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Drake VS Kendrick, A Timeline and History


Drake came onto the rap scene as an ambitious rookie in 2007 and was still a smaller artist until he released the album So Far Gone, which would catalyze Drake's storied music career. Kendrick Lamar came onto the scene in 2010, but his first album did not get him on his feet; Kendrick's first real taste of fame came with his album Section.80 in 2011. Kendrick and Drake used to be friends, so much so that Kendrick was featured on Drake's massive album Take Care, which would change Drake from a rookie to a full-fledged superstar.

Kendrick's album, Section.80, was a huge piece in saving West Coast rap, as it was fading. Still, Drake did not recognize that and stated on his hit album Take Care, and wrote the following, which kicked off much of the beef.

So blame it on Mr. O.V.O.X.O./ The reason why I'm breathin' all the vanity I know.

In this line, Drake says he is the reason why the rap game still exists. Kendrick obviously disagrees because of his recent album release, which was crucial for keeping West Coast rap alive. But what lit the fire between Kendrick and Drake was when Drake was on tour in 2012, and he was deciding on an opener, and he was torn between A$AP Rocky and Kendrick. This is stated when Drake says, "When they told me to take an R&B – on the road/ And I told 'em no and drew for Kendrick and Rocky." Drake is saying that he did not want any openers who made R&B music to open for his Club Paradise Tour. Kendrick did not like this because he had already established himself as a rapper. This started the tension between the two but did not stop them from collaborating.

The Split/Timeline

2012: Drake and Kendrick Lamar appear on A$AP Rocky's "F----n' Problems" & collaborate on "Poetic Justice." While "Poetic Justice" peaked at no. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, this would be the last time we see Kendrick and Drake collaborate.

Between Oct. 2012 and Aug. 2013, Kendrick would release his second-best album, Good Kid, m. A A.d. City. This caused Kendrick's ego to inflate and put his swagger on 10; this caused Kendrick to sack a whole bunch of artists in Aug. of 2013 on Big Sean's song, "Control." In the song, Kendrick dissed, J. Cole, Meek Mill, Drake, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, ASAP Rocky, Tyler, the Creator, Mac Miller, Big Sean, and Jay Electronica. Rapping, "I got love for you all, but I'm trying to murder you —/ Trying to make sure your core fans never heard of you —/ They don't want to hear not one more noun or verb from you –." Kendrick is saying that he does not want to be involved in the same conversations as the aforementioned rappers, and he wants them dead. In a Billboard publication, Drake responded within the month, "I didn't really have anything to say about it. It just sounded like an ambitious thought to me. That's all it was. I know good and well that [Lamar] 's not murdering me, at all, in any platform. So when that day presents itself, I guess we can revisit the topic."

K-Dot at 2013 B.E.T Hip Hop Awards Cypher

While the tensions sat for about two months, Kendrick reappeared in Oct. of 2013, again applying pressure on Drake, but this time, with his label, Top Dawg Entertainment (T.D.E.). Kendrick and his label would diss Drake at the B.E.T. Hip-Hop Awards Cypher, where he would rap over Mobb Deeps infamous "Shook Ones" instrumental. At this point, it is target practice for Kendrick because Drake is not responding with any tracks. But on this track from Kendrick and T.D.E., they would write, "Nothing's been the same since they dropped 'Control'/ And tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes/ Ha ha joke's on you, high-five… I'm bulletproof/ Your shoots never penetrates/ Pin the tail on the donkey, boy you been a fake." At the beginning of the bars, Kendrick is mocking Drake's most recent album release, Nothing Was The Same, and says that the "Control" diss changed Drake. Kendrick also said that the "Control" diss tucked Drake away and caused him not to respond because he was scared; Kendrick would back up Drake being scared because he would mention that Drake is not a real gangster, and none of Drake's shots have landed. Kendrick stating that Drake is a fake gangster is completely valid too, as Kendrick comes from Compton, and Drake comes from Forest Hill, Toronto, a safe area, not ran by gangs.

