Harshest song lyric insults ever written

Love songs are all well and good, but songs about blind hatred are simply so much juicier. It gets even better when the song isn't a blanket "I hate this or that" type thing, but rather clearly about one person and how much the singer despises them. Here are some of the harshest musical middle fingers in history.

Justin Bieber: 'Love Yourself'

You don't likely see Justin Bieber as a master of shade-throwing, but with "Love Yourself," he proved he was. Whomever the song's target was, they likely felt as bad as all those dudes Carly Simon chopped down as totally vain.

The song is pure "you don't matter anymore." Bieber sings about how an unnamed ex "still hit[s his] phone up," not that he cares. In fact, he "didn't want to write a song" because he didn't want to give this person any attention. He then croon-sneers "my mama don't like you and she likes everyone," which may be the cleanest, purest putdown teen pop has produced in decades — if the Biebs' sweetheart of a saintly mother thinks you're trash, then probably even Oscar the Grouch would spit on you. It could have been cruder. The song's actual writer, Ed Sheeran, told Howard Stern he initially envisioned Rihanna as the singer, and it would have had more cursing. Honestly, toning down the language actually makes it feel even more biting, like you're not even worth the effort of cursing out.

As for whom he's got in mind while singing? Justin won't say — he'll only admit (as he did in an unintentionally poetic interview with Ryan Seacrest), "It's definitely about someone in my past, someone who I don't want to put on blast." So it could be anyone, considering his history of less-than-successful relationships. If you ever get a chance, ask Mama Bieber whom she hates the most.

NOFX: 'Idiot Son Of An A**hole'

Punk legends NOFX really, really, really hated George W. Bush. So much so, that they penned the protest song "Idiot Son Of An A**hole," which is just as angry as you think, only moreso. The lyrics paint the band's opinion of President Bush II in the most unambiguous way possible: "He's not smart, a C student / And that's after buying his way into school / Beady eyes, and he's kinda dyslexic / Can he read? No one's really quite sure." Later lyrics mention his love of executions while Governor of Texas, his past cocaine addictions, and how "He's too dumb to eat pretzels / apparently smart enough to fix an election," which is like a nuclear physicist who can't tie his own shoes. Obviously, a song about a guy who was guaranteed to lose his job in a few years has a shorter shelf life than one about a legendary musician who's been active since the '60s, but the simple fact that this song exists is ample evidence of the kind of vitriol that 43 could garner simply by existing.

Nicki Minaj: 'Stupid Hoe'

We can't reprint most of Nicki Minaj's "Stupid Hoe" lyrics, so just know that the chorus is literally "you a stupid hoe" over and over again — that's how angry and insulting this song is. Other choice diss lines (that too profane to type) include "talkin' she the queen when she looking like a lab rat," and "Look Bubbles, go back to ya habitat / MJ gone and I ain't havin' that." So whomever Minaj doesn't like is both a rat and a monkey.

While she's never admitted it, it's thought that fellow rapper Lil' Kim is the object of her vitriol. In an interview with MTV, Kim said she had sent an unreleased single called "Automatic" to record label Cash Money. The label didn't move forward with the song, but Nicki later released a song called "Automatic" that sounded an awful lot to Kim's ears like her old track. Kim also told Bravo, "If you have to make a song called 'Stupid Hoe,' you must be a stupid hoe." While that doesn't completely confirm she's the target of Minaj's spit, it does confirm there's beef. If Minaj was talking to Kim, reminding her that her MJ (almost certainly the late Notorious B.I.G., whom she dated) is dead and gone is just plain mean.

'Yankee Doodle'

"Yankee Doodle" just makes you oh-so-damn proud to be an American, doesn't it? It's even the Connecticut state anthem, for crying out loud. What nobody bothered to tell you (or anyone in Connecticut) is that the song is actually one giant, brutal diss. Worse, it's not America mocking the oppressive Brits—it's the other way around. "Yankee Doodle" was used by British soldiers to insult the colonists, whom they considered unkempt, disgusting, and not nearly as high-class as the Queen's favorite subjects. "Yankee" was an insult back then, and a "doodle" is an idiot even today. Yankee Doodle rode on a pony because he wasn't good enough for a horse, and the feather in his cap made him a poor-man's "macaroni," a high-fashion British dandy who dressed as extravagantly as possible. Basically, Yankee Doodle was a moron who only wishes he was as cool as a real Brit. And now America uses that song to celebrate itself. Well, the first verse anyway. The other fifteen—which accuse Americans of being terrible fighters with primitive weaponry who mindlessly waste both ammunition and food—are a little too brutal, even for them.

