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Swifties, BBLs and Ozempic: What is Drake and Kendrick Lamar's feud even about?

While Drake is no stranger to a public war of words with fellow artists, this recent rift with Lamar is reaching levels beyond beats and bars.
Kendrick Lamar and Drake
Posted at 7:16 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 11:40:20-04

The recent feud between rappers Kendrick Lamar and Drake is being referred to as one of the biggest beefs in rap history. While Drake is no stranger to a public war of words with fellow artists, this recent rift is reaching levels beyond beats and bars.

But why are the two artists, both considered among of the most influential of their time, feuding in the first place? The condensed answer to that question boils down to who is the greatest rapper of all time.

Here's the long version:

Who even are these people?

Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, is a 37-year-old rapper and singer from Canada who began his entertainment career acting in the popular teen drama series "Degrassi: The Next Generation" before pivoting to music. After the success of several mixtapes and singles, Drake signed with rapper Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment label. He’s won multiple Grammy awards and holds several Billboard Hot 100 chart records, including most charted songs of any artist.

Drake has eight studio albums and a ninth collaborative album with rapper 21 Savage. He’s known for songs like "Hotline Bling" and "God’s Plan," and his musical style is described mostly as "pop rap," pulling influence from a variety of genres and cultures. His lyrics generally revolve around relationships and women, and he often plays into the chameleon persona of a singer who can also rap. He’s considered one of the most influential artists of his generation.

Kendrick Lamar is a 36-year-old rapper and songwriter from Compton, California. He began releasing mixtapes as a teenager and has named Tupac and Lil Wayne as some of his biggest influences as an artist.

Lamar has won over a dozen Grammy awards, won a Primetime Emmy Award, was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award and is the only musician outside of the classical and jazz genres to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He is referred to by peers and music critics — even former President Barack Obama — as one of the greatest rappers and lyricists of all time and is known for using his music to comment on social justice and politics. Despite his rap roots, he has collaborated with a variety of artists of different genres, including Taylor Swift and Maroon 5.

Starting from the bottom

In 2011, Drake featured Lamar on the song "Buried Alive Interlude" on his second studio album. He later invited Lamar and A$AP Rocky — Rihanna’s other half and another rapper Drake later had beef with — to be the opening acts for his "Club Paradise Tour" in 2012.

Drake later collaborated with Lamar on his song "Poetic Justice" for his "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" album towards the end of 2012.

Here’s where things first took a turn: Lamar was featured on Big Sean’s track "Control" in August 2013. In it, he calls out a handful of hip-hop artists, including the song’s lead artist and Drake, stating, "I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you…"

So, you could say Lamar was the one to set it off.

Not long after, Drake did an interview with Billboard and commented on the name-drop. "I didn’t really have anything to say about it," Drake said to Billboard in 2013. "It just sounded like an ambitious thought to me. That’s all it was. I know good and well that Kendrick’s not murdering me, at all, in any platform. So when that day presents itself, I guess we can revisit the topic."

And nothing was the same.

Bad blood

For a decade — yes, a whole decade — the rappers have taken various shots at each other on diss tracks and features. But the feud was seemingly overshadowed as Lamar’s career went to new heights and Drake engaged in disputes with other artists as he became more of a household name. One of the more notable Drake versus (insert name of any artist here) feuds was with rapper Pusha T, who revealed Drake had a son on his diss track “The Story Of Adidon” in 2018. Originally, Drake denied the claim but later acknowledged his now 6-year-old son Adonis after a series of paternity tests. This tidbit will come up again later.

In October 2023, Drake worked with rapper J. Cole, who years back was going to put out a collaborative album with Lamar, on his track "First Person Shooter" for his eighth album, "For All the Dogs." In it, J. Cole says, "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…" referring to Kendrick by his original mixtape rap name.

In March 2024, Lamar directly called out the song "First Person Shooter" in the track "Like That" he’s featured on with rapper Future and producer Metro Boomin. Lamar rapped there is no big three, "It’s just big me" in reference to J. Cole’s verse.