2013, Drake covers VIBE Magazine and says he "stood [His] ground" during Kendrick's diss. During the rollout of a new album, Drake was interviewed and felt that he should not let Kendrick take these easy shots at him. Drake recognized Kendrick as an excellent musician, even calling him a genius, but later added, "Jordan does not need to play pickup to prove he could ball." Drake is referring to the fact that he does not need to prove to anyone that he is a good musician and should be recognized for his greatness.

2015-2016, Tensions persist, but the water calms. Nothing too significant happens during this time, just a few shots back and forth from time to time. Kendrick never really let down too much, though; he still delivered deep jabs at Drake, but not at the same frequency as before, most notably on Kendrick's "King Kunta" from his hit album, To Pimp A Butterfly and on Dr. Dre's album, Compton. On "King Kunta," Kendrick delivered lines such as, "I can dig rapping/ But a rapper with a ghostwriter? What the f–k happened?" In these lines, Kendrick is obviously accusing Drake of having ghostwriters and calling him a fake rapper. On Dre's Compton album is where the deep cuts come from, with Kendrick rapping lines like, "They liable to bury him, they nominated six to carry him/ They worry him to death, but he's no vegetarian/ The beef is on his breath, inheriting the drama better than / A great white, —, this is life in my aquarium." Kendrick penned that Drake needs six people to carry him; otherwise, he wouldn't be where he is; he also adds that he can smell the beef of Drake's breath, much like a great white shark would sense blood in the water. Kendrick also adds to the shark line that the game is his, and he controls it, much like a great white shark can control a lot in the ocean.

2023, Drake & J. Cole link up on "First Person Shooter." This is where most people think the beef started, but it is where it came to light again. On the song "First Person Shooter," Drake and J. Cole linked up to create a no.1 Billboard hit, which would end up being J. Cole's first number-one hit; it would also be the first time we see the two link up since 2013's "jodeci freestyle." In this song, J. Cole wants to figure out who the best in the game is, writing the line, "Love when they argue the hardest MC/ Is it K-Dot? Is it Aubrey? Or me?" Unbeknownst to J. Cole, this would awaken Kendrick again because Kendrick did not want to be in the same conversations as Drake or J. Cole.

March 22nd, 2024, Future, Metro Boomin, and Kendrick Lamar release "Like That" on Future and Metro's collab album, "We Don't Trust You." On this track, a surprise appearance from Kendrick is made, and he goes full attack mode on Drake and J. Cole, rapping, "F–k sneak dissin', first-person shooter/ I hope they came with three switches." In this diss, K-Dot says he does not care about a sneak diss and is willing to let it all hang out. He also adds that he hopes Drake and J. Cole came with three switches (Illegal attachment to a Glock) because he will shoot and kill them. Kenny continued the annihilation and completely denounced the "big three" when he rapped the lines, "Motherf–k" the big three, —, it's just big me." Kendrick punctuated the album with a nod back to Drake's album, For All The Dogs, writing the lines, "For all your dogs gettin' buried/That's a K with all these nines, he gon' see Pet cemetery." Alluding to the fact that Kendrick will kill all of Drake's dogs/dawgs or friends and then bury them.

March 25th, 2024, Drake seemingly responds to Kendrick's diss while on his It's All A Blur/Big As The What Tour. Drake was in Florida when he responded to it, saying that he wanted everyone in the arena to walk out of it that night feeling the same way as Drake did, and that was, "I got my f–king head up high, my back straight, I'm ten f–king toes down in Florida or anywhere else I go, and I know that no matter what, there's not a — on this earth that could ever f–k with me in my life. And that's how I want you to walk outta here tonight."

April 8th, 2024, J. Cole apologizes to Kendrick. J. Cole apologized to Kendrick, saying he did not want any of the beef because he had been comfortable his entire career without it. At first, this apology looked a little clown-like by J. Cole, but it later ended up being one of the best decisions of his career.

