Lamar University Press Logo

Drake vs. Kendrick is good for rap culture

drake vs kendrick

The current rap beef between Drake and Kendrick Lamar has brought out some of the best music we have received from the pair in recent years. Two of raps biggest going against each other dropping songs on a daily basis, even dropping multiple a day, is great for the consumer.

On Oct. 31, 2023, Drake and J. Cole dropped “First Person Shooter” as the fourth single in Drake's eighth studio album, “For All the Dogs.” In that song, Cole referred to himself, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar as the “Big Three.”

“Love when they argue the hardest MC/ Is it K-Dot? Is it Aubrey? Or me?/ We the big three like we started a league.”

To fans, Cole’s lyrics came across as him giving Lamar and Drake their flowers but at the same time putting himself up there with them. This was good for the culture as there seemed to be a mutual respect amongst these greats. Fans were happy to see Cole include Lamar in his big three, but Lamar thought otherwise. 

“We Don’t Trust You” is a collaborative album by Future and Metro Boomin that was released on March 22, seemingly directed towards Drake. The album’s third single, “Like That,” features Lamar. In the song he directly disses Drake and Cole.

“F--- sneak dissin', first-person shooter, I hope they came with three switches — motherf--- the big three, n----, it's just big me.”

Fans loved this. Rap was too boring. We needed some action, some controversy, some entertainment. The culture hadn't seen two greats going at it since 2Pac and Biggie were beefing in the mid ’90s.

Drake isn't a stranger to rap beefs. Six years ago he beefed with Pusha T who famously revealed that Drake was hiding a son from the world. But not all of Drake’s beefs have been losses. Back in 2015, Drake dropped one of his best tracks, “Back to Back” a diss towards Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. So, many fans were hoping we would see this version of Drake again, and he did not disappoint.

Drake responded with his diss track, “Push Ups,” on April 19, directed towards everybody that went at him, but more importantly, Lamar. Drake then doubled down with “Taylor Made Freestyle,” which was only released on Instagram fand featured an A.I. generated 2Pac and Snoop Dogg.

Lamar hasn’t dropped an album in more than two years, so fans didn't know what to expect. Some thought he would ignore it or brush it off, but 11 days later Lamar fired back with his diss track ”Euphoria.”

Both of these songs brought out some of the best bars we have heard from the rap legends. Beef tends to bring out the creativity and uniqueness from an artist. Nowadays, rappers are rapping on pre-written songs and doing features they don’t want to do just for the money. Rap has gotten lazy.

On May 3, out of the blue, Lamar dropped a second diss track aimed towards Drake titled, “6:16 in LA.” Hours later, Drake dropped his response, “Family Matters.”

This eight-minute, three-part diss track is some of the best work we’ve heard from Drake in years. Drake switches up his flow and instrumental three times as a response to Lamar doing the same thing in “Euphoria.” “Family Matters” is reminiscent of the old “Back to Back” Drake, where he really goes in and takes his time writing his raps.

20 minutes later, Lamar dropped his diss track, “Meet the Grahams.” Lamar hasn't released this many singles in a row since he was an underground artist trying to make it big, and has not dropped an album since 2022, so four songs in a year was a blessing to all Lamar fans. 

Lamar doubled down the next day with his response to “Family Matters,” with his West Coast inspired diss track, “Not Like Us.” This song is different, with its West Coast up-tempo style instrumental Lamar has essentially made a catchy song, dissing Drake so not only would Lamar be dissing Drake, but also the entire rap culture. By dropping this commercial anthem, Lamar has proven that after years of not releasing music he still has it.

Drake fired back with “The Heart Part 6.” The five-minute diss track disappointed fans as it wasn't as strong as “Push Ups” or “Family Matters.”

According to Lamar’s camp, he has roughly ten songs in the vault waiting for Drake, but Drake has stated twice that he doesn't want to keep going as it's too drawn out.

The pair’s personal lives are being revealed to the world and are putting them in danger. Drake’s bodyguard was shot outside of his mansion in Toronto, Canada, on May 7, in what appears to have been a drive-by shooting. This is a result of Lamar using Drake’s home location as cover art of his “Not Like Us” track.

Musically, this beef is great for fans. But if it begins to spiral out of control, then it will have gone too far. Maybe we should just be grateful for the great music we have got over the last few weeks and let it go. I wouldn’t have a beef with that.

Category: Opinion