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Brewster Bear Facts

Drake vs. Kendrick Lamar: The Breakdown over the Most Epic Rap Battle in History

Where is all started, who started it, and where it currently stands: everything you need to know
With the feud of rap’s figureheads having the largest feud of its kind in recent history, where have these diss tracks originated from? What’s been said? Who has “won”? (Photo credit: Rolling Stone)

Before we get into the more recent events, it’s important to reflect on the lead-up to the DJ tracks released by Kendrick Lamar and Drake.

Before Diss Tracks

Rapper and producer J Cole produced HiPower off of Kendrick’s first studio album, “Section.80,”  released in 2011. This song became one of Lamar’s first hits. Also in 2011, Drake added Kendrick Lamar to his album Take Care with the song “Buried Alive.” Kendrick also opened for Drake on his 2012 tour. Rapper Big Sean also featured Kendrick Lamar on his song, “Control,” in 2013. In Kendrick Lamar’s verse, he directly calls out many artists of the time, including both Drake and J. Cole, posing that he is better than the two. However, it is clear that in this scenario, he called for friendly competition without true malice. Throughout the next few years, it generally became public consensus that Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and J. Cole were established as the “Big 3” of the rap game throughout the 2010s and onward.

Now that we’ve established some needed background, let’s cover more recent developments.

“First Person Shooter,” October 6th, 2023 (Drake, ft. J. Cole)

While featuring on Drake’s song from his album “For All The Dogs,”  J. Cole affirms the idea that the rap genre has a “Big 3,”  directly stating that he “loves when they argue the hardest MC, Is it K-Dot? Is it Aubrey? Or me?” He also includes a line that likens himself to Muhammad Ali, and that feels as though he is the best of the three. He also says that “the Spider-Man meme is me looking at Drake,” saying that he and Drake are the best, leaving Kendrick out of it, intentional or not.

“Like That,” March 22nd, 2024 (Future, Metro Boomin, ft. Kendrick Lamar)

During his verse, Kendrick rejects the notion posed by J. Cole of the “big 3,”  asserting that it is “just big me.” He also includes many lyrics calling out Drake, specifically “Prince Outlived Mike Jack,” which is in reference to Drake as he has been known to compare himself to Michael Jackson. In this, Kendrick is comparing himself to Prince, stating that his music will outlast Drake’s. He also included a reference to Drake’s latest album at the time, “For All the Dogs,” when he compared both Drake and J. Cole to dogs and stated that he was going to take them to the “pet cemetery.”

Rapper J. Cole, depicted at his show where he apologized for his diss track towards Kendrick Lamar, citing that it didn’t “sit right with [his] spirits.” (Credit: Rolling Stone)

“7-Minute Drill,” April 5, 2024 (J. Cole)

During his track, Cole claims that Kendrick Lamar, despite his critical acclaim, was falling off in regards to the quality of his music. 2 days later, however, Cole formally withdrew from the beef, as it didn’t “sit right with [his] spirits.” Although the track and its removal were faced with criticism, Cole has recently been lauded for disengaging from the beef before Kendrick engaged in a response to J. Cole, along with upholding his image of non-violence.

“Push-Ups,” April 19, 2024 (Drake)

In his track “Push Ups,”  Drake responds back to Kendrick, including comments about Kendrick’s height and his work with other pop stars like the Weeknd. However, Drake did not just stick to making jabs at Kendrick Lamar, as he dissed both Rick Ross and Metro Boomin. He disregarded Metro Boomin’s involvement in making the song as a producer, asserting that Metro Boomin should not get himself involved and should just “make some drums” instead of interjecting between them. Rick Ross made a response to Drake, claiming that Drake has had cosmetic surgery on both his nose and abs.

“TaylorMade Freestyle,” April 19, 2024 (Drake)

This track, generally speaking, was a “double text” to Kendrick, with Drake expressing that he was both impatient and disappointed in the time it took for him to release a response. In doing so, Drake implemented AI voice models of Biggie Smalls, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac (of the West Coast era). Drake wrote from their perspectives to give advice to Kendrick on how to beat Drake, letting him know that “they are on his side.” However, his attempts eventually backfired to a great extent, with the Tupac estate sending a cease-and-desist claim to Drake, publicly announcing that they were “deeply dismayed and disappointed” in Drake’s use of the AI voice model. Drake had to take his track down as a result.

“Euphoria,” April 30, 2024 (Kendrick Lamar)

Within Lamar’s first released diss track, he refers to Drake as a degenerate and fake person, while also clearly showing his hatred towards Drake, not only musically but also as a person. To quote, “I hate the way that you walk, the way that you talk, the way that you dress, and the way you sneak away.” Not only does he also claim that Drake is a bad father, but he also teases that he has more music to release in regards to Drake. The choice of the song’s title was also likely very intentional, as Drake is the executive producer of the HBO show Euphoria. Therefore, when people search for “Drake” and “Euphoria,”  it is more likely that this diss track will populate the search results instead of the actual TV series.

