The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Massive Rap Beef Pits Stars Against One Another

Credit: Instagram

The long-standing feud between Drake and Kendrick Lamar has reopened with a series of diss tracks. Not only have the two megastars been enveloped in a beef, but their star power has roped in other big names, such as Rick Ross, J. Cole, and Future, among others.

After some early collaborations in 2011 and 2012, the feud began to take shape in 2013, as Lamar called out many members of the rap game, like Drake, J. Cole, and Meek Mill. The beef stayed relatively quiet until 2015’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” on which Kendrick called out Drake for supposedly using a ghost writer. Drake fired back on The Game’s “100” later that year, claiming he would have just as many fans as Kendrick had he not changed his style.

The quarrel went silent for nearly eight years, when J. Cole mentioned Lamar on “First Person Shooter,” off Drake’s “For All the Dogs.”

“Love when they argue the hardest MC/ Is it K-Dot? Is it Aubrey? Or me?/ We the big three like we started a league/ but right now, I feel like Muhammad Ali,” he writes, suggesting he sits atop the rap game.

Although Cole is trying to credit Lamar, a man he has long respected, he seemed to awaken a long-dormant feud between him and Drake, as Lamar would go on to throw shots at the two “First Person Shooter” rappers on Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That” off their March 2024 collab album, “WE DON’T TRUST YOU.”

“F*** sneak dissin’, first person shooter/I hope they came with three switches,” he writes. “Motherf**** the big three, *****, it’s just big me.”

Kendrick’s insistence on separating himself from the rest of the pack is consistent with his lyrics a decade ago, in his 2013 feature on Big Sean’s “Control.”

“I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you ******/Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you ******/They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you ******,” he writes.

Future, a former collaborator of Drake, also dissed him on the opening track of “WE DON’T TRUST YOU.”

“You a ***** number one fan, dog/Sneak dissin’, I don’t understand, dog/Pillowtalkin’, actin’ like a fed, dog/I don’t need another fake friend, dog,” he writes.

Metro Boomin, who also used to collaborate with Drake, expressed his contempt with the Toronto rapper in December of 2023, in a now deleted tweet after his album “HEROES & VILLAINS,” lost out on awards such as BET’s “Hip Hop Album of the Year” and Billboard’s “Top Rap Album.”

“yet her loss still keeps winning rap album of the year over H&V. proof that award shows are just politics and not for me,” he wrote.

Metro is in the news for his recent pair of collab albums with Future, “WE DON’T TRUST YOU,” which dropped March 22, and “WE STILL DON’T TRUST YOU,” which came out April 11. He also produced the score for 2023’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

More than three weeks after the initial diss from Kendrick Lamar, Drake responded, with a leaked diss track uploaded to Twitter and YouTube, titled “Push Ups.” On April 19, he officially released the track onto all streaming platforms.

His first two lines are direct shots at Future, pointing out how Drake helped make him.

“I could never be nobody number-one fan/Your first number one, I had to put it in your hand,” he writes.

Future’s only number one hit was 2022’s “WAIT FOR U,” which featured Drake and Tems, and spent a week at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 in May of that year. Surprisingly, Future catches very few bullets after that opening line, as Drake spends most of his time on Kendrick Lamar.

A few lines later, Drake directly addresses another line off of “WE DON’T TRUST YOU,” insulting Lamar’s stature.

“You won’t ever take no chain off of us/How the f*** you big steppin’ with a size seven men’s on?”

The first line addresses one of Kendrick’s lines off of “Like That,” where he claims he’s “snatchin’ chains and burnin’ tattoos,” a gang tactic meant to strip someone of their respect or affiliations. The second line pokes fun at Kendrick’s height with a pun, as his most recent album was called “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.” Lamar stands at 5’5”.

The biggest jab from Drake comes two lines later, when he goes after Lamar’s contract and wealth.

“Extortion, baby, whole career you been shook up/’Cause Top told you drop and give me fifty like some push-ups,” he writes.

Although it may seem relatively unimportant to the average listener, label deals are what matter most to the majority of artists, as they are their primary source of income. With this line, Drake insinuates that Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, the head of Kendrick’s former label, Top Dawg Entertainment, oversaw when and for whom Kendrick would release music, before taking half the cut. Kendrick has often portrayed himself as a “real” or “authentic” rapper, especially compared to Drake, who has gained a reputation as a popstar, a genre associated more with artificiality and lack of creativity.

