29+ Famous Songs That Threw Shade at Exes


| LAST UPDATE 03/22/2022

By Zuzanna Krause

When dating a musician, it's understood the relationship will turn into either a great love song or go terribly wrong. From Kanye to Taylor Swift, here are some artists who publicly threw shade at their exes.

"Cry Me a River" - Justin Timberlake

Cry Me a River by Mr. Timberlake was directed towards ex-girlfriend Britney Spears. The pop royalty duo dated in 1999 until rumors spread that Spears cheated on Timberlake with choreographer Wade Robson.

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Denise Truscello via Getty Images

They both never officially explained the reason behind the breakup, but according to the 2002 Cry Me a River music video, which featured an unfaithful Britney Spears look-alike, we got the hint. Britney later responded to the song with a tune of her own, Everytime, allegedly confirming her ex's claims.

"Wasted Times" - The Weeknd

The Weeknd released his six-song album, My Dear Melancholy, in 2018, with Wasted Times coming in at number three. The artist is best known for his smooth romantic lyrics, with this track being no different. In fact, the singer dedicated this one to ex-girlfriend Bella Hadid.

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James Devaney via Getty Images

The former couple dated on and off for three years starting in 2016, where he dated Selena Gomez on and off around the same time. When Wasted Times was released, it put both relationships on display, specifically referring to his great love for Bella and her love of horses.  

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"Heartless" - Kanye West

Kanye jumps right in with this one. In the 2008 track, Heartless, Ye apparently raps about his ex-fiance Alexis Phifer. The two started dating in 2002, and by 2008 when Heartless dropped, clearly other feelings had surfaced. It is also said that Ye's famous track Love Lockdown was directed towards Phifer.

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Theo Wargo / Staff via Getty Images

Ye throws some major shade towards the woman behind the song, asking, "How could you be so heartless?" The track continues with Ye calling her out on a few things and him admitting to a few things, "Hey yo, I know of some things that you ain't told me/ Hey yo, I did some things, but that's the old me."

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"Triggered" - Jhene Aiko

Big Sean and Jhene Aiko started dating in 2016 after the duo formed a new music group, TWENTY88, and later dropped an album together. It didn't take long until the couple became #BigAiko, and they took the music industry by storm - dropping hits like Beware and I'm Gonna Be. All was going well until…

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Tommaso Boddi / JS / stringer via Getty Images

The couple called it quit in 2018. And in 2019, Aiko dropped Triggered, where she went in. "Knew from the beginnin' / You'd ruin everything, you do it every time/ You are my enemy, you are no friend of mine." Despite her feelings towards him at the time, the couple is currently dating and going steady.

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"Thank U, Next" - Ariana Grande

Previously described as an "ode to all boyfriends," the 2018 love song anthem was definitely that and everything more. The song dropped after Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson ended their engagement, and Grande referenced a few more of her former ex-es while she was at it.

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Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

Besides Davidson, Big Sean and Ricky Alverez all got a page in her burn book - but Grande referenced her "angel" Mac Miller, who was not given a page. The music video was inspired by some of the most iconic teen rom-coms to dates, such as Mean Girls and Legally Blonde, with celebs such as Kris Jenner making an appearance.

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"Blame Game" - Kanye West

While we're on the Kanye train, let's throw another one in there. The 2010 song featured on Ye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album featured John Legend, referencing his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose. The two started dating in 2008 and ended their relationship in 2010 - just in time for his album to reflect on their relationship.

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Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images

The song discussed issues that arise in a relationship and who is at fault for all these issues… the blame game. "You weren't perfect, but you made life worth it," the rapper famously sang. Ye made it clear, "At the end of it, you know we both were wrong/ But I love to play the blame game, I love you more."

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“Infinity” - Mariah Carey

Shots were fired when Ms. Carey dropped Infinity seemingly throwing shade at her ex-husband Nick Cannon. The couple married in 2008 and separated in 2014, after having two children together - and in response, Infinity was born. The song was a part of her 2015 album, #1 to Infinity.

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Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images

Carey didn't hold back on this track, singing, "Why you mad?/ Talking about you mad/ Could it be that you just lost the best you've ever had/That's your bag/ Yup that's too bad/ Show is over you ain't gotta act." Alright, Mimi, tell us how ya really feel.

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"Fireworks" - Drake

The first song on Drake's 2010 album, Thank Me Later, features Alicia Keys on the hook and sets the tone for the rest of the album - so hold on. Drake is known as the Certified Lover Boy, so let's see what happened when it came to throwing his own shade at former lovers...