April 19th, 2024, Drake releases "Push Ups" diss on streaming services. On this track, Drake takes aim at many rappers, notably Kendrick, making fun of his small stature and his deal with his label, T.D.E. Drake also put the sights on many other artists and producers on the track, like, Rick Ross, The Weeknd, Metro Boomin, Future and more on the track. This track was a relatively weak response to Kendrick because he responded by making fun of how Kendrick looks, which breaks an unwritten rule of the rap game.

April 24th, 2024, Drake fires a second diss track at Kendrick Lamar titled "Taylor Made Freestyle." This diss took complete aim at Kendrick, making fun of him for the fact that he moved back the release of his response diss track because Taylor Swift was dropping her new album around the same time, and Kendrick was worried about how well it would do. Little did Drake know that this track would backfire on him because he used A.I vocals from rappers such as Tupac and Snoop Dogg. Tupac's estate responded to Drake threatening to sue, so he promptly removed the diss from his socials, which he initially posted on. Drake faced a ton of well-deserved backlash for the use of A.I on his track, furthering his ghostwriting allegations.

April 30th, 2024, Kendrick strikes back with six-minute diss, "Euphoria." On this track, Kendrick calls out Drake for using the n-word, as he does not think Drake should because Drake is technically light-skinned. Kendrick also calls out Drake's fashion sense, hip-hop merits, and more. Kendrick really dug in deep on this track, writing the lines, "Yeah, Cole and Aubrey know I'm a selfish –/ The crown is heavy, huh/ I pray they my real friends, if not, I'm Y.N.W. Melly/ I don't like you poppin s–t at Pharrell, for him I'll inherit the beef/ F–k all that pushin p, let me see you Pusha T, you better off spinning again on him you think about pushing me/He's Terrence Thorton I'm Terence Crawford I'm whooping feet." In this handful of lines, Kendrick addresses Drake and J. Cole for thinking that he wanted to share the top spot of the rap game, which he obviously does not want to. Kendrick also added that if he did not have real friends, he would turn into Y.N.W. Melly, a rapper who is currently awaiting trial for a double homicide of his two friends. Rapper, Gunna also caught a stray on this track but did not let it bother him. Kendrick also addressed Pusha T, who dissed Drake several years ago. Drake never responded to the track. Kendrick added that he would be better off responding to Pusha T's diss from years ago rather than Kendrick's diss.

May 3rd, 2024, Kendrick drops second diss, "6:16 in L.A." This diss surprised many, as it dropped less than 72 hours after he dropped "euphoria." On this track, Kendrick seemingly found a mole in Drake's camp who had been feeding him information so Kendrick could make another diss. This is evidenced by the lines, "Have you ever thought that O.V.O. was working for me?/ Fake bully, I hate bullies/ You must be a terrible person/ Everyone inside your team is whispering that you deserve it/Can't Toosie Slide up out of this one, it's just gon' resurface." Kendrick's onslaught continued when he rapped the lines, "100 — that you got on salary/ and 20 of them want you as a casualty/ and one of them is actually/ is next to you / and two of them is practically tied to your lifestyle."

May 3rd, 2024, Drake releases third diss track "Family Matters." This track is probably Drake's most potent response; on this track, Drake addresses Kendrick's infidelity and fractured relationship with his past fiancee. The best part of this entire diss is the fact that Drake addressed Kendrick's infidelity, yet Kendrick has a whole album dedicated to his own infidelity, in Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers. Despite this fact, Drake wrote the lines, "You the Black messiah wifing up a mixed queen/ And hit vanilla cream to help out with your self-esteem/ On some Bobby sh—, I wanna know what Whitney need." Drake addressed the fact that Kendrick got engaged to a person of a mixed race and the fact that Kendrick needs vanilla creams (tobacco) to help his self-esteem.

