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A diss track or diss song is a song primarily intended to disparage or insult another person or group. While musical parodies and attacks have always existed, the trend became increasingly common in the hip hop genre as part of the hip hop rivalry phenomenon.
Historical forerunners of the diss track were the satirical Arabic poems called "Hija" during the Middle Ages, from the 9th century on. The idea was insulting somebody present in the same room as the poet recited his poem.
One of the earliest musical diss tracks occurred in Jamaica. After Lee "Scratch" Perry left producer Coxsone Dodd he released a track called Run for Cover (1967) poking fun at him. Perry in particular has a long history of releasing diss tracks directed at former musical collaborators. The musical single People Funny Boy (1968) attacked his former boss Joe Gibbs. In response Gibbs himself released a track called People Grudgeful (1968). Perry's "Evil Tongues" (1978) was aimed at The Congos and “Judgement Inna Babylon” (1984) and "Satan Kicked The Bucket" (1988) at Chris Blackwell. Perry also attacked Michael Jackson (with whom he never worked together) on the track "Freaky Michael" (2010).
- Hija#Satirical poetry
- "The Upsetter", Black Music (January 1975). "Perry says the song was his was of expressing how he felt about the way Clement Dodd (Sir Coxsone) had treated him financially while he had been working for Dodd. It spoke of revenge: 'You take people for fool, yeah / And use them as a tool, yeah / But I am the av-en-ger...'."