Kendrick Lamar and Drake gave us a weekend of epic hip-hop beef. Here’s what to know

Kendrick Lamar and Drake gave us a weekend of epic hip-hop beef. Here’s what to know

Two of hip-hop’s biggest stars have beef and the crowd is taking sides.

Kendrick Lamar and Drake have been engaged in a lyrical battle in recent weeks that escalated over the weekend. Both artists each released a song about the other, in one case with Lamar not even waiting a full hour before he dropped a song in response to one of Drake’s.

Here’s what you need to know about the verses that are the hot topic of cultural conversation.

Early cooperation
There’s a lot we don’t know in terms of why there’s such an apparent feud between the two superstar rappers, but we do know there’s history.

Back in 2011, Lamar appeared on Drake’s second album “Take Care” on the “Buried Alive Interlude.” It was the same year Lamar released his debut studio album “Section.80.”

Both men were both carving a place for themselves in the industry at the time, with Drake then best known as an actor for his role as student Jimmy Brooks in the Canadian teen TV series, “Degrassi.”

The pair will tour together and collaborate on the song “Poetic Justice” on Lamar’s second studio album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.”

“King of New York” tries to take “Control”
As one of hip-hop’s rising stars, Lamar leaned into his growing success with the swagger expected of the rap game during a guest appearance on Big Sean’s 2013 single, “Control.”

Multiple artists are name-checked in the song, including Drake. The lyrics include, “I got love for y’all but I’m trying to kill you,” a euphemism for getting over them professionally. Lamar proclaimed himself the “King of New York” and “King of the Beach.”

Drake told Billboard of the verse, “I have nothing to say about it.”

“It just sounds like wishful thinking to me. That’s it,” Drake said at the time. “I know for a fact that Kendrick didn’t kill me, at all, in any platform. So when that day comes, I guess we can revisit that topic.”

‘Infinity War’ rapper
The pair have continued to take shots at each other on the track over the years, but this latest battle appears to have started in October 2023, when rapper J. Cole collaborated with Drake on the song, “First Person Shooter.”

On the track, Cole refers to himself, Lamar and Drake as the “big three” in rap. Drake likened his own popularity in the game to that of the late singer Michael Jackson.

Lamar apparently took exception to the comparison and responded to a collaboration with Future and Metro Boomin that caught fire in March 2024, titled “Like That.”

Lamar makes it clear on the song that there is no “Big three” just “Big me.” He impersonates Prince to Drake’s Jackson, noting that the former outlived the latter.

“Like That” is a cut on the album “We Don’t Trust You,” which many believe is filled with disses aimed at Drake. The apparent jab surprised some listeners as Drake and Future have been working together for a long time.

Things got even hotter when Future and Metro Boomin released their follow-up “We Still Don’t Trust You,” which Billboard magazine declared to be “filled with Drake disses, not only from Future, but from The Weeknd and A$AP Rocky as well. . ”

With so many coming after the Canadian rapper lyrically, it’s starting to feel like the Marvel Infinity War of hip-hop superheroes battling it out. The man who helped start it all, J. Cole, was soon out of the fray.

Cole released “7 Minute Drill” on the surprise project “Might Delete Later” where he came after Lamar, only to later declare the song lame. He removed it from the streaming service, publicly apologized and has since kept quiet.

Drake refused
Last month, Drake dropped the song “Push Ups” in which he poked fun at Lamar’s shoe size and his past collaborations with the pop star.

“Maroon 5 need a verse, you better make a joke / Then we need a verse for the Swifties,” Drake rapped, appearing to mock Lamar’s work with Maroon 5 on their song “Don’t Wanna Know” and with Swift on his song “Bad Blood .”

Drake also took a swipe at Rick Ross, who was featured on “We Don’t Trust You.” Ross then began a social media war of words with Drake, including accusing Drake of having undergone plastic surgery.

Attack K.Dot
Lamar, also known as K.Dot, fired back with multiple volleys.

First there was “Euphoria,” which is now famous for the insults hurled at Drake because it made people aware that the rapper was also an executive producer on the hit HBO drama. (HBO is owned by CNN’s parent company.)

Within days, Lamar followed it up with “6:16 in LA,” which many interpreted as poking fun at Drake’s penchant for titling songs with times and locations.

Drake gets personal with “Family Matters”
Things got personal in this rap battle on Saturday, when Drake dropped an eight-minute long diss track, “Family Matters.” She made allegations of abuse and infidelity involving Lamar and his fiancee, Whitney Alford, on the song.

Don’t mess with a Pulitzer Prize winner
Lest we forget that Lamar made history in 2018 by becoming the first rapper to win the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for his album “DAMN,” he didn’t miss an hour after the release of “Family Matters” to drop a response, titled “Meet The Grahams. ” (Drake’s real name is Aubrey Graham.)

The song gets heavy when Lamar talks to Drake’s parents and Drake’s parenting, accusing him of having a secret daughter. Lamar followed it up within hours with another song, titled “Not Like Us,” which accused Drake of being attracted to underage girls.

Drake responded
Drake is at it again on Sunday with “The Heart Part 6.” On this song, Drake claims he was the one who gave Lamar false information about the secret child.

“We planned for a week and then we gave you the information / An 11-year-old daughter, I bet she took it,” Drake raps.

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