fair for new music producers and artists then the art will suffer. Make no mistake," Godrich wrote.
Morrissey ranks among rock's biggest shit talkers, and 2013 was another banner year for Moz's mouth. As you may have heard a million times, Morrissey is a vegan, so when he was scheduled to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on an episode where the Duck Dynasty crew was also booked, he canceled his appearance, but not without throwing some shade at the duck call dudes. Morrissey also bashed Barack Obama for partaking in "Thankskilling" and the "turkey pardon," calling Thanksgiving among our nation's biggest killers. He also used the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher.
Lorde has been outspoken from the moment her smash hit "Royals" dropped, and while she's new on the scene, she's not afraid to ruffle the feathers of her pop peers. An early target was Gomez's "Come & Get It," which the New Zealand teen said portrayed women in a negative light. Gomez responded, arguing that female-pop-star on female-pop-star haterade is worse than any suggestive lyric. Gomez, who was admittedly a Lorde fan prior to the incident, also stopped covering "Royals" during her Stars Dance tour. This tiff must be so totally awkward for their common friend Taylor Swift.
Here's the shortest feud of the bunch: Just days before Drake's "Would You Like a Tour?" tour was set to embark, opening act Future was fired from the trek, reportedly for dismissing Drizzy's just-released Nothing Was the Same. "Drake made an album that is full of hits, but it doesn't grab you. They're not possessive; they don't make you feel the way I do," Future said in the days before he was pink-slipped. Future's management argued that the rapper's quotes were taken out of context and were off-the-record. When that didn't work, Future threatened legal action against Drake. In the end, tempers cooled and Future rejoined the jaunt two days later.
One of Gaga's most ardent Little Monsters became her biggest frenemy as the singer and gossip blogger Perez Hilton engaged in a heated Twitter feud this summer. Hilton publicly celebrated the less-than-great chart performance of Gaga's first Artpop single "Applause" (after mocking the hip injury that landed the superstar in a wheelchair last year) so Gaga responded by calling Hilton a stalker amongst other not nice things. The feud never escalated beyond Twitter barbs, but something good did come out of the beef: The Artpop track "Swine" is reportedly inspired by the pair's falling out
Rozay had some pretty major problems in 2013 — much bigger than the Mastermind postponements and his Reebok dismissal. In late January, the rapper's disagreement with the Gangster Disciples reached its crescendo as Ross was targeted in a drive-by in Fort Lauderdale, which led to Ross crashing his Rolls Royce into an apartment building. The street gang has accused Ross of stealing their iconography and identity – Ross often compared himself to Larry Hoover, the Disciples' founder – without proper compensation.
"Blurred Lines" was both one of 2013's biggest hits and worst songs. It was unavoidable for the majority of the year, so it was only a matter of time before Marvin Gaye's family heard it. While the Pharrell-produced "Blurred Lines" doesn't contain any samples, the single reeks of Gaye's "Got to Give It Up." The song was such a big Gaye rip-off Thicke sensed a lawsuit was inevitable and preemptively sued the Gaye estate in August 2013. A copyright infringement suit against Thicke and Pharrell arrived from the Gaye estate in October that alleges Thicke has "a Marvin Gaye fixation." "Blurred Lines" was downloaded over six million times during its Hot 100 reign, so there's a lot of money at stake going into 2014.
The Beastie Boys went to battle against a toy company who produced an ad featuring a cover of "Girls." GoldieBlox, whose Rube Goldberg-esque commercial starred little girls singing "Girls," seemed delighted with the free publicity they drummed up when the Beasties asked them to stop using their song. GoldieBlox preemptively sued the Brooklyn rappers, saying the new "Girls" was satire and therefore protected from copyright laws. While GoldieBlox's rendition of "Girls" wasn't wildly offensive, it technically violated a stipulation in Adam "MCA" Yauch's will prohibits the Beasties' music from being used for advertising purposes. That's why Ad-Rock and Mike D came down so hard on GoldieBlox, ultimately resulting in their own lawsuit.
During the custody battle between Jack White and his ex Karen Elson, we learned that White really, really dislikes the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, to the point that White didn't want his kids attending the same Nashville school as Auerbach's children. "My concern with Auerbach is because I don't want the kids involved in any of that crap," White wrote in an e-mail to Elson. "That's a possible 12 fucking years I'm going to have to be sitting in kids chairs next to that asshole with other people trying to lump us in together. He gets yet another free reign to follow me around and copy me and push himself into my world."
On paper, this beef is unfair: Lil Wayne on his tallest day is 5'6", while Heat power forward Chris Bosh measures in at 6'10" slouching. When you factor in the heights of LeBron, Dwyane… it's a David versus Goliath situation. However, that didn't stop Weezy from declaring "I fucked Chris Bosh's wife!" at an NBA All-Star Weekend performance. The rapper also added salt to the wound by sitting courtside at a Heat game and rooting for their opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat got the last laugh, however, by winning the NBA Championships.
It was a year of many beefs for Azealia Banks – the Harlem rapper engaged in battles with Disclosure, Perez Hilton and the Stone Roses – but her most memorable feud came in January when she got into Twitter fight with Angel Haze. The dispute involved a handful of dis tracks – Haze fired first with "On the Edge," Banks shot back with "No Problems" and Haze ended it with "Shut the Fuck Up" – but things officially got out of hand when Banks called Haze "a messy faggot" on Twitter. However, the feud didn't escalate from there. "Really not as moved by this f word thing as u all want me to be," Haze tweeted. "As a bisexual person I knew what I meant when I used that word." It turns out that both rappers were busy beefing when they should have been recording as neither artist released their much-anticipated debut LPs in 2013.
Of all the things you'd expect Chief Keef to beef against – sobriety, rival gangs, the laws of society – Katy Perry probably didn't make the list. However, when Keef caught wind that Perry did not think highly of his track "I Hate Being Sober," the rapper responded by calmly threatening to "smack the shit" out of Perry as well as recommending she "suck skin off my dick." Katy, perhaps genuinely frightened by Keef's reputation, was quick to assuage the situation by complimenting "I Don't Like." The two tweeted apologies to one another and order was restored in the world.
Despite delivering one of the best LPs of 2013, Arcade Fire still drew the ire of their fanbase when Win Butler suggested that – gasp! – anyone attending their 2014 concerts around Halloween should wear formal attire or costumes. Fans initially rebelled against this seemingly mandatory "dress code," but Butler was quick to downplay the need to get dolled up, saying the wardrobe edict was entirely optional. In the end, nothing was coming between the fans and Reflektor, although Noel Gallagher had a fun take on the situation: "Do you know what the point of that is? That is to take away from the shit disco that's coming out of the speakers. Because everybody's dressed as one of the Three Musketeers on acid."