Hit ‘Em Up – Exploring the Untold Depths of Rap’s Most Infamous Diss Track

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for 2 Pac's Hit 'Em Up at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Spark that Ignited a Coast-to-Coast Inferno
  5. A Portrait of Ruthless Retaliation
  6. Unearthing the Hidden Vulnerabilities
  7. ‘Take Money’: The Battle Cry and Its Legacy
  8. The Unforgettable Lines that Changed Rap Warfare


I think y’all gonna like this next song
When this song drops, I want all the West coast people to give up some love when this song come up
Y’all about to go crazy
They try to ban this song
They don’t wanna play my song
But they want to play Fat Boy all goddamn day

(What) Come on, come on (take money)
Come on, come on (take money)
Come on, come on (take money)
What’s up niggas

First off, fuck your bitch and the click you claim
Westside when we ride come equipped with game
You claim to be a player but I fucked your wife
We bust on Bad Boy niggaz fucked for life
Plus Puffy tryin’ ta see me weak hearts I rip
Biggie Smalls and Junior M.A.F.I.A. Some mark-ass bitches
We keep on comin’ while we runnin’ for yo’ jewels
Steady gunnin, keep on bustin at them fools, you know the rules
Lil’ Ceaser, go ask ya homie how I leave ya
Cut your young ass up, leave you in pieces, now be deceased
Lil’ Kim, don’t fuck around with real G’s
Quick to snatch yo’ ugly ass off the streets, so fuck peace
I let them niggaz know it’s on for life
So let the Westside ride tonight
Bad Boy murdered on wax and killed
Fuck wit’ me and get yo’ caps peeled, you know, see

Grab ya glocks, when you see Tupac
Call the cops, when you see Tupac, uh
Who shot me, but ya punks didn’t finish
Now ya bout to feel the wrath of a menace
Nigga, we hit em’ up

(Take money)
Yes, yo, Outlaw to this mutherfucker (take money)
West Coast, what’s up? (take money)
What’s up

Get out the way yo, get out the way yo
Biggie Smalls just got shot
Little Moo, pass the mac, and let me hit him in his back
Frank White need to get spanked right, for settin’ traps
Little accident murderers, and I ain’t never heard-a ya
Poisinous gats attack when I’m servin’ ya
Spank ya shank ya whole style when I gank
Guard your rank, ’cause I’ma slam your ass in the paint
Puffy weaker than the fuckin’ block I’m runnin through nigga
And I’m smokin’ Junior M.A.F.I.A. in front of you nigga
With the ready power tuckin’ my Guess under my Eddie Bauer
Ya clout petty sour, I get packages every hour to hit ’em up

Call the cops, when you see Tupac
Who shot me, but ya punks didn’t finish
Now ya bout to feel the wrath of a menace
Nigga, I hit em’ up

Peep how we do it, keep it real, it’s penitentiary steel
This ain’t no freestyle battle
All you niggaz gettin killed with ya mouths open
Tryin’ to come up offa me, you in the clouds hopin’
Smokin dope it’s like a sherm high niggaz think they learned to fly
But they burn motherfucker, you deserve to die
Talkin’ bout you gettin’ money but it’s funny to me
All you niggaz livin’ bummy, why you fuckin’ with me?
I’m a self made millionaire
Thug livin’ out a prison, pistols in the air
Biggie, remember when I used to let you sleep on the couch
And beg a bitch to let you sleep in the house
Now it’s all about Versace, you copied my style
Five shots couldn’t drop me, I took it and smiled
Now I’m bout to set the record straight
With my A.K. I’m still the thug that you love to hate
Motherfucker, I hit ’em up

I’m from N-E-W Jers’
Where plenty of murders occurs
No points or commas, we bring drama to all you herbs
Now go check the scenario
Little Ceas’ I’ll bring you fake G’s to your knees
Copping pleas in de Janeiro
Little Kim, is you coked up or doped up?
Get your little Junior Whopper click smoked up
What the fuck, is you stupid?
I take money, crash and mash through Brooklyn
With my click looting, shooting and polluting your block
With a 15-shot cocked Glock to your knot
Outlaw MAFIA clique moving up another notch
And your pop stars popped and get mopped and dropped
And all your fake ass East coast props
Brainstormed and locked

You’s a, beat biter
A Pac style taker
I’ll tell you to your face you ain’t shit but a faker
Softer than Alize with a chaser
About to get murdered for the paper
E.d.i Amin approach the scene of the caper
Like a loc, with Little Ceas’ in a choke
Gun totin’ smoke. We ain’t no motherfucking joke
nigga, better be known
We approaching in the wide open, gun smoking
No need for hoping, it’s a battle lost
I got em crossed as soon as the funk is bopping off
Nigga, I hit em up

