(photo: Mel D. Cole)
“I can dig rapping, but a rapper with a ghost writer?
What the fuck happened? ”
Summer Jam edit:
“I can dig rapping, but a rapper with a ghost writer?
You tell me what happened?”
Pulitzer Prize winner Kendrick Lamar headlined last night at the 25th anniversary of Summer Jam. The Compton MC is at the height of his commercial and creative prowess. Since stepping into the mainstream, Kendrick has been very calculated with how he addresses others in hip-hop. Recently, he tipped his cap to Pusha T’s Daytona.
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) May 25, 2018
Kendrick, referring to Pusha’s “Infared” lyric, “believe in myself and the Cole’s and Kendrick’s” shows where he has formed his allegiance. Last night, Kendrick used the Summer Jam stage to address Drake in front of 50 thousand fans.
I hear u loud and clear my nigga… @kendricklamar
— King Push (@PUSHA_T) August 13, 2013
Throughout the years Kendrick and Drake have taken subliminal shot at each other on wax.
A Chronological History of Kendrick and Drake’s beef:
Fresh off the commercial success of good kid, m.a.a.d. city (2012), Kendrick made a slew of features. His most notable verse was delivered on Big Sean’s single “Control,” where K Dot name-checked 11 artists: “I got love for you all, but I’m tryna murder you niggas / Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas / They don’t wanna hear not one noun or verb from you niggas.”
Days after this song many artists hopped on the No I.D. production to challenge Kendrick’s claims of the throne. While many of the responses respected Kendrick, Drake took a different approach. Six weeks later he released “The Language,” where he raps, “I don’t know why they been lyin’ / but your shit is not that inspirin.’” During an interview with Billboard Drake confirmed the lyrics were directed at Kendrick; “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.”
Later that year, Kendrick used the BET Awards Cypher to address Drake’s latest remarks; “Yeah nothing’s been the same since they dropped “Control” / and tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes.”
During a VIBE Cover Story Drake addresses the “Control” verse again and how it affected his rollout for Nothing Was The Same. “Mind you, I never once said he’s a bad guy [or] I don’t like him. I think he’s a fucking genius in his own right, bu tt I stood my ground as I should,” Drake shared. He would also have the last response of the year via a feature on Future’s “Shit” (remix) He raps, “it’s funny how they dangling the bait.”
The first response from Kendrick in 2014 addresses Drake’s lyrics on “The Language,” where Drake refers to Kendrick as the “kid with the motormouth.” On a featured verse for Jay Rock’s single “Pay For It,” Kendrick raps, “I tell them all to hail King Kendrick / resurrecting my vengeance been directing your motormouth ‘till I break down the engine / this ain’t no warning shot, this a relevant henchman / See my opponent then *smooch* cease your existence/ Ending our friendship, baby I’d rather die alone.”
Drake would not respond until February 2015 on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. On “Used To” following two shots from a gun Drake raps, “They gon’ say your name on them airwaves/ They gon’ hit you up right after like it’s only rap.”
The following month Kendrick responded on “King Kunta.” During that time the Quentin Miller ghostwriting saga was in full affect. Kendrick weighed in on the situation with these bars, “I can dig rappin’/ but a rapper with a ghostwriter, what the fuck happened?”
Keeping the momentum from his line on “King Kunta,” Kendrick directs more lyrics at Drake on Dr. Dre’s Compton. On “Darkside/Gone” Kendrick raps, “but still I got enemies giving me energy / I don’t wanna fight now / subliminal sent to me all of this hate I though I was holding the mic down.” Kendrick, references Drake’s “Energy,” a song where Drake takes aim at all his enemies. Later on Compton Kendrick takes his most direct shot at Drake. “They liable to bury him, they nominated six to cary him / They worry him to death, but he’s not vegetarian/ the beef is on his breath, inheriting the drama better than / A great white, nigga this is life in my aquarium.”
In June 2015, former NFL player, now host of SportsNation, Marcellus Wiley had a front row seat to the beef. He had one of the artists, speculated to be Drake, on set for an interview. Wiley sat down with VladTV to discuss the destroyed interview. According to Wiley, the comments from the artist, which were banned from the air, “would have ignited [the beef] to proportions we have not seen since Ja Rule and 50 [Cent], maybe even Ice Cube and N.W.A. It went there. But that was destroyed from everyone’s property. That was destroyed, that interview, that moment was destroyed. But I was there and I heard shots fired.”
Two years later Drake dropped his mixtape, More Life (2017). On the high energy track, “Gyalchester,” Drake flexing lines Drake raps, “I know I said top five, but I’m top two/ And I’m not two and I got on/ Thought you had one, but it’s not one.” By way of a double entendre, Drake refers to himself as the number one rapper and whomever thought they had a number one song was about to get dethroned.
Almost a month to the day Kendrick responds on his fourth studio album, DAMN. On the track “Element” Kendrick says, “I got ’em by a landslide, we talkin’ about races / You know this’ll never be a tie, just look at they laces / You know careers take off, just gotta be patient / Mr. One through Five, that’s the only logic / Fake my death, go to Cuba, that’s the only option.”
During his set last night Kendrick altered lyrics to his song “King Kunta.” The original version reads, “I can dig rapping, but a rapper with a ghost writer? What the fuck happened?” While the Summer Jam version reads, “I can dig rapping, but a rapper with a ghost writer? You tell me what happened?”
Unlike his beef with Pusha, which escalated very quickly and resulted in some very personal shots, Drake’s beef with Kendrick has been cordial in comparison. While Kendrick is still riding the fumes off his already double-platinum DAMN, Drake is in album mode. An attempted detour to handle Pusha T did not bode well for the 6 God.
Will Drake respond to Kendrick before the release of Scorpion? Or will he address the ongoing conflict on the album?