Drake vs Kendrick: Explaining the feud between the rappers

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*Written by staffers Stella Agratchev and Emma Colarte Delgado*

Rap music is one of the most popular music genres and two artists who have taken the world by storm recently are Kendrick Lamar and Drake. In recent years the artists have been feuding, and Lamar took this feud to the next level by releasing singles “dissing” Drake, with clapbacks from the Canadian artist as well. This sparks the question, what is the feud about and how did it start?

The two artists first met around 2010, in which both were first beginning to rise in popularity. The first rumors of tension between the two emerged in 2013 with Kendrick declaring himself the “King of New York” in an interview and calling out multiple other rappers, including Drake. He told these rappers that they needed to “step up their game.” While Drake acknowledged the lyrics in an interview with Billboard, he never outright responded to the statement through any interviews or songs. Throughout the next few years both artists seem to go back and forth, throwing subtle “disses” at one another through music.

Most recently, Kendrick released a song in collaboration with Metro Boomin and Future. This song is a clapback to Drake and J. Cole’s song “For All the Dogs.” In the song, J. Cole questions who the best rapper is, Drake, Kendrick or himself, referring to them as the “Big Three” in rap music. This sparks Kendrick to clap back saying “[screw] the big three, *****, it’s just big me,” declaring Kendrick as the king of rap. This sparks debate over who really is the best. 

 J. Cole stepped out of the battle, but Drake fought back with his next two singles “Push-ups” and “Taylor Made Freestyle.” These songs diminish Kendrick by saying there are better artists such as SZA and Travis Scott, while also accusing Kendrick of using pop music, specifically Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” track, to get famous. Drake’s last lines comment on how now they have to wait a week in order to hear a new song, as Swift’s newest album, “THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT” had just been released April 19. 

As predicted, a week after Swift’s album, Kendrick fires back with two more tracks, “Euphoria,” titled after the HBO show Drake produces, and “6:16 in L.A.,” produced by Swift’s main producer Jack Antonoff. These songs were a direct hit, as in “Euphoria” Kendrick even calls himself “the biggest hater” of Drake and goes on a list of things he hates about his fellow rapper. Lamar continues to insult Drake in terms of his parenting, plastic surgery rumors and ghostwriter scandal.

Drake responded with his “Family Matters” track, where he insinuates that Kendrick is not the father of this son, and starts alleged rumors about Kendrick beating his fiancée. With family being brought into the mix, the hatred between the two artists grew to a level it had never been before.

Less than two hours after Drake’s diss, Kendrick drops “meet the grahams.” This song, with its ominous rhythm, showcases Lamar’s lyricism as he uses the song as a letter, addressing members of Drake’s family. This haunting track gives advice to Drake’s son, Adonis, while bashing Drake’s parents for raising such a terrible child. Hints of fetishes and attraction to minors are dropped in this track. Lamar not only denies previous accusations from Drake (stating they’re “fake”), he also drops his own chilling revelations. He ends the song stating that Drake might have a secret daughter, sealing Lamar’s track for the win. 

If the previous track were not enough, Lamar dropped “Not Like Us” two days later. This song is much more upbeat compared to the previous song. It has scatheing lines such as “Certified Lover Boy, certified pedophile” and “Tryna strike a cord and it’s probably a minor.” These claims about Drake have led to him being viewed poorly by the public, and even Rolling Stone has declared Kendrick the winner of the rap battle. Drake’s weak response to Lamar’s diss (“The Heart Part 6”) was in no way comparable to the massive hate surrounding Drake and his previous actions, with Kendrik winning the battle. 

These songs were a huge hit as “Not Like Us” is now Kendrick’s number one track on Spotify and “Euphoria” is his third top track. “Not Like Us” has remained on top of the Hot 100 for over four weeks now. Due to the popularity of these songs the feud was brought back to the public’s attention and has regained lots of attention. Kendrick seems to be declared the winner, as all over the internet people shame Drake for his pedophile allegations. Additionally, videos of Drake kissing and caressing a 17-year-old minor have surfaced and are adding fuel to the fire. 

Yet although they seem to always be “beefing” in songs, both artists have acknowledged mutual respect for one another in interviews. They have also collaborated with one another in the songs Future’s “Tony Montana” and A$AP Rocky’s “F**kin’ Problems.”

These artists have acknowledged both dislike and respect for one another demonstrating to audiences that the two can coexist and that their dislike for one another may not be as strong as it’s made out to be.

Kendrick Lamar’s song “Not Like Us” is currently topping the charts with 70.9 million official streams. “I personally love both artists and their music. However when it comes to who makes better diss songs, I think I am on Kendrick’s side. His lyrics and beat of the songs are so catchy and he throws insults towards Drake around in a way that’s funny and catchy. While Drake seems to throw more subtle disses, Kendrick’s are more direct which I like a lot,” freshman Mia Jeannopoulos said. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons). 

As a rising senior, this is Emma’s third year in the Patriot Post and she’s excited to be the Online Editor this year. Outside of newspaper, she’s Co-President of the journalism honor society, Quill and Scroll, and also the Editor-in-Chief of the Sigma Xi Honor Society magazine. She is also involved in and has officer positions in Science Research, Sigma Xi, FBLA, Model UN, SNHS, and other clubs, including honor societies and her own nonprofit. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching dramas on Netflix, listening to Taylor Swift, and hanging out with friends and family. She’s very excited to work on the Patriot Post this year!

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