Oh oh

We hit ’em up
Grab ya glocks, when you see Tupac
Come on with the next shit
Who shot me, but ya punks didn’t finish
Now ya bout to feel the wrath of a menace
Nigga, we hit em’ up

That’s right
Y’all gotta keep this shit real

Full Lyrics

In the annals of hip hop history, few tracks have reverberated with the force of 2Pac’s ‘Hit ‘Em Up.’ The song is not just a fiery diss track; it’s a chilling document of the raw emotion and turbulent times that defined mid-90s hip hop. As the East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry reached its boiling point, ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ stood as a declaration of war, an unflinching testament to 2Pac’s wrath and lyrical prowess.

Beyond the surface-level vitriol and incendiary bravado—a veneer that has certainly garnered much of the track’s notoriety—lies a complex narrative interwoven with personal vendettas, cultural commentary, and the very essence of 2Pac’s life and legacy. Let’s delve into the multi-faceted meaning behind the words of this iconic rap anthem.

The Spark that Ignited a Coast-to-Coast Inferno

Understanding ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ means revisiting the tense landscape of ’90s hip hop, where allegiance to your coast was more than a matter of preference—it was an identity. When 2Pac delivered this track, it was not merely artistic expression but a defiant battle cry, singling out his rivals, most notably The Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records, accusing them of betrayal and cowardice. This track served as the stark embodiment of the West Coast’s rage, a region long slighted by the commercial dominance of its East Coast counterparts.

The song’s aggression is fueled by the personal affront 2Pac felt following his non-fatal shooting in 1994, for which he held Biggie and his associates responsible. It transcended mere lyrics—it was a potent blend of fact and fiction, a manifestation of the paranoid and embittered atmosphere that engulfed an entire musical movement.

A Portrait of Ruthless Retaliation

‘Hit ‘Em Up’ plunges listeners into the psyche of 2Pac at his most vengeful. The initial lines, ‘First off, fuck your bitch and the click you claim,’ are a no-holds-barred attack on Biggie’s personal life, escalating the feud into new territory. By invoking sexual dominance over enemy territory—symbolically represented by Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans—2Pac asserts his own alpha status within the industry.

The song mocks the authenticity of 2Pac’s rivals, suggesting that they wear a facade of criminality and lyrical dexterity, which he considers far inferior to his. The potency of this portrayal lies in its unapologetic directness; the threat is not implied, but rather boldly declared with each biting word.

Unearthing the Hidden Vulnerabilities

Beneath the braggadocio and menace, ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ presents a nuanced exploration of vulnerability. 2Pac references his shooting and survival as both a point of pride and a well of paranoia. His rhymes reflect a life lived in a perpetual state of alert, where the paranoia of attack looms, fostering a siege mentality. This is not just a rapper gunning for the crown; it’s a man fighting for his life, both metaphorically and literally.

What’s more, 2Pac alternates between the omnipotence of a rap titan and the tangible fear of a target. There’s a jarring oscillation between supreme confidence and the recognition of mortality. This dichotomy paints a portrait of a man battling his demons, asserting control in an industry—and world—that is constantly threatening to consume him.

‘Take Money’: The Battle Cry and Its Legacy

Amidst the flurry of insults and threats lies the chant ‘take money,’ a phrase that carries a deeper resonance. It’s a rallying cry for the redistribution of power, a symbolic reclaiming of wealth and influence from the perceived oppressors of the East. The phrase is as much a threat to physical safety as it is a mission statement for cultural and financial dominance.

The legacy of this refrain is profound; ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ brought the conversation about power dynamics within hip hop to the fore. It was a precursor to the understanding that hip hop is not only a musical genre but also a sphere of influence where market shares and cultural capital are fiercely contested.

The Unforgettable Lines that Changed Rap Warfare

In ‘Hit ‘Em Up,’ every bar reverberates with intention, but certain lines etch themselves into hip hop lore. ‘Five shots couldn’t drop me, I took it and smiled’ is a stark reminder of 2Pac’s resilience, shaping his image as an indomitable force. Similarly, the line ‘I’m still the thug that you love to hate’ is a raw expression of both self-awareness and defiance, a succinct summary of his complicated relationship with fame and notoriety.

Such lines gave ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ its armor-piercing quality. They are more than clever quips; they are indelible marks on the culture, shaping the way artists engage with each other. The track demonstrated the power of words as weapons, reshaping the rules of engagement for rap battles and proving that lyrics could be just as lethal as any physical altercation.

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