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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

In a chaotic, entertaining brawl, the feud between Kendrick Lamar and Drake is keeping the rap community on their toes

Arguably two of this generations most influential rappers, their feud is being closely monitored on social media where fans wait patiently for a new diss to be released.
Arguably two of this generation’s most influential rappers, their feud is being closely monitored on social media where fans wait patiently for a new diss to be released.

Former President Barack Obama can predict the future. 

Or, rather, the rap community’s future. 

Eight years ago, when asked in an interview who would win in a rap battle between the common household name, Kendrick Lamar, and Canadian R&B and rap figure Aubrey Graham, known more commonly as Drake, the 44th president hailed Lamar as the victor. 

“Gotta go with Kendrick,” he quickly answered. 

At the time, the question seemed as though it was simply theoretical.

 Today, however, the predicted events are coming to a cataclysmic fruition. 

Lamar, also commonly referred to by his nickname “K-Dot,” took the first jab at Drake over a decade ago in 2013 while featuring on rapper Big Sean’s song, “Control.” A lyrical punch that Drake himself later declared “an ambitious thought,” Lamar rambled off a list of over ten rappers—Drake being one of them—and made the statement that none of them would ever be the biggest MC (an acronym meaning “master of ceremonies” that serves as an alternative name for the word “rapper”). 

He followed this claim up by saying, “I got love for y’all but I’m murder you / Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you / They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you,” lyrics that Drake reprimanded a month later when he said, “I know good and well that [Lamar’s] not murdering me, at all, in any platform,” a promise he made certain of over an interview with Billboard. 

Over the next few months, both Lamar and Drake occasionally aimed at one another but managed to stay civilized and avoid any type of major strife. Any shots fired were soon later established to be merely friendly jabs, seemingly ending the minor conflict between two of this generation’s most commercially successful rappers. 

This peace, however, has now proven to have been only a temporary fix. 

11 years later, the two are battling again; only this time, it’s in a full-blown rap war. 

This peace, however, has now proven to have been only a temporary fix.  11 years later, the two are battling again; only this time, it’s in a full-blown rap war.  

The rekindling of this dissension began towards the end of 2023 with the release of “First Person Shooter,” a collaboration between American rapper J. Cole and Drake on the latter’s sixth album, For All the Dogs. This track, which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, featured a line from Cole in which he rapped, “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,” implying that him, Drake, and Lamar were the top three contemporary rappers of today. 

This easily-ignored line, as it would soon work out, did not sit well with Lamar. Around five months after the release of “First Person Shooter,” Lamar took to the studio alongside rap colleague Future and producer Metro Boomin, putting pen to paper on the fast-paced diss track and saying, “It’s just big me.” 

With both rappers on edge, it was clear that the rivalry would not be simply cast aside as it once was before. After Lamar fired back against the claims Drake made, it was Drake’s turn to return the favor, this time a retort released as a four-minute diss on April 14. Entitled “Push Ups,” the majority of Drake’s time on this song is spent criticizing Lamar’s short stature and belittling his accomplishments in the rap community, singing, “How you big steppin’ with a size-seven men’s on?” and, “Pipsqueak, pipe down / You ain’t in no big three.” 

Almost immediately after the release of “Push Ups” came yet another diss track from Drake—this time released only on Instagram—called “Taylor Made Freestyle,” a title alluding to Lamar’s past musical collaboration with pop star Taylor Swift that prompted Drake to call him an “industry puppet.” On this track, Drake used artificial intelligence to impersonate the voices of West-Coast rap legend Tupac Shakur, a step taken by Drake that many deemed went “too far,” considering he took the likeness of who is arguably one of the—if not, the—greatest rappers of all time—and used his voice nonconsensually. This freestyle was later taken down when Tupac’s estate’s attorney sent a cease-and-desist to Drake requesting that the freestyle be taken down.  

After letting Drake’s two attempts to strike back marinate for a few weeks, Lamar came out of his two-year hiatus to release his first solo single since 2022, a diss with the title “euphoria,” on April 30. Following Drake’s antics to defeat him, it was immediately clear in this track that Lamar was holding nothing back. With three separate beat changes throughout the course of the song, “euphoria” perfectly encapsulated what the “perfect” diss track would look like: chaotic, messy, but most importantly, insulting. 

First calling Drake out for being a “scam artist with the hopes of being accepted,” Lamar attacks Drake from multiple angles, the first one being the allegations that he uses ghostwriters to write his lyrics, and then clapped back at Drake’s appropriation of Tupac on “Taylor Made Freestyle,” saying “Somebody had told me that you got a ring / On God, I’m ready to double the wage / I’d rather do that than let a Canadian [explicit] make Pac turn in his grave.”

Lamar later went on to bring attention to Drake’s tendency to use both the African American community and the women he associates himself with for attention and clout, rapping, “How many more black features ‘til you finally feel like you’re black enough? / I like Drake with the melodies, I don’t like Drake when he acts tough,” and then “I believe you don’t like women / it’s real competition.” Throughout the rest of the song, Lamar criticizes Drake’s parenting choices, his supposed plastic surgery, the music label he is signed to, and even his cat named “Crodie.” 

Amidst this current dispute between Drake and Lamar, however, there seems to be a clear winner: Lamar. While Drake seems to be on the defense side of the argument for a majority of the time, his retorts back at Lamar are benign and hold very little value compared to the allegations that his opponent brings to the table. It seems that while Lamar has endless ammunition to fire at Drake, Drake is stuck on the receiving end of the blow with only weak punches to throw back in reciprocation.

This hectic chronicle of disses from both sides of the battle draws a question deeper than who the winner is; more fittingly, a question that should be asked is how far are they willing to go to win? 

As conditions only escalate further, a certain blast from the past resonates with this current situation. As some have brought up online, if this rivalry continues to progress, a situation reminiscent of the infamous 1990s rap battle between two of the most influential rappers of all time, the previously mentioned Tupac Shakur and his career-long adversary, Biggie Smalls, may be apparent in the foreseeable future. It can only be hoped that the outcome of that controversy, in which both parties ended up murdered, does not repeat itself. 

With no end in sight to this brawl, it seems as though hip-hop and rap fans are on the edge of their seats waiting for one of the two artists to drop. And while Lamar seems to have both Obama and a majority of the rap nation’s vote regarding who will come out triumphant, only time will tell what will be left of both of the rappers’ careers, reputations, and dignity when the dust finally settles.

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About the Contributor
Kathryn Campbell
Kathryn Campbell, Staff Writer

Kathryn Campbell is a freshman entering her first year on The Central Trend. When she’s not at school, you can find her playing competitive ice hockey for Fox Motors Hockey Club. She has just completed her 6th year playing travel soccer and hopes to compete for the high school this spring. Her other hobbies include listening to music, writing, and hanging out with her friends. She is very enthusiastic about her next four years of high school and plans to make as many memories as she can. She is especially excited about all that awaits her in room 139.

Her favorite album: SOS by SZA Her lucky number: 4 Her go-to animated movie: Hercules Her favorite holiday: Christmas  

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