Mariah Carey: 'Obsessed'

Mariah Carey's "Obsessed" is a large-scale takedown of some unnamed loser who's, well, obsessed with her and can't understand he's never had a shot with her and never will. She made that clear with lyrics like "finally found a girl that you couldn't impress / Last man on the Earth, still couldn't get this." He's way out of her league, as evidenced by barbs like, "You a mom and pop, I'm a corporation / I'm the press conference, you're a conversation." So who is this mystery creep? Most people believe it's Eminem, who just got through rapping about how he was with Mariah and wants her back and she wants him back. Though Carey hasn't confirmed nor denied this, lines like "will the real MC please step to the mic" (a reference to "The Real Slim Shady") and "It must be the weed / it must be the E" (about the drug problems that joined forces with utter irrelevancy to keep Eminem in the shadows for years) make it crystal-clear who's got the lowest shot of dating Carey in recorded history. Unrecorded, too.

Justin Timberlake: 'Cry Me A River'

Judging by Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River," his relationship with Britney Spears didn't end amicably. In it, he all but accuses her of cheating, with lines like, "You took a chance, made other plans / But I bet you didn't think that they would come crashing down," "You don't have to say, what you did / I already know, I found out from him," and the knife-twister, "It wasn't like you only talked to him / And you know it." Hey, Britney never claimed she was innocent.

Justin has never outright admitted "River" is about Britney. When MTV interviewed him in 2002, he played it coy with, "I'm not going to specifically say if any song is about anybody. … [Songs] can stem from things that … happened to you … or they can stem from ideas that you think could happen to you." But in 2012, the song's co-producer, Timbaland, said it's totally about Britney. During an episode of E! True Hollywood Story, Timbaland mentioned how the song came about: "[Justin] went to a concert and saw Britney, and Britney talked about him … and he was pissed." Justin elaborated, "I was on … not the most enjoyable phone call. … [Timbaland] could tell I was visibly angry." He ranted to Timbaland, "I can't believe she did that to me." From that anger came "River."

Justin never said Britney's name during that interview, but the guy next to him did and he just ran with it, so that seems pretty solid.

Foo Fighters (well, Dave Grohl, anyway): 'I'll Stick Around'

If Courtney Love didn't exist, neither would hate-filled diss tracks, But most songs about her are only rumored to be so, as she's rarely mentioned by name and few confirm when asked. Except Dave Grohl, whose "I'll Stick Around" is 100 percent anti-Courtney Love. "How could it be I'm the only one who sees your rehearsed insanity," is a particularly biting line, since he all but calls her a poser using fake histrionics to get attention. Then there's "I had no other hand in your ever-desperate plan," which could reference anything from using Kurt Cobain for fame, to her desire to own Nirvana's music and the money that comes with it. Finally, he seemingly regrets introducing Love to Kurt with, "I should've known we were better off alone." We know Grohl had Love in mind, by the way, because he said so. In a 2009 interview with his biographer, he admitted "I don't think it's any secret that 'I'll Stick Around' is about Courtney … just read the f****** words!" Probably Courtney, and her lawyers, did just that.

John Lennon: 'How Do You Sleep?'

John Lennon rarely minced words, especially about his old Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney. Lennon's "How Do You Sleep" is perhaps the ultimate example of that: a musical accusation that Paul is completely washed-up and that his new music is pure crap no one could possibly love.

The song's lyrics are minimal, meaning basically every line is loaded with venom. "Those freaks was right when they said you was dead" sets the tone real fast, and "the only thing you done was Yesterday" delivers the knockout punch. Lennon wraps it up with "A pretty face may last a year or two / But pretty soon they'll see what you can do / The sound you make is muzak to my ears." Lennon clearly wasn't jamming to "Maybe I'm Amazed" all that much.

