All is fair in love and diss songs. And when it comes to the videos for said diss songs, rappers have been known to get pretty creative.
Recently, Migos put a simmering beef with Joe Budden back on the broiler by releasing the song, “Ice Tray,” on the Quality Control compilation, Control the Streets, Vol. 1, where Quavo throws shots at the New Jersey rapper turned Everyday Struggle host. “Ice tray young nigga flooded/If a nigga hating, call him Joe Budden (pussy),” Huncho spits on the chorus of the Lil Yachty-assisted single.
The Atlanta trio took things a step further by shooting a video for the track and employing a Budden look-alike to extend their attempts to make a mockery of the rapper, with whom they nearly were involved in a scuffle at the 2017 BET Awards. In the hilarious clip, the Budden stand-in, played by up-and-coming actor Tray Swazy, displays his frustration with the rise of the new school on the faux show, Old Rappers Struggling.
The Atlanta trio isn't the first to use this tactic, and surely won’t be the last. Over the years, several MCs have dropped side-splitting videos for diss songs that feature an actor impersonating their rival, strictly for clowning purposes. For the most part, things never turn out well for the comic relief carbon copy.
Who can forget when comedian A.J. Johnson played the role of Sleazy E in Dr. Dre’s diss of the Ruthless head honcho, “Fuck Wit (Dre Day).” Or more recently, Young Dolph clearly sending shots at Yo Gotti with a look-alike of the CMG boss on the track, “Play Wit Yo’ Bitch.”
XXL decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most memorable times a rapper has tried to son a foe by using an imposter in a music video.
“Pop Goes the Weasel” (1991)3rd Bass
Look-Alike: Vanilla Ice
Unhappy with rap’s direction in 1991—particularly Vanilla Ice’s ascent to the top of the pop charts—3rd Bass lashed out with the track, “Pop Goes the Weasel,” which featured actor Henry Rollins as Mr. Ice Ice Baby.
“Fuck Compton” (1991)Tim Dog
Look-Alike: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre and Michel’le
In the early 1990s, West Coast rap was lit, with N.W.A being the hottest in the streets. In 1991, the Bronx’s Tim Dog decided to throw a whole bunch of salt in the game and release the hard-body cut, “Fuck Compton.” Tim brought the heat with the visual that showed poorly-cast parodies of Eazy-E, Dr. Dre and Michel’le getting the paws put on them by NYC ruff necks.
"Fuck Wit (Dre Day)" (1993)
Look-Alike: Eazy-E and Uncle Luke
Dr. Dre and Eazy-E’s beef reached a fever pitch in 1993 when the producer brought the ruckus with scathing diss song, “Fuck Wit (Dre Day),” with the help of a fledgling Snoop Dogg. In the video, comedian A.J. Johnson played the Jheri curl-rocking Sleazy E, while actual Interscope exec Steve Berman acted as Jerry Heller of Useless Records. The video also boasted an Uncle Luke look-alike.
Look-Alike: The Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy and Lil’ Kim
One of the most visceral diss songs of all time had to come with an equally belittling video, right? The treatment for 2Pac’s infamous, hard-hitting Bad Boy diss “Hit ‘Em Up” came equipped some unflattering versions of Puff, Big and Queen Bee, to boot
"Whoop Whoop" (1997)DJ Pooh Featuring Kam
Look-Alike: Ice Cube
Ice Cube has had a hand in several notable rap beefs over the years, including his kerfuffle with Kam. Kam tried to expose the former N.W.A member on DJ Pooh’s track, “Whoop Whoop,” with the visual for the song featuring a reenactment of Cube’s reportedly one-sided fight with Shawn “Solo” Fonteno.
“Piggy Bank” (2005)50 Cent
Look-Alike: Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Cassidy, Nas, Shyne and The Game
50 Cent is always down to clown. He got one chance in 2005 when, while beefing with half of NYC, he dropped the video for his musical insult, “Piggy Bank.” Instead of getting live actors, Fif used animated characters in the likenesses of his enemies to get his point across.
“Better Run Run” (2010)MC Hammer
MC Hammer didn’t take too kindly to JAY-Z name dropping him and bringing up his past financial troubles on Kanye West’s “So Appalled.” So, he tried to set it off on Hov with the song and video “Better Run Run.” What resulted was a super awkward video with a Jigga impersonator with man boobs being chased through the woods by a devilish entity. We can’t make this stuff up, folks.
“Black Friday” (2011)Lil' Kim
Look-Alike: Nicki Minaj
Lil’ Kim went for Nicki Minaj’s jugular on her 2011 mixtape, Black Friday. The name of the project was a dig at Nicki’s debut, Pink Friday, the cover showed Kim holding a samurai sword in front of the Young Money rapper’s decapitated body and the video for the title track was highlighted by a knockoff version of her arch nemesis.
Look-Alike: Mumble Rappers
Hopsin had had enough when he put out the track, “No Words” in 2015. Fed up with the fact that less-lyrical hip-hop was flourishing, Hopsin himself donned his mumble rap starter pack and impersonated lyrically deficient MCs in the video for the song that literately featured no words.
“Play Wit Yo’ Bitch” (2017)Young Dolph
Look-Alike: Yo Gotti
No matter how much Yo Gotti and Young Dolph try to downplay their beef, the latter dropping the Gotti diss song “Play Wit Yo’ Bitch” actually happened. The cover art for the single featured a purported screen shot showing 24 missed calls from “Ho’ Gotti Baby Mama,” and Dolph added fuel to the fire by dropping a video for the song that starred a sucker-for-love rapper that looks eerily similar to the CMG boss.