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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Kendrick vs Drake Feud is a Never-Ending Stalemate

The paradox of modern rap beef

It’s hard to imagine rap music without Kendrick Lamar and Drake at the forefront. Kendrick’s legendary status has grown with each album and Drake’s record-breaking numbers seem to never end. Kendrick has long dominated in respect to the artistic direction of his music, but Drake’s influence and grandiose is unmatched. For years it’s seemed inevitable that the rap debate would come down to the two of them, so when Kendrick finally fired shots with his energetic verse on Future and Metro Boomin’s “like that,” I was elated. “Its finally time!” I thought. “Rap needs this!”

But did it? As the beef continues, Kendrick continues to pile up song on top of song, accusation after accusation, while Drake continues to fire back with his own defenses. The internet is buzzing with discussion, with Kendrick fans endlessly over analyzing bars on “Euphoria” and Drake fans spewing statistics about streaming numbers on “The Heart Part 6.” No Kendrick fan dares admit to appreciating Drake’s master scheme to ground Kendrick by feeding him false information, while Drake fans refuse to acknowledge any resemblance of a “bar” coming from Kendrick’s songs. No matter who says what, the boundaries of this war never shift.

So should you even care?

Rap beef, put simply, occurs when two artists decide they don’t like each other and decide to “fight” back and forth through a string of songs where they thoroughly pick apart and insult their opponent. The idea dates back to 1984, when Roxxanne Shanté aimed a diss track towards the trio U.T.F.O. Since then, rap beef has been an incredibly important component to music culture. Between legendary fuedes with Tupac and Biggie Smalls, Drake’s unsuccessful battle with Pusha T and now Drake and Kendrick’s conflict, the “diss track” has emerged as a rare and iconic piece of hip-hop.

But following Pusha T’s “Story Of Addion” beef rap is not what it once was. In the past, the standard diss consisted of a string of insults from each party, usually in a quick succession of 1-2 songs from each artist. However, in a world post Drake vs. Pusha T, things have changed. Pusha T’s dismantling of Drake was explosive, mostly due to revealing that Drake was hiding a son; a moment which permanently changed the trajectory of Drake’s image—causing question surrounding the perception of his identity— and more so the zeitgeist of rap beef. It’s now essentially required that one rapper’s diss on another include some sort of world-stopping, jaw-dropping secret in order to take a concrete win.

This new, extra dramatic version of rap beef is the centerpiece of Kendrick and Drake’s feud. Kendrick started off with his “Like That” verse, a short-yet-sweet fiery call out of Drake and J Cole, who are both commonly associated with Kendrick as the “big three” of rap. Kendrick went for the neck, claiming that the big 3 was really just “big me,” but left it at insults and braggadocio.

Other than a retracted diss from J Cole aimed towards Kendrick—he literally apologized and deleted the song—what followed was a nearly month of down time. This lead up to Drake’s first reply, “Push Ups.” Drake kept it simple- a repetitive and hard hitting beat, with equally hard hitting lyrics, again mainly keeping it light and engaging. After “Push Ups,” the thick of the war began and things got serious.

Kendrick’s “euphoria” dropped on the morning of April 30. Seemingly out of nowhere, Kendrick came to play with 3 different beats, bars regarding Drake’s absence of cultural significance and an arsenal of remarks on Drake’s Canadian-ness, including a hilariously delivered Canadian accent. “Euphoria” was full of entendres, jokes and surprises. Many believed this to be the official end of the feud, Kendrick had completely wrecked Drake, but this was only the start.

The following weeks quickly became the apex of this beef. Other artists like Kanye West, Rick Ross and Metro Boomin tried to get involved, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick to just Kendrick and Drake.

Morning of May 3: Kendrick drops “6:16 in LA”

Kendrick claims that he has insider information coming from Drakes team at OVO, delivered over a smooth, soulful, laid back beat.

May 3, 9:00 PM : Drake drops “Family Matters”

Drake fires back with his most explosive response yet, an almost 8 minute song and music video, where he alleges abuse in Lamar’s relationship. This is where the “revealing statement” diss tracks began coming from both sides.

May 3, 9:18 PM: Kendrick drops “Meet the Grahams”

Not 20 minutes after Drake’s “Family Matters” Kendrick drops “Meet the Grahams,” the most explosive and revealing track yet. In a haunting and sinister manner, Kendrick comes for Drake and his family, including a verse aimed towards Drake’s kid[s] and his parents. Kendrick also brings claims of Drake having relationships with underaged girls, knowingly paying sex-offenders within his label OVO and even having yet another kid he’s neglecting, this time an eleven-year-old daughter. It’s safe to say this is where the beef climaxed, but Kendrick wasn’t done yet.

May 4, 4:52 PM: Kendrick drops “Not Like Us”

The nail in the coffin. Kendrick doubles down on his major claims of Drake’s wrongdoings, all on a DJ Mustard produced west-coast banger. “Not Like Us” broke streaming records overnight, yet still managed to work effectively as a diss track.

May 5: Drake drops “The Heart Part 6”

Appropriately a damage control track, Drake attempts to soften the blows on yet another hard hitting drum-based beat. Drake challenges Kendrick’s claims, but misses the mark on the “diss” part of “diss track.” Instead of coming after Kendrick again, Drake basically repeats “nuh-uh!” for 6 minutes. He cleverly samples Aretha Franklins “Prove It,” asking Kendrick to prove his allegations against him.

As things seemed to fall quiet between Kendrick and Drake, things became very loud between fans. Does Drake really have a daughter? Did Kendrick have songs premade in order to drop right after Drake? Most importantly: is the beef over? Who won?

This is where the never-ending brain wrestle of modern rap beef begins. No matter how many blood-thirsty hits come from either side, no one really cares. The objective as a fan is not to see who wins, it’s to defend your favorite artist. No amount of “genius” annotations will shift the narrative from the perspective of a Drake fan, just like how no amount of argumentative tweets can change the perception from a Kendrick fan. No matter who says what, it’s a stalemate. The “winner” in a rap beef in ultimately decided by the fans, or the culture. This is a decision that can never be reached. At the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to shake the loyalty music fans have to their favorite artists.

So what’s the point of all of this? On one hand, we get to hear a consistent stream of music from some of the best artists of our time. But more importantly, it’s fun. It’s fun to see these greats go back and forth. There’s no telling how much more music we’ll get from these two, so instead of constantly clawing to set each of them apart within the beef; appreciate them. Have fun with the moment and enjoy the show! Rap beef is rare, and more importantly is ultimately not that serious.

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About the Contributor
Finley Gober
Finley Gober, Staff Writer

When he finally finishes his mountain of homework, you’ll find Finley Gober spending time with none other than himself. Finley has great interest in music, film, fashion, and writing, and therefore found himself joining the Pinnacle to write about his interests instead of talking at his friends about them. He’s great at starting creative projects, and not as much at finishing them. If you ever need another song for your playlist, or a movie to watch next weekend, Finley is the guy to ask. Most importantly, Finley's favorite movie is “Moonlight”, favorite album is “To Pimp a Butterfly”, and favorite animal is a panda.

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