Consider the diss track.

What a wonderful little treasure trove of an idea. Think about what has to happen for it to become reality. First, you need to be insulted, or hate someone, or be mad at someone, or otherwise think someone sucks balls. Instead of, you know, letting that go, you hold on to it. Not for a day or a week but a while. Then, you spend a shitload of money on a studio and a producer and techs and backup vocalists and collaborators to record a few lines about the person you don't care for. Then it has to be manufactured (or at least mastered for iTunes), marketed, and distributed. Only then, after all this time, will the object of your distaste feel the burn. That is one hell of a long con to play.

With that in mind, let's enjoy the diss track in all its glory by taking a look at the greatest of all time. Quick programming note: this list is not subjective. It is fact.

Nas, Ether

Where Jay-Z attacked Nas with an almost meditative precision, Nas went back at Jay with reckless abandon — years of pent-up latent hunger released in four and a half minutes of hot Ether. While the song isn't especially focused, the power of this track led to the coining of a phrase: one who is ethered is demolished lyrically.


2Pac, Hit 'Em Up

You've know you've crossed a line when you tell your (former) best friend that's why I fucked your bitch [i.e, Biggie's wife, Faith Evans], you fat motherfucker. Not a word was wasted, nor a punch pulled in this gigantic F.U. to Biggie and his pet turtle.

Ice Cube, No Vaseline

Coming on the heels of Cube's less than amicable departure from N.W.A. and their subsequent attacks, No Vaseline was Ice Cube's hard-hitting response that called out N.W.A for abandoning their roots and allowing themselves to be duped by Eazy. For such a tight group to turn on each other so viciously was a real nasty wake up call, like an alarm clock that pees on you.


Eminem, Nail In The Coffin

Even casual fans know that this track sprung from Em's belief that Source deliberately gave his work poor reviews. What has been lost to hip-hop lore is that Eminem insisted on being literally nailed inside a coffin to record the track. Apparently a studio tech tried to use some screws instead, and he was beaten to death with a filthy sack of doorknobs.

Beastie Boys, Professor Booty

Originally intended as a shot at MC Serch (one big oaf, who's faker than plastic) this song tickled the ear of film director Mike Nichols, who used it as the background score for the famous anti-establishment "One word - plastics!" scene in The Graduate.


Common, The Bitch In Yoo

The most interesting thing about this track is that it's not actually a diss track at all, but a typo. Common was said to be working on a new jingle for Yoo-Hoo. Everyone just got carried away somehow.

B.E.R.T., Supercalifragilisticexpialifukkstikk

A rare track coming from across the pond, this one nevertheless reminds us of one of life's essential lessons: if you ain't never been inside a sidewalk chalk drawing, don't ever go inside a sidewalk chalk drawing. This chimney sweep is crazy as fuck/when the kite comes down you best-ass duck. Indubitably.


Melle Mel, White Lines

Unless I am grossly misunderstanding the meaning behind these lyrics, like, to the level where you might think I was dropped on my head or something when I was a kid, this song makes zero sense? Why on earth would anyone would be mad at parking line stripes? So, so dumb.

Little known fact: this song spent an amazing 1,732 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.


The Roots, Where's My Fucking Comb Mother Fuckers, I Ain't Playing No Goddamn Fucking Drums Until You Fuckfaces Get Off Your Asses And Help Me Find This Fucking Thing. I Am Serious I Have Fucking Had It Up To Here With The Grade-A Bullshit You Fucks Keep Spewing All Over The Fucking Place And If You Fucking Think I'm Fucking Joking Then You're About To Get The Business End Of My Boot Shoved Straight Up Yo- Oh Wait It Was In My Hair. Jesus I'm An Idiot.

The mic is always on, you guys.

Princess Elsa, Let It Go

As originally written for the Walt Disney Animations Studio's hit movie Frozen, this song represents a sea change in the Princess Elsa character, where she begins to learn to stop pretending and finally be herself.


Phil Collins feat. Philip Bailey, Easy Lover

It's about your mom.

Pachelbel, Canon In D


Same Sad Echo is well known author of many, many wonderful things that are all pretty great, honestly. Feel free to send him praise on twitter @samesadecho. h/t to his research assistant.