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Monday, 13 May 2024


Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the past week or two, you’ve probably heard something about the “beef” between rappers Drake and Kendrick Lamar. As a hip hop fan myself, I’ve really been enjoying watching the slow build of tension amongst the large cast of characters that this started with turn into a rapid escalation between the last two men standing, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. The “battle” dynamic that exists within rap music is truly unique and is one of the elements that makes hip hop stand out amongst the other music genres. In this video pick, I’ll attempt to briefly recap the highlights of the beef and provide a little backstory for the video “Family Matters” by Drake. 

In efforts to keep this history lesson as concise, I’m only going to hit the major points in the escalation between Drake and Kendrick Lamar. There are many spinoffs and side stories but those are for another day. In the beginning, both guys were cool. They were cordial and even co-collaborators. Kendrick Lamar was featured on Drake’s sophomore album Take Care (2011) and Drake was featured on Kendrick Lamars sophomore album good kid, m.A.A.d City” (2012). In 2013, the seeds of this beef were planted. Big Sean dropped a record called Control which featured Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick stole the show on the track with a blistering verse that overtly called out all his fellow rappers at the time. From J Cole, Big KRIT, Wale, Pusha T, A$AP Rocky, to Drake, everyone was a target in the spirit of competition. After being asked about it in interviews, Drake replied that he didn’t take a liking to Kendrick’s words. Kendrick then responded with direct shots at the “sensitive rapper” in his verse on the BET Cypher of 2014. Since then, over the past 10 years, there have been subliminal shots or “sneak disses” aimed from both rappers at each other in a variety of capacities. 

Fast forward to 2024, former Drake collaborators Future & Metro Boomin both dropped a collaboration project titled “We Don’t Trust You”. For reasons I don’t have the bandwidth to jump into right now, this entire record was filled with Drake sneak disses from various rappers/musicians including Rick Ross, Future, Metro Boomin, and The Weeknd. One of them stuck out because it wasn’t so subtle. It was another Control moment; Kendrick’s Lamar rapped, “motherfuck the big three, it’s just big me” on the record “Like That”. For some quick background context: Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and Drake have recently been considered the “big 3” in hop hop, but Kendrick made it known on this track that he’s in a league of his own. J Cole immediately fired back with a track called “7 Minute Drill” aimed straight at Kendrick on April 5th. However, after a couple of days of reflection, J Cole apologized for the track and removed himself from the drama and removed the song from the internet. Drake stayed in the fight. On April 13th, the Drake track “Push Ups” aimed at Kendrick Lamar leaked with stray bullets hitting Rick Ross, Metro Boomin, and The Weekend. Taunting Kendrick for a response, Drake dropped another dedicated diss just for Kendrick called “Taylor Made Freestyle” on April 19th. Still, Kendrick was silent. The internet and streets kept asking “Where’s Dot?” because this was the fight that Kendrick’s been waiting for. On April 30th, the Compton rapper finally re-surfaced and dropped “Euphoria” dissing Drake. On May 3rd, Kendrick Lamar went Back-To-Back (a term ironically coined when Drake dropped two songs back-to-back [with one of them named “Back To Back” (against another rapper Meek Mill in a separate 2015 battle) by dropping “6:16 In LA”. This is when things went haywire.

In response, Drake dropped “Family Matters” with an accompanying video (which I’ve included below) the same day, only to be met by ANOTHER scathing diss track by Kendrick Lamar called “Meet The Grahams” within an hour later. Both tracks were great, but due to recency bias and the scathing accusations made by Kendrick, Drake’s one song that day was buried by Kendrick's two drops. In addition, Kendrick’s arguably been the better lyricist, but one thing Drake has on him is his uncanny ability to make hits. The next day on May 4th, Kendrick Lamar dropped yet another song titled “Not Like Us” over a DJ Mustard beat. This was an absolute club banger and Kendrick showed he was far more versatile than people believed. This was three scathing tracks in 36 hours. On May 5th, Drake dropped one last song “The Heart Part 6” which appears (at this time) to signal the end of his attacks. He signaled that he’s ready to turn the page on the battle. Due to some heinous allegations on both sides and where this battle was headed, I think this is for the best. I don’t even want to repeat those allegations, but you’ll hear all about them when you jump into some of these songs. The internet has since regarded “The Heart Part 6” as the white flag and there have been no more diss tracks to date. There’s a consensus online that Kendrick Lamar is walking away with the W, but the fans really got a spectacle out of this one. Viewership and pop culture wise, this was probably the biggest hip hop battle since 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule (2002-2003) or even since Tupac Shakur vs. Notorious BIG (1994-1996). 

Check out Drake’s video for “Family Matters”. It’s the only video that was dropped in the back and forth between both rappers. It’s filled with little Easter eggs and subliminal (and not so subliminal) disses. I’ll give you the first one. You recognize that purple van that gets crushed during the first verse? It’s the same van on the cover of Kendrick Lamar’s album good kid, m.A.A.d city. I’ll leave you to find the other Easter eggs on your own… 

- Kris


Written by  Kris Kuganathan
Last modified on Monday, 13 May 2024
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