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Kevin Winter / Staff via Getty Images

The 2010 song Fireworks shed a light on his short fling with Rihanna in 2009, where Drake told us how he really feels. "I could tell it wasn't love/ You could've been the one, but it wasn't that serious," the rapper sang. However, the duo later collaborated on a few huge hits, such as Work and Take Care.

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"Where Are U Now" - Justin Bieber

Jelena fans worldwide were not happy about this one. The hit 2015 song, Where Are U Now, was apparently Justin Bieber's way of calling out ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez. For those who forgot, the couple dated on and off for several years, beginning in 2011.

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Pascal Le Segretain / Staff via Getty Images

The 2015 song famously quoted the singer asking his ex-boo, "So where are you now that I need you? I need you the most." Bieber continued to sing, "When you broke down, I didn't leave you. I stayed by your side," saying he was there for her, but where was she? The music video also made a few Selena references.

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"Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber

This Bieber hit was released on his fourth studio album, Purpose, in 2015 - right around the time he and Selena Gomez broke up. And, of course, all aspects of the hit song focused around her. The drop was Billboard's #1 single of 2016 and was nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammys.

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Noel Vasquez / Contributor via Getty Images

Fans everywhere were trying to figure out who the famous line, "My mama don't like you and she likes everyone," could be about. And the Internet landed on Selena. Again, ouch. The song continued, "And when you told me that you hated my friends/ The only problem was with you and not them." Sorry to all the Jelena lovers...

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"We Don't Talk Anymore" -Selena Gomez

We couldn't talk about all of Justin Bieber's songs throwing shade at Selena Gomez without sharing Selena's songs about Bieber. We Don't Talk Anymore, the famous pop song of 2016, quite literally describes their relationship at the time right there in the title.

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Barry King via Getty Images

Gomez collaborated with singer Charlie Puth, right around the time they were rumored to start dating to produce the 2016 hit. Gomez sang, "We don't love anymore/ What was all of it for?/ Oh, we don't talk anymore/ Like we used to do." The complicated love story does continue...

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"Lose You to Love Me" - Selena Gomez

Gomez released her 2020 hit album Rare a few years later, with the lead single Lose You to Love Me, directed right toward Justin Bieber. The lyrics followed Gomez's and Bieber's relationship timeline: "in two months, you replaced us/ Like it was easy/ Made me think I deserved it."

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Lester Cohen/AMA2011 / Contributor via Getty Images

Fans put two and two together when Justin Bieber started dating now-wife Hailey Baldwin shortly after he and Selena ended things. The complicated love triangle went on and off for about a year or two - but Bieber sealed the deal with Hailey when the two tied the knot in September 2018.

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"I Don't F**k With You" – Big Sean

This breakup anthem made quite the statement back in 2015 when it was officially released. Big Sean told us all how he really felt when it came down to ex-fiance Naya Rivera. The beloved late actress and Big Sean were engaged in 2013 and broke up shortly after.

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Imeh Akpanudosen via Getty Images

Unfortunately, the Glee actress passed away in 2020 in a tragic accident. Big Sean later shared his regret over producing IDFWU, saying, "She's made such an impact on people, and she's done so many great things in her life and her career that it was hurtful to even have that (song) be associated with her."

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"I Don't Give A" - Madonna

The queen of pop has always made her feelings known. Madonna, penned this breakup anthem towards ex-husband Guy Ritchie, telling the world about the ins and outs of their marriage and their rough divorce. Ritchie and Madonna were married from 2000 to 2008.

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Anne-Christine Poujoulat via Getty Images

I Don't Give A featured Nicki Minaj and debuted on Madonna's 2012 dance-pop album MDNA. "You don't know what's in my head/ This conversation makes me want to choke/You don't know what's in my head/I'd kill ya, but I'm afraid of the row," she sang. Well, that explains that.

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"So What" - P!nk

Another powerful breakup anthem song by none other than P!nk: So What. This powerful track dropped in 2008 on the singers' album, Funhouse, about her on and off-again relationship with motocross racer Carey Hart. Today, the duo is still standing strong - despite some of these lyrics…

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Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images

The two split in 2008, and P!nk's husband became the star of the So What music video - without knowing what the song was even about. The tune went a little something like this... "I guess I just lost my husband / I don't know where he went / So I'm gonna drink my money / I'm not gonna pay his rent." Yikes.

