The Student News Site of Gabrielino High School

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Is there a big me? Drake-Kendrick Lamar feud dominates the rap industry


Rap sensations Kendrick Lamar and Drake have released periodic diss tracks to establish who is more accomplished in the industry. Recently, this long-awaited battle took the internet by storm, revealing as much about the artists as it did about the art of rap.
The complexity and vulnerability within these diss tracks captured what lies beneath the surface, with a majority of the feud occurring in the past month.
It began with the release of Drake’s eighth studio album, “For All The Dogs”, on October 6, 2023, which featured a collaboration between Drake and J. Cole on the song “First Person Shooter”. In it, J. Cole establishes unity between the three critically acclaimed rappers of our time, rapping, “Is it K-dot [Kendrick]? Is it Aubrey [Drake]? Or Me? / We the big three like we started a league.”
In response, Metro Boomin featured Kendrick Lamar on his album “We Don’t Trust You,” released March 22. Lamar rapped on “Like That,” where he rejected the idea of a big three, dissing J. Cole and Drake by stating, “Motherf* that big me, it’s just big me.”
Initial shots were fired at J. Cole, pushing him to release “7 Minute Drill,” which criticizes Kendrick’s albums and his reputation thus far. This diss was short-lived, as J. Cole apologized for releasing the song and removed it from streaming platforms a week after its release.
Following the removal of J. Cole’s diss track, Drake released “Push-Ups” on April 19. The rapper is seen dropping shots at Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Metro Boomin, the Weeknd, and Future, several artists featured on Metro Boomin’s “We Don’t Trust You.”
“Push Ups” is a culmination of insults towards Kendrick, as the cover art represents Kendrick’s shoe size as Drake simultaneously points out, “How the f* you big-steppin’ with a size-seven men’s on.” Drake’s lyric “big steppin” refers to Kendrick’s tour in 2022 called The Big Steppers Tour. The track’s title is derived from a viral video of Kendrick doing ‘prison push ups’ posted on jojoruski, his Instagram account featuring ‘slice of life moments,’ in July of 2023.
Drake’s “Taylor Made Freestyle”, released on April 24, revealed more about Kendrick while simultaneously showing AI’s possibility within the rap industry. The second diss track from Drake featured AI Snoop Dogg and 2Pac, renowned West Coast artists whom Kendrick draws inspiration from. Drake utilizes the two artists to slander Kendrick continuously.
Like J. Cole’s diss, Drake removed “Taylor Made Freestyle” from streaming services due to legal action prompted by 2Pac’s agency for utilizing his voice through AI.
As anticipation grew regarding Kendrick’s response, he dropped “Euphoria,” a six-minute diss track, igniting the feud again by emphasizing his resentment for Drake through a flurry of insults.
“Euphoria” is split into three parts, each growing with aggression as the track arrangement becomes increasingly hostile.  “Euphoria” begins to peel back layers on Drake, revealing much about his isolation from authentic black culture, questioning his taste in fashion, and exposing his lack of presence as a father to his son, Adonis.
“How many more Black features ’til you finally feel that you’re Black enough? / I hate the way that you walk, the way that you talk, I hate the way that you dress / I got a son to raise, but I can see you don’t know nothin’ ’bout that”
72 hours after releasing “Euphoria,” Kendrick released “6:16 in LA,”  informing Drake of his insider gathering information for him. “Have you ever thought that OVO is workin’ for me? / Fake bully, I hate bullies, you must be a terrible person / Everyone inside your team is whispering that you deserve it.” Several of Kendrick’s disses are hidden through production, with “6:16 in LA” being co-produced and co-written by Jack Antonoff, a producer associated with pop sensation, Taylor Swift, demonstrating Kendrick’s subtle response to “Taylor Made Freestyle.”
On the same day, Drake released “Family Matters,” purposefully uncovering the truth behind Kendrick’s family, “Stop trying to piece together what I know and go pick up the pieces of your broken home.”
“Family Matters” begins with instrumentation similar to that of “Push Ups.” Drake received mass amounts of praise for the phenomenal bars he produced while simultaneously following the three-part stylistic method Kendrick utilized in “Euphoria.” Following on with the theme of family, the last verse of “Family Matters” stands out to listeners as it divulges the conflict between Kendrick and his wife, Whitney Alford.
Drake’s straightforward lyricism frames allegations of Kendrick’s domestic abuse of his wife. “You’re dead, you’re dead / there’s nowhere to hide, there’s nowhere to hide, you know what I mean / They hired a crisis management team to clean up the fact that you beat on your queen.”
With no time to spare, Kendrick released his third diss, “Meet the Grahams” a sinister and eerie track, titled in this manner as an introduction to Drake’s family, as he raps a personal message to Drake’s son Adonis, Drake’s mother Sandra Graham, Drake’s father Dennis Graham, his alleged daughter, and Drake himself. The diss is six-minutes long, similar to “Euphoria”; however, the song is exceedingly personal. Kendrick reveals Drake’s secret daughter and the possibility of his unspecified children.
Kendrick exposes through his lyricism, “Dear baby girl / I’m sorry that your father not active inside your world / He don’t commit to much but his music, yeah, that’s for sure.”
As the feud comes to an end, Kendrick’s concluding diss, “Not Like Us,” was released on May 4. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, broke the Spotify streaming record, and became the most streamed American hip-hop song in a single day with 6.59 million streams. It currently stands at over 210 million streams.
“Not Like Us,” a catchy and bouncy beat encapsulates the insults fired by Kendrick, primarily focusing on Drake’s alleged interest in younger women. Kendrick raps, “Say Drake, I hear you like ’em young / You better never go to cell block one / To any girl that talk to him and they in love / Just make sure you hide your lil’ sister from him.” Kendrick continues this allegation by calling him a ‘Certified Pedophile’ with a clever word play on his sixth studio album Certified Lover Boy.
The cover art of “Not Like Us” features a Google Map screenshot of Drake’s mansion in Toronto, Canada, which features the modern sex offender registry, which indicates an offender’s residency.
Through the exchange of diss tracks from Drake and Kendrick Lamar and the excessive use of ad-hominems, the conflict exposes the domestic abuse allegations fired towards Kendrick, Drake’s interest in younger women, and the role of cultural appropriation. Diss tracks reveal much about the artists as it does about fan bases. Creating a divide and rivalry between fans, this rap ‘beef’ encapsulated audiences into paying close attention, deciphering lyrics, and following the staggering release of diss tracks.
The question remains: is there a big three, or is Kendrick the big me?

Donate to The Tongva Times

Your donation will support the student journalists of Gabrielino High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Angelina Chung
Angelina Chung, Contributing Writer
Angelina Chung is a Guest Writer for the Tongva Times. Outside of writing, she enjoys Soulcycle, cafe-hopping, and traveling. Angelina's passion for English and story crafting led her to journalism, where she continues to explore and develop her writing skills.
Donate to The Tongva Times