Later, in a set of Playboy interviews, the pair discussed the dissing. In a 1980 interview, Lennon said, "I was using my resentment toward Paul to create a song. … I think Paul died creatively, in a way." But as far as he was concerned, it was just payback for McCartney's insults. In 1984, McCartney admitted as much, saying his song "Too Many People" had a couple lines directed at John: "Too many people preaching practices" and "You took your lucky break and broke it in two." Apparently, John decided to declare lyrical war. Who won? Music fans, obviously.

Taylor Swift: 'Mean'

This may not be news to you, but Taylor Swift tends to write about her life. In the case of "Mean," somebody who was mean to her falls victim to one of the biggest smackdowns of her career. Lines like "You, with your voice like nails / On a chalkboard, calling me out when I'm wounded / You, picking on the weaker man" set the bullying villain up and "Someday I'll be living in a big old city / And all you're ever gonna be is mean" knocks them down. The final verse, with lines like "I can see you years from now in a bar / Talking over a football game / With that same big loud opinion / But nobody's listening, washed up and ranting / About the same old bitter things" makes clear that, in Swift's mind, loud bullies will never amount to anything but more loud bullying.

She wasn't just taking down bullies in general — Taylor had someone in mind. She hasn't totally confirmed it, but it's almost certainly a music critic named Bob Lefsetz. This guy, after Swift won a Grammy in 2010 and sang poorly during her performance that night, wrote of her, "Taylor Swift can't sing. … [She] shortened her career last night." As she later admitted to 60 Minutes, "The things that were said about me by this dude just … leveled me. I don't have thick skin." What she does have, clearly, is the ability to turn anything into a hit song. It appears she took this pithy comment from a glorified blogger and turned it into one of her biggest, angriest tunes ever, forever proving she isn't some harmless kitten swatting weakly at imaginary threats.

Fleetwood Mac: 'Go Your Own Way'

If you don't pay attention to Fleetwood Mac's backstory, you'd probably find nothing particularly harsh in "Go Your Own Way." It might be a song about a breakup, but tons of breakup songs exist. What makes this one especially nasty, however, is the band's endless drama, most notably between guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks. "Go Your Own Way" is about their relationship crumbling, and because Buckingham wrote the lyrics, it doesn't exactly make Stevie look good.

Buckingham wrote a song blatantly accusing Nicks of sleeping around and sang it night after night with Nicks standing right there. Not even Macho Man was that savage. It starts off quickly, with the gut punch "loving you isn't the right thing to do." That's nothing compared to the second verse, where he sings "Packing up / shacking up's all you wanna do." Nicks, according to SoundOnSound, objected to this line, demanding Buckingham remove it from the song. He most certainly did not, meaning Nicks got to spend a whole career hearing her ex tell thousands of people a night how unfaithful she was. As she told Rolling Stone in 1997, "Every time those words would come out onstage, I wanted to go over and kill him." On the bright side, at least he didn't make her sing it.

Guns N' Roses: 'Get In The Ring'

Perhaps you've heard, but Axl Rose has anger issues. Those issues reached their musical apex with "Get In The Ring," an angry, profane rant against the media. As recapped by Uproxx, Guns N' Roses would make publications sign contracts giving the band full rights to edit their own interviews, write their own captions, and have final say on anything that makes the magazine. That didn't go over well with the magazines, particularly Spin, whose editor, Bob Guccione Jr., actually published the contract, along with a humiliating article exposing the "real" Axl Rose: a drug-addicted hothead named Bill who mooched off his girlfriend before he got famous.

Axl flew off the handle, writing "Get In The Ring" as a response. Some choice lines include, "I got a thought that would be nice / I'd like to crush your head tight in my vice," "I don't like you, I just hate you / I'm gonna kick your a**," and the song's ultimate zinger, "Bob Guccione Jr. at Spin / What, you pissed off 'cause your dad gets more p***y than you?" He then throws down the challenge with "Antagonize me motherf***er! Get in the ring motherf***er! And I'll kick your bi***y little a**! Punk!" Guccione was actually down for the fight, which never happened, presumably because once Rose learned Guccione had years of legitimate fight training, he ran off and settled on Plan B: taking absolutely forever to put out a new record.

Nine Inch Nails: 'Starsuckers, Inc.'

What's that? Yet another song in the subgenre of diss tracks seemingly aimed at Courtney Love? Nine Inch Nails' "Starsuckers Inc." almost certainly belongs in that category.

