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Diss track duel

A timeline of one of the most influential rapper arguments in history, a long feud between Drake and Kendrick Lamar
Photo courtesy of New York Times

What started as a collaboration between two of hip-hop’s biggest stars, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, has developed into one of the most controversial rap beefs of the decade. The conflict escalated quickly with numerous diss tracks and personal attacks between the two rappers. From claims of infidelity and domestic violence to allegations of pedophilia and plastic surgery, the feud continues to intensify in shocking ways. 

It all started in 2011 when Drake released his, arguably, best album “Take Care.” Lamar was featured in a song on that album, “Buried Alive,” at the time when he was an up-and-coming rapper while Drake was already on his second album. Later in 2012, Drake asked Lamar, because he gained positive comments from “Buried Alive”, and ASAP Rocky to be opening acts on the Club Paradise Tour, further deepening their relationship.

On Aug. 14, 2013, Big Sean dropped “Control” featuring Lamar’s. In this single, Big Sean called out numerous prominent rappers, including Drake, rapping, “I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you.” During that same year at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Hip-Hop Awards Cypher, Lamar expressed that “Nothing has been the same since they dropped control and tucked a sensitive rapper back into his pajama clothes,” clearing taking a jab at Drake. 

Fast forward to Oct. 2023, Drake and J. Cole released “First shooter.” J. Cole’s line “Love when they argue the hardest MC/ Is it K-Dot [Kendrick Lamar]? Is it Aubrey [Drake]? Or me?” reignited tensions between the rappers, needlessly setting up the rappers against each other again. 

Lamar’s response on “Like That” with Future and Metro Boomin was forceful but still somewhat tame, saying, “Motherf*** the big three, it’s just me.” However, the numerous diss tracks that followed in April 2024 took the feud to extreme levels of pettiness and revenge. 

Soon after “Like That” was unveiled, J. Cole disses Lamar in his single “7 Min Drill’.” Two days after the release, J. Cole publicly apologizes to Lamar. Then on April 13, Drake releases his first diss track of many, “Push Ups.” In this diss track, Drake emphasizes that Lamar is 5’5 in which the line was a brutal display of Drake’s skills as a songwriter. 

Later on April 24, Drake pressures Lamar, dropping a diss track, “Taylor Made Freestyle”, saying, “The first one really only took me an hour or two/ The next one is really about to bring out the coward in you.” He uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated voices of Snoop Dog and Tupac. He believed that Lamar was waiting for Taylor Swift’s new album to drop his diss track, as Lamar’s first number one song was his feature on Swift’s “Bad Blood.” 

Lamar retaliates by releasing “Euphoria,” gaining attention on TikTok for his witty remarks; one of the verses that went viral is, “I hate the way that you walk, the way that you talk/I hate the way that you dress.” In his lyricism, Lamar emphasizes his songwriting skills as his lyrics are deemed more relatable than Drake’s, allowing more people to be drawn to his music. He also brings to light that Drake and his record label called for a cease and desist to take Lamar’s “Like that” off the radio.

Drake releases his third diss track, “Family Matters,” on YouTube 14 hours after “6:16 in LA.” He questions Lamar on why he’s calling out Drake in “Euphoria” for his skin color even though his wife is mixed too. He takes this too far, using misogynistic comments about domestic violence, relating this back to Lamar personally.

Minutes after Drake’s “Family Matters”, Lamar produced “Meet the Grahams.” This song consisted of four verses about Drake’s son, Drake’s mom, an 11-year-old girl who’s allegedly Drake’s child, and the last one about Drake himself. He drags Drake’s family members into the situation in an extremely disrespectful way, rapping about innocent family members crosses a line. 

Lamar’s “Not Like Us” arrived less than 24 hours after “Meet the Grahams.” He implies Drake and his recording team are pedophiles using the lyric “Tryna strike a cord and it’s probably A minor”; the picture used as a song cover was a picture of Drake’s house in Toronto with numerous red sex offender symbols on top of the house. This is done irresponsibly as he accuses someone of such a poor crime without evidence.  

Drake’s “The Heart Pt.6” reveals that he fabricated the story of a hidden daughter to trick Lamar which shows that Lamar wasn’t interested in looking for factual information but just took whatever he could find. “We plotted for a week, and then we fed you the information/A daughter that’s 11-years-old, I bet he takes it.” 

As the heated argument between Drake and Lamar shows no signs of stopping, the rap community continues to stand behind different rappers. While some have criticized the rappers for taking it too far, others argue that everything being done is justified. As fans wait for the next diss track to drop, the feud is reaching an all-time high across social media platforms. Some may argue that it’s time for these two rappers to move on before any permanent damage is done to their careers. Only time will tell if this argument will end in peace or escalate even further. 

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