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"I Hit It First" - Ray J

Talk about throwing shade with this one. Ray J released this infamous revenge track in 2013 about ex-girlfriend Kim Kardashian well after the couple dated, to remind everyone that he, well, hit it first. The I Hit It First music video even featured a Kardashian look alike, if it wasn't already clear enough.

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Stefanie Keenan via Getty Images

The song started strong with Ray J singing, "She might move on to rappers and ballplayers/But we all know I hit it first." Yes, we all know, and we will never forget. The rapper referred to Kim's 72-day marriage with ex-husband Kris Humphries, former NBA player. He also mentioned now ex-husband, Kanye West. Ah, whose next?

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"7 Things" - Miley Cyrus

Let's take it back a second. Back in 2008, Hollywood artist Miley Cyrus did what we all wish we could - she listed several things she disliked about her ex and then made a hit song about it. Talk about putting someone on blast. So, who was the lucky fella? A young Nick Jonas.

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Mathew Imaging via Getty Images

The couple dated for just over two years. And when the 2008 single dropped, it gave teenage angst a whole new name. When asked about offending Jonas, she responded, "I want them to be upset. That was my point. I was a little worried, but I'm excited that I just did it."

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"Forever & Always" - Taylor Swift

This couldn't be written without mentioning a few of Taylor Swift's best moments throwing shade at some of her exes. The 2008 breakup song Forever & Always that played on radio stations across the world was Taylor's way of getting back at ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas.

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Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

The singers dated for a few months in the summer of 2008. Later, Jonas apparently broke up with her via a 27-second phone call resulting in the hit song. Thanks, Joe. "Oh, I stare at the phone, he still hasn't called/ And then you feel so low you can't feel nothing at all," she famously sang. So, the band clapped back...

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"Paranoid" - Jonas Brothers

It appears Nick Jonas wasn't the only brother to stir the pot back in the early 2000s. Joe Jonas also had his time to shine when he broke up with pop sensation Taylor Swift. The brother band had a lot to say in response to the singer calling out Joe on her hit song, Forever & Always.

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Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

The Jonas Brothers released the song Paranoid in 2009, singing, "That's why my ex is still my ex / I never trust a word she says / I'm runnin' all the background checks / And she's freaking out." So, who did it better? Stay tuned for more Taylor Swift content.

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"Dear John" - Taylor Swift

Buckle up, Taylor Swift has written a lot of songs. Next up is the iconic 2010 song Dear John that called out John Mayer (clearly). The singer didn't hesitate with this one and threw his name right in the title and many other jabs in the song. Alright, girl.

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Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

The couple dated for under a year, and shortly after the break up came the song on her album Speak Now. "You paint me a blue sky / And go back and turn it to rain / And I lived in your chess game / But you changed the rules every day," she sang, referencing their break up. But then it was John's turn…

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"Paper Doll" - John Mayer

John Mayer released his response to Taylor Swift's Dear John in 2013 with Paper Doll. The song directly responded to Taylor Swift's lyrics, as he sang, "Cut the cord and pull some strings / And make yourself some angel wings / And if those angel wings don't fly / Someone's gonna paint you another sky."

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Theo Wargo via Getty Images

Mayer sang about an ex who he "was good to" but was too fragile to handle their relationship, like a paper doll. So, not all relationships are meant to last... The couple actually collaborated on Mayer's single Half of My Heart before the battle of the heartbreak anthems commenced.

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“Still Feel Like Your Man” -John Mayer

While we are talking about John Mayer, the hit single Still Feel Like Your Man is another love song for the books. This drop was more of an ode to Mayer’s on and off again romance with ex-girlfriend Katy Perry, but he made it very clear he still felt like her man in this track.

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Charley Gallay via Getty Images

Being quite the serial dater, Mayer laid low on the dating scene after dating Perry and let it all out in this 2017 hit. Mayer sings, "I still keep your shampoo in my shower/ In case you wanna wash your hair…Still think I'm never gonna find another you." It looks like it still may be true; Mayer is single…

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“Shout Out to My Ex” - Little Mix

Shout Out to My Ex calls out One Direction’s Zayn Malik in the classic girl band versus boy band dilemma. Singer Perrie Edwards dated Malik from 2011 until 2015, right around the time Malik announced he was leaving 1D. Shortly after, the 2016 break-up anthem was born.