According to NME, Starsuckers (replace the second "s" with an "f" for the uncensored version), almost certainly attacks two subjects: Reznor's ex Courtney Love and Reznor's former friend Marilyn Manson. Apparently, Reznor almost quit music after producing Manson's Antichrist Superstar album. As for Courtney Love, well, it's Courtney Love. And so, Reznor throws out insults like "My god pouts on the cover of the magazine / My god's a shallow little bi**h trying to make the scene," "I am every f**king thing and just a little more / I sold my soul but don't you dare call me a whore," and the coup de gras (supposedly directed at Manson), "All our pain / How did we ever get by without you? / You're so vain / I bet you think this song is about you / Don't you?" Yes, he channeled Carly Simon, though he added way more venom and vitriol.

Reznor never confirmed he was singing about Love and Manson — his rep would only say, "[Reznor] says it's who you want it to be about, but people have certainly been speculating that it's Courtney and Manson. I couldn't possibly comment!" For what it's worth, Manson appeared in the video for "Suckers," so clearly the two made up at some point. Love and Reznor, though? Not so much.

Godsmack: 'Cryin' Like A B***h'

Godsmack has major issues with someone, and these issues gained musical sentience with Godsmack's "Cryin Like A B***h," a song with gut-punching lines like "Strut on by like a king / Telling everybody they know nothing / And long live what you thought you were / And time ain't on your side anymore" and "You can run / Your little mouth all day / But the hand of god / Just smacked you back into yesterday." (Get it? Because they're Godsmack.)

As it turns out, Godsmack singer Sully Erna's enemy was probably Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. In an interview with Blabbermouth, Sully admitted the song was based on events at Crue Fest 2, a concert Motley Crue headlined and Godsmack opened for. As he somewhat vaguely put it, "There's definitely been some rock-star garbage on this tour that we just have never seen in our career." In a separate Blabbermouth interview, Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin clarified Sully and Nikki had a big to-do during the tour. It apparently centered around Crue security refusing to let Godsmack's guests backstage, under concern they would be "starstruck" by Crue and refuse to leave them alone. Erna and Sixx got into a row over it, and the result was this Godsmack song.

Mojo Nixon: 'Don Henley Must Die'

Psychobilly legend Mojo Nixon hates the Eagles more than you do. After all, have you ever penned an angry rock song about how lead singer Don Henley is a soulless, pretentious clown of a singer who needs to retire and/or die before he hurts music even more than he already has? Probably you haven't. But Nixon did, with the bluntly named "Don Henley Must Die," which came complete with equally blunt lyrics like "Poet of despair / Pumped up with hot air! / He's serious, pretentious / And I just don't care / Don Henley must die!" He later calls him a "bloated hairy thing" who didn't deserve his Grammy and who needs a "sharp stick in his eye" before being strapped to the electric chair. Somebody's not getting VIP treatment at the Hotel California. Nixon did give Henley a ton of a credit years later, however, for jumping onstage with him to sing the song. As Nixon put it, "He has balls the size of church bells!" Not that he suddenly likes the man's "idiot poetry" or anything. He just respects his Great Eagle-sized chutzpah, that's all.

Chumbawamba: 'Give The Anarchist A Cigarette'

Chumbawamba, of "I get knocked down but I get up again" fame, was a politically charged, anarchist-punk band for decades. And they didn't hold back on anybody, including Bob Dylan, who you'd think they'd at least somewhat respect as a counter-culture revolutionary. Well, if they did, they had an awful funny way of showing it. Their song "Give The Anarchist A Cigarette" (named after Dylan's response to being called an anarchist back in the '60s) outright calls Dylan old, pathetic, washed-up, and out-of-touch. They sing, "Give the anarchist a cigarette / 'Cuz that's as close as he's ever gonna get / Give the anarchist a cigarette. Bobby just hasn't earned it yet / Give the anarchist a cigarette. The times are changing but he just forgets." You thought Don Henley had church bells down there? That's nothing compared to accusing Bob Dylan of "not earning" something. But true to form, the band doubles down, calling Dylan a "spoiled brat" with his own private jet. But it's not just you, Bob—Chumbawamba's singer proudly admits, "I hate every popstar that I've ever met." So at least you'll have company in that private jet of yours.