April 19, 2024: Drake's diss track "Push Ups" officially dropped after being leaked a couple of days beforehand. In it, he called Lamar a "pipsqueak" and ridiculed his past collaborations with pop artists, despite having pop genre songs himself. "Maroon 5 need a verse, you better make it witty/ Then we need a verse for the Swifties," Drake rapped. It’s been noted that "Push Ups" sampled beats from The Notorious B.I.G.’s track "What’s Beef?" — seemingly a nod to one of the most famous rap rivalries in history, which included one of Lamar’s biggest influences, Tupac.

April 24, 2024: Another one. Drake released a second track, "Taylor Made Freestyle." He baited Lamar, saying he must have been waiting for Taylor Swift to release her newest album before responding to Drake's first diss track, another dig at Lamar's past collaboration with Swift. He also used artificial intelligence to include verses from Tupac and Snoop Dogg, but, according to The Associated Press, he removed the song from all his social channels after Tupac’s estate threatened to sue.

April 30, 2024: Lamar responded to Drake’s track with "Euphoria," the title an apparent jab at Drake being an executive producer on the HBO show. It’s over six minutes long, and he left little unsaid. Lamar called out Drake’s parenting, racial identity and his use of AI. He talked about Drake’s appearance, said he thinks Drake doesn’t like women and accused Drake of purposely changing his accent, and of cultural appropriation, “Tell 'em run to America to imitate heritage,” Lamar raps.

May 3, 2024: Back-to-back. Lamar also released a second consecutive diss track, this one titled “6:16 in LA” in what appears to poke at Drake’s time-and-location themed songs like, "9AM in Dallas" and “4PM in Calabasas.” He called out Drake’s music label, OVO, implying that there are people who work for Drake who are on Lamar’s side. The Associated Press said the song samples Al Green’s “What a Wonderful Thing Love Is," on which one of Drake's relatives played guitar.

May 4, 2024: Drake responded with "Family Matters," an eight-minute track accompanied by a music video that showed the New Ho King Chinese restaurant in Drake’s home city of Toronto that Lamar mentioned in “Euphoria.” (Side note, the restaurant said business has been booming since Lamar’s name drop.) Drake takes shots at Lamar’s relationship with his fiancee, Whitney Alford, alleging infidelity and domestic abuse. He also jabs at some of the other artists he’s currently beefing with, including Rick Ross, A$AP Rocky and Future.

On the same day, Lamar released two more diss tracks: "Meet the Grahams" and "Not Like Us." He alleged Drake used Ozempic for weight loss and got a cosmetic procedure known as a BBL, short for "Brazilian butt lift." He claimed Drake is hiding another child from the world, rapping, "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." He also accused Drake of being a pedophile and liking young girls.

In a twist of irony, HypeBeast reported Lamar’s "Not Like Us" broke the Spotify record for the biggest single-day streams of a hip-hop song, once held by Drake.

May 5, 2024: Drake denied all of Lamar's previous allegations in "The Heart Part 6” and credited himself for Lamar putting out new music for the first time in years. Drake rapped, "You know, at least your fans are gettin’ some raps out of you/ I’m happy I could motivate you/ Bring you back to the game.” Drake also posted on his social media, “If you or anybody can find proof that I have an 11-year-old daughter, I’ll quit rapping and come work for you.”

Lamar has yet to respond to Drake’s latest song. In total, each artist dropped four diss tracks against the other within the last few weeks.

On May 7, a security guard was seriously wounded after being shot outside of Drake’s Toronto mansion. Authorities were asked whether the recent feud was a factor in the shooting but they said it was too early to discuss motive. CNN reported a person was apprehended for trying to break into the same residence the next day.

Toronto Police investigate a shooting outside the mansion of rapper Drake.

Celebrity

Police investigate shooting outside Drake's mansion that left security guard wounded

AP via Scripps News
2:02 PM, May 07, 2024