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Disney via Shutterstock

Perrie confirmed Malik dumped her via text. Ouch. So, naturally, the girl group called out Malik for being, well, ya know… There is no confusion who the song is about, as the girl group sang, "Guess I should say thank you/ For the "hate yous" and the tattoos." The former 1D singer had a tattoo of his ex, now removed. Again, ouch.

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“Perfect” - One Direction

While we’re talking about One Direction, let’s take a look at their hit track, Perfect. Of course, Taylor Swift will also be involved, so strap in. Swift dated One Direction member Harry Styles back in 2012 for under a year when the two broke up. And Swift released the song Style, very clearly calling out her ex-beau.

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David Krieger via Getty Images

In response, the boy band released Perfect in 2015, targeting Swift. The group of heartbreakers sang, "And if you're looking for someone to write your breakup songs about/ Baby, I'm perfect." Well, now that that's cleared up, let's take a look at one last Swift moment.

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“All Too Well” - Taylor Swift

This one might take the cake for shading exes. Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal dated for only a few months in 2010, but the singer was left heartbroken and told the world about it on her album Red, released in 2010. The song followed Swift recalling her memories with ex-beau Gyllenhaal and her remembering it “all too well.”

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Steve Granitz / Contributor via Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris / Contributor via Getty Images

However, the song didn’t just release in 2010. All Too Well appeared to be the gift that keeps on giving, as it was re-released in 2021 as a 15-minute short film. All Too Well: The Short Film featured a young couple representing Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal and the ups and downs of their relationship. So, who's up next?

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“Don’t” - Ed Sheeran  

Ed Sheeran, the master of writing romantic love songs, decided to throw some shade with his 2014 track, Don’t, aimed at singer Ellie Goulding for linking up with one of his friends, One Direction singer, Niall Horan. OOO, some spicy British drama. And some more boy band drama, that’s three for five at this point.

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Gareth Cattermole via Getty Images

The song was a part of Ed Sheeran's album X and was later confirmed to be about Goulding. Sheeran famously sang, "That heart is so cold/ All over my home/ I don't wanna know that, babe/Don't f**k with my love." Alright, "Don't" mess with Ed Sheeran - though it seems Goulding couldn't help herself...

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“On My Mind”- Ellie Goulding

In response to Ed Sheeran’s song, Don’t, Ellie Goulding released the catchy tune On My Mind about Sheeran. The couple dated in 2013 when they were spotted holding hands at the MTV Video Music Awards, but clearly, it didn’t last very long. So, what was On My Mind about?

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Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

The singer got her revenge for Don't when she dropped the song as part of her third studio album, Delirium. The singer called out Sheeran on her track when she sang, "Talking 'bout a girl, 'bout a girl with my name/ Saying that I hurt you, but I still don't get it/ You didn't love me, no, not really." Okay, okay...

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“You Oughta Know” - Alanis Morissette

Break-up songs can get angry, and Alanis Morisette did not hold back with her 1995 hit song, You Oughta Know. The singer showed her true feelings for Full House actor Dave Coulier with this tune. So let’s take a look at what she exactly said…. or sang, rather.

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Ron Galella via Getty Images

The couple dated back in the 90s for two years, when Morissette was just 18 and Coulier was 33. She famously sang, "And I'm here, to remind you/ Of the mess you left when you went away/It's not fair, to deny me/ Of the cross I bear that you gave to me/ You, you, you oughta know." He definitely knows now.

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"Fix You" - Coldplay

One of the most famed love songs of all time, Fix You, was written by lead singer Chris Martin. Rather than throwing shade, this one was dedicated to ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow following her father's death. The couple met in 2002, married in 2003, and divorced just over a decade later.

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Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

This one is bound to get anyone feeling some type of way. "Lights will guide you home/ And ignite your bones/ And I will try to fix you," Chris Martin sang, referring to Paltrow. Paltrow later commented on the song, "Fix You was about him trying to put me back together after my dad died. I think it's pretty nice."

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“Why Should I Be Sad”- Britney Spears

We started with J.T. throwing shade at Brit, so let’s end with Brit throwing shade at someone else. This tune was not directed towards the Cry Me A River singer but rather to Spear’s ex-husband, Kevin Federline. This infamous couple was married between 2004 and 2006, resulting in this infamous diss song.

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Brit sang, "My friends said you would play me/ But I just said they're crazy," referring to her ex-husband known for his alleged womanizing ways. She continued, "From the stupid freaking things that you do… It's time for me to move along." And she did! Brit is now happily engaged. We love a happy ending.

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