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Spartan Scoop

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Spartan Scoop


Feuding rappers make serious allegations against each other
Jadis Veal
Drake’s reputation tarnished after diss tracks

Those who pay attention to the rap world know that Drake and Kendrick Lamar have had a bit of a feud over the last 10 years. Now, it’s not just a bit of a feud. The subtle jabs are no longer subtle, and the rappers now openly and publicly hate each other. What went wrong between the two artists, and how did this hatred start? 

Most think that the beef started back in 2013. In his verse in the song “Control” with Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar stated that he wanted to murder numerous other rappers, including Drake. At the time, Drake wasn’t angered much by this, at least not publicly. He responded to the line by saying, “It just sounded like an ambitious thought to me.” Drake may have said this to avoid a conflict with a respected rapper, but the public found Kendrick’s line controversial and unnecessary. Drake said that he knew that Kendrick wasn’t murdering him and that the two rappers could revisit the topic when the day arrived. This was the first of many negative interactions the two would have over the next eleven years.

He called out the entire rap game as well

Before this 2013 incident, Drake and Lamar had a healthy and growing friendship. They first collaborated on Drake’s song “Buried Alive Interlude” in 2011 (Billboard). Over the next year, they collaborated multiple times on each other’s albums. Kendrick even opened for Drake on his “Club Paradise” tour in 2012. Their relationship seemed to be cordial and admiring. 

Though Lamar called out Drake on “Control”, he also called out almost every other big name in rap. He called out the entire rap game as well. The attack in the song wasn’t directly targeted at Drake, so nothing overwhelmingly negative came out of it. This is why Drake said only one month later that it was “all love” between him and Lamar. Everything seemed to be patched up at this point, and Drake let the media know that he and Lamar had a good friendship.

The positive relationship only lasted until one month later. In Lamar’s BET Hip-Hip Awards cypher, he called Drake a sensitive rapper and said he was fake. From Drake’s perspective, this diss came out of nowhere. In a December interview, Drake said that he felt “baited” by Lamar (USAToday), and didn’t respond when questioned about why he chose to stay silent, he noted that it was for the same reason that Jordan doesn’t have to play a game of pickup basketball to prove he can play. After Drake compared himself to the greatest of all time, he was relatively silent about Kendrick for years.

From 2014 to 2020, there were a few subtle exchanges between the rappers, including the occasional dig at one another. Even though all seemed to be settled after 2020, the two rappers still had some underlying hate for each other. In 2023, Drake and J. Cole collaborated on the song “First Person Shooter”. In this song, J. Cole says that he, Drake, and Lamar are the “big three” rappers of their generation. Cole says that out of the three, he’s the “Muhammed Ali” (the greatest). Drake also compares himself to Michael Jackson on this song, which Kendrick takes note of, and doesn’t like. 

In response to “First Person Shooter”, Kendrick Lamar took some of the first serious digs at Drake. He said that there was no “big three”, and it was just him, alone at the top of the rap world. He also dissed Drake for comparing himself to Michael Jackson and said that he was more like Prince in the music scene. 

April 19th, 2024 is when the drama exploded. Drake released the song “Push Ups”, in which he took direct shots at Lamar. He called him a pipsqueak and made fun of his size seven shoes (Lamar is 5’5’’). Drake also released “Taylor Made Freestyle”, in which he challenged Lamar at the end of the song, after dissing him for bars and bars. He told Lamar that he better have a “quintuple entendre”, and said that his response better be “crazy good”. After saying that he was “waiting” for Lamar to respond, there were eleven days of silence.

After a short period of quiet, whilst Lamar was creating his response, he dropped the lyrical masterpiece, Euphoria. He chose this name for the song because Drake worked as the executive producer on the show with the same title. Each lyric in Euphoria seems to have multiple meanings, giving Drake the entendre he asked for in his freestyle. 

One of Lamar’s opening lines in Euphoria is “Got a Benjamin and a Jackson all in my house like I’m Joe, okay”. This line is a reference to Drake referring to himself as Michael Jackson back in 2023. Michael Jackson famously had a pet rat named Ben (hence the Benjamin line), and his dad’s name was Joe. Lamar’s bar is again making fun of Drake for comparing himself to Jackson and saying that there is a rat in the midst of their drama. Fans have speculated that Lamar was taking a shot at J. Cole in this line, even though he apologized for his comments and took them down. The “Benjamin” and “Jackson” are also referring to Ben Franklin and Andrew Jackson, so Lamar is touting his net worth in this line.

In a single line, Lamar managed to diss Drake for his Michael Jackson comparison, called J. Cole Drake’s pet rat, and flexed his net worth. This is just one of the multi-faceted lines in Euphoria. Kendrick also says that Drake is a “pathetic master manipulator”, and talks about how Drake is insecure about being mixed-race. He insults Drake’s legitimacy repeatedly throughout the song, and says that Drake likes to “act tough”. 

Just a few days later, Lamar also released the song “6:16 in LA”, which has just as many clever lyrics and disses as “Euphoria”. Notably, Lamar released these songs within 24 hours of each other, which, to his fans, was highly unexpected. In Lamar’s words though, “Sometimes you gotta pop out and show” people. 

It was time for Drake’s response. “Euphoria” was a massive success in making Drake look like a horrible, fake person. Because of this, Drake knew that he had to deliver if he still wanted a chance at winning the rap battle. The song “Family Matters” has three different parts, all with their own beats. The song is full of disses, from height shaming to domestic abuse allegations. Drake told Kendrick that his girlfriend was the “man of the house” because Kendrick is very short. 

There were many attacks on “Family Matters” that stuck, and the song certainly escalated the tension between the two. The songs went from personal insults to character attacks and criminal accusations. If these accusations turned out to be true, the reputations of the rappers would be tarnished. Family Matters would have been a success if Kendrick hadn’t had the perfect response to it: the song “Not Like Us”, released the same day as Family Matters. Lamar also released “Meet The Grahams” that same day.

The Song “Not Like Us” is a perfect and timely response to “Family Matters”. The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Everything about the song, from the beat to the clever lyrics, made Drake unable to come back from the mounting negative pressure coming from all around the rap world. Drake said in the past that he was facing a “30v1” in the rap world, and “Not Like Us” was the final dagger that gave the victory to the 30. A lot of the song is based on pedophilia accusations towards Drake. Kendrick says things like “Hey Drake, I heard you like ‘em young”. These serious accusations put Drake on defense and he had to go into damage control mode. 

The common consensus in the rap world is that Kendrick Lamar outsmarted and out-rapped Drake throughout the battle. Drake released “The Heart Part 6” on May 5th, just a day after “Not Like Us”, “Meet The Grahams”, and “Family Matters” were all released. Though the song was well-written, the accusations from Lamar were still too much for the rap world to side with Drake. The fans didn’t think that “The Heart Part 6” was a good enough response to the pedophilia allegations in “Not Like Us”.

The most well-received and famous line from the rap battle came in “Not Like Us”, and helped Lamar to get the advantage over Drake. He said that Drake was “tryna strike a chord, but it’s probably A Minor”. Kendrick is calling attention to the fact that few are siding with him and that he is failing to “strike a chord.” It also continues the accusations of pedophilia against Drake. 

The rap beef was certainly profitable for both of the rappers. Their songs were the most popular in the world while it was going down, and the whole industry was tuned in to hear what each rapper would say next. Lamar’s frequency and lyrical brilliance delivered him the victory, but the animosity between the rappers is anything but gone.

About the Contributors
Sam Maney
"Sports is life" -Sam
Jadis Veal
Jadis Veal, Illustrator
"Where's everyone going? Bingo?"- Leon Kennedy