May 4th, 2024, Kendrick replies with a third diss, "Meet the Grahams." Just minutes later, as the clock hit midnight on the East Coast, Kendrick had a response ready to go, and it was by far the deepest tearing response to Drake. On this track, Kendrick calls Drake a deadbeat and calls him a terrible father. Also, on this track, Kendrick reveals that Drake may have a hidden daughter that we do not know about. To suggest that Drake has a hidden daughter, he wrote, "You lied about your son, you lied about your daughter, huh, you lied about them other kids that's out there hoping that you come." Kendrick further buries Drake by calling him out on his other bad habits like alcohol and gambling. Kendrick also contests that Drake has pedophiles inside of his O.V.O. camp. Kendrick continues the murder by listing off all of Drake's lies about his son, ghostwriters, cosmetic surgeries, and more, rapping, "F— a rap battle, this a lifelong battle with yourself," suggesting that the infidelity problems have shifted away from Kendrick and onto Drake. This diss dives in so deep that it almost makes the average listener feel like they did something wrong because Kendrick does such an excellent job at adding tone to his music; his tone is almost like he is mad at everything. This is by far the strongest diss out of any of the tracks and is in contention for being one of the best disses of all time.

Also, with the song "Meet The Grahams," Kendrick carefully chose the cover art for the song: a picture of a shirt, a glove, and a bunch of prescription drugs. One of the drugs is Ozempic, a now common drug used for weight loss; it has recently become very popular for its effects. The other drug in the picture is a sleep aid, one that would act very similarly to a Bill Cosby-esk drug, and I think we all know what would happen after that. This only furthers Kendrick's case against Drake for infidelity and pedophilia. This picture very obviously came from inside Drake's house, "The Embassy," which sits on Bridle Path, in Toronto, Canada; this also adds more evidence that there may really be a mole inside of Drake's camp.

May 24th, 2024, Kendrick drops yet another diss, "Not Like Us." In this diss, Kendrick calls Drake's team, "O.V.O.," "O.V. hoe," and again accuses Drake and his team of being full of pedophiles. On the track, Mustard, a popular producer, is used for a beat entirely out of Kendrick's style, but he still executes it very well. In this song, Kendrick raps the lines, "Say, Drake, I hear you like 'em young/ You better not ever go to cell block one/ To any b—- that talk to him and they in love/ Just make sure you hide your lil' sister from him." In these lines, Kendrick says that he never wants to catch Drake around him and that people who hang with him should watch females around him to ensure Drake isn't taking advantage of them. Kendrick also mocks Drake's 2021 album, Certified Lover Boy, by saying, "Certified Lover Boy? Certified pedophiles."

The cover art on this track also holds significance because it is an aerial view of Drake's mansion, "The Embassy," but it is full of marks from an app that reveals the locations of sex offenders.

May 5th, 2024, Drake addresses allegations on "The Heart Pt. 6." In this five-minute response song, Drake comes back, denying any daughter and says that it was bait for Kendrick that Drake hoped he'd take. Drake also claimed in the response song that all of the information had been intentionally fed to Kendrick, and none of it was true, so Drake laughed at him for dissing with no investigation. In this response, Drake never stopped debunking the allegations of a daughter, turning the spotlight onto Kendrick's ex-fiancee, Whitney, and saying that she was having a baby with Drake's business associate, Dave Free. Drake also rapped that Whitney told him Kendrick hadn't seen his kids in six months. But Drake's response left many divided, as some recognized it as a valiant effort, and others thought that it was a little too late of a response and the damage had been done.

Where Do You Stand?

Personally, I side with Kendrick, just because something always seemed a little off with Drake, but mainly because Kendrick ultimately killed Drake through this whole feud, but that is my own opinion. While yes, Kendrick is being very selfish in not wanting to share the top spot, I can see where he is coming from. Someone has to be the top dog, and Kendrick wants to be that guy, which is totally respectable. Drake also never responded very well to some of the allegations made against him by Kendrick and adding that on top of Drake not responding to Pusha T entirely also helped me decide to side with K-Dot.

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