“6:16 in LA,” May 3, 2024 (Kendrick Lamar)

The title of this song alone was in reference to many different aspects of Drake’s life.  6/16 is the date of Canadian Father’s Day, where Drake is originally from. It was the date that the TV show Euphoria was released, as Drake is the executive producer of the hit TV show. It is the date of Tupac’s birthday, which Drake employed the voice of in his recent diss track TaylorMade through AI. It is also a reference to Drake’s tendency to use times and dates in his song titles, for example, “8 a.m. in Charlotte.” Kendrick’s reference to Canadian Father’s Day could be a direct shot at Drake’s parenting, calling him out for being a bad father. In the song, Kendrick makes shots at Drake’s team, stating that they are not loyal to him. Kendricks also made jabs against Drake by the people he included in his producing team. He included Jack Antonoff, who has been the producer of Taylor Swift for over ten years.

“Family Matters,” May 3, 2024 (Drake)

On his release of the same day as the previous track, Drake brings up Kendrick’s family into the diss battle, which is considered an unwritten taboo of conflicts of the sort. In this particular track, Drake accuses Lamar of having gotten the Tupac estate to send a cease and desist to take down his previous “TaylorMade Freestyle.” He also directly accuses Lamar of abusing his fiancé, while also questioning the meaning of what he raps about, claiming that it provides no real value.

“Meet the Grahams,” May 3, 2024 (Kendrick Lamar)

Kendrick released “Meet the Grahams” in response to Drake’s “Family Matters” less than 24 hours later. In this song, Kendrick makes a large accusation against Drake, claiming that he is hiding the fact that he has another child, specifically an 11-year-old daughter. This was in reference to when he hid his son from the media in 2018. Drake later went on to Instagram, shortly after the song was released, to make light of the allegation so that he could discredit it. He also made many claims, stating that Drake was addicted to prescription pills, which could perhaps be the ones that were displayed on the cover but later had to be removed due to HIPPA. He also made references comparing Drake to producer Harvey Weinstein, asserting that he had sex offenders on his OVO sound payroll. Kendrick made many accusations against Drake, accusing him of committing crimes, poor treatment of women, etc. He made claims to state his overall belief that Drake is a horrible person. Drake did not address any of the other claims outside of the claims of a second secret child.

“Not Like Us,” May 4, 2024 (Drake)

Claims that Drake and his entourage are criminals and pedophiles and that they do not hold proper principles. Kendrick also claims within this track that Drake is abusive of women and that his usage of AI voices in his previous “TaylorMade” track was not only disrespectful, but that they would likely not support Drake in this battle as well. He recites multiple lines in this song that only further his point of Drake being abusive to underage girls, saying that, with his music, he was trying to “strike a chord, and it’s probably A-minor,”  which was also the key of the diss track’s beat, as produced by DJ Mustard.

“The Heart Part 6,” May 5, 2024 (Drake)

The cover image for Drake song “The Heart Part 6” along with the original series image.

Similar to how Kendrick called out Drake with the song title “6:16 in LA” which was in reference to moments in Drake’s career, the title “The Heart Part 6” was a reference to Kendrick’s “The Heart Part” series which has been a staple in his career.  Drake also furthers his claim that Kendrick’s fiance cheated on him with his business partner Dave Free by making the cover of the song is an Instagram picture of Whitney Alford and her children with a comment from Dave Free under it.  This furthered the claim that Kendrick’s fiance had cheated and he had been raising a child that was not his.  Drake also responded to the claims made in the song “Meet the Grahams” about his secret daughter, stating that the information had been fed to Kendrick straight from Drake and his team and the rumor was started as a false-flag operation.  He addressed Kendrick’s claims, but also went on the offensive himself with accusations that Kendrick has not seen his children in six months and that his fiancé is with Dave Free, who is the partner of Kendrick’s that he runs and founded the entertainment company PGLang with.

BBL Drizzy Beat Giveaway Challenge, May 5. 2024 (Metro Boomin)

Metro Boomin released this challenge after the producer went after Drake with a series of tweets. Drake and the producer have been at odds since last year when Metro Boomin expressed disappointment that his own album Heroes & Villains was not winning awards over Drake and 21 Savage’s album Her Loss. The producer had been attacked in multiple of Drake’s diss tracks against Kendrick, including “Family Matters,” where Drake called him “lame,” and in “Push Ups,” where Drake told him to “make some drums.” The title itself was a diss towards Drake as it referenced the nickname that Rick Ross has been calling Drake due to his alleged body modifications. Any artist could enter the competition and wrap over the beat “BBL DRIZZY BPM 150.mp3”. Countless have rapped over the beat sample, making jabs at Drake, and some have even done saxophone and guitar covers over the beat. The winner of the challenge will receive a free beat from Metro Boomin, along with a cash prize.

The Lowdown

Drake’s main claims against Kendrick Lamar include that his son is not biologically his, that he is having relationship problems, and that he is physically abusing his fiancee.

Lamar accepting his Pulitzer Music Prize for his 2017 album, “DAMN.” (Credit: The Pulitzer Prizes)

Kendrick Lamar’s main claims against Drake are that he is a “colonizer” who is taking culture, that he has a second secret child, and that he is and employs pedophiles.

Conclusion: From friends, to rivals, to full-blown enemies, the tension between Drake and Kendrick Lamar has been there for over a decade. The two have been calling each other out since the end of last year, and it does not appear to be stopping anytime soon. Now most people on the internet have taken sides, but what side have you taken? Which rapper do you feel has ‘won’?

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