Drake goes further in on Lamar’s lack of authenticity, citing his features on pop songs like Maroon 5’s “Don’t Wanna Know,” and Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”

“Maroon 5 need a verse, you better make it witty/Then we need a verse for the Swifties,” he writes.

Drake continues the track by further mentioning Lamar’s height, as well as pointing out that artists like SZA, Travis Scott, and 21 Savage have all outsold him in the past few years.

One of the funniest lines comes directly after, where Drake gives his one and only mention to Metro Boomin as the beat temporarily cuts out.

“Metro shut your ho ass up and make some drums,” he writes.

This particular line was a favorite of junior Shiv Patel, a huge Drake fan. He enjoyed the pettiness of the line and the abrupt beat stop. However, he is not overall a fan of the rap beef itself.

“I wouldn’t say I necessarily enjoy hip-hop beef because I’d love to see Drake collaborate with some of these rappers he dissed,” he said.

However, he also sees the bright side of the conflict, as competition tends to breed quality.

“I guess since [the beef] did produce good music from both parties I’d consider it a good thing,” he said.

After this line, there are some subliminal shots aimed at The Weeknd, similar to his comments on “For All the Dogs,” and some repetition of the “Top say drop” lines, before Drake goes in on Rick Ross, another longtime friend and collaborator.

The two rappers have made countless hits over the years, including 2021’s “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” 2019’s “Money in the Grave,” and 2010’s “Aston Martin Music.” However, in the past year, things have soured, as Ross points to Drake being unwilling to clear a verse on a song with fellow rapper French Montana and then sending a cease and desist. Ross then featured on “Everyday Hustle,” off of “WE DON’T TRUST YOU,” and posted a screenshot of him listening to Kendrick Lamar’s diss toward Drake on Instagram.

Drake unfollowed the rapper on social media, before directing several lines toward him in “Push Ups.”

“I might take your latest girl and cuff her like I’m Ricky/Can’t believe this he jumpin’ in, this ***** turnin’ fifty/Every song that made it on the chart, he got from Drizzy/Spend that lil’ check you got and stay up out my business,” he writes.

The cuff line is a double entendre, as “cuff” is slang for entering a relationship with someone, but also refers to Ross’ previous career as a corrections officer. He then expresses surprise that someone of Ross’ age [Ross is 48] would insert themselves into such a conflict, before reminding him that he is responsible for much of his success.

The next lines are a surprising attack at NBA player, Ja Morant, point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies.

“Shout out to the hooper that be bustin’ out the griddy/We know why you mad…/All that lil’ heartbroken Twitter sh*t for b******,” he writes.

Morant put out a tweet after “WE DON’T TRUST YOU” released, supporting Metro. Drake is rumored to have dated Morant’s ex-girlfriend, Brooklyn Nicole.

Morant has had his own share of public controversy, being suspended multiple times for bringing firearms on team flights and into team facilities.

The last major diss comes right after this line, as Drake addresses the recent J. Cole project and his subsequent apology, as well as Kendrick’s “Like That” verse.

“And that f*****’ song y’all got did not start the beef with us/This sh*t been brewin’ in a pot, now I’m heatin’ up/I don’t care what Cole think, that Dot sh*t was weak as f***,” he writes.

Cole released an EP titled “Might Delete Later” on April 5, with the final track titled “7 Minute Drill.” The project was widely panned by fans, especially “7 Minute Drill,” which contained some lines dissing Kendrick. The track has since been deleted, with Cole issuing an apology to Kendrick for the diss. Fans were even more upset by this; he gained the nickname “J. Fold” on platforms like Twitter and Instagram for his unwillingness to stand on business.

Jayson Leigh, Assistant Director of Admissions, Assistant Dean of DEIB, and avid Drake fan, has a cynical outlook on the hip-hop beef.

“I do believe that hip hop beef is real, but heavily dramatized and stretched,” he said. “What I mean by that is I am sure there was one or more situations that led to the tension, but then they stretch the truth in their lyrics to get more streams and downloads.”

He thinks “Push Ups” is solid, and is happy to hear Drake utilize his lyrical abilities again, but in general, thinks these big-time feuds are ultimately detrimental to rap as a culture and genre.

“I do believe it is starting to hurt the authenticity of hip-hop, and at the end of the day my true music love is real hip-hop,” he said.

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  • R

    Ryan TomanocyMay 8, 2024 at 9:18 AM

    The competition elevates the art form!

  • J

    Jackson EstesApr 24, 2024 at 9:17 PM

    can’t believe kendrick lamar wears size 7 shoes! drakes really that fraud!