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Kendrick Lamar vs. Drake: How a rap brawl became a series of serious accusations

On May 4, rapper Kendrick Lamar released the track “Not Like Us,” serving as the ninth track in his ongoing feud with Canadian rapper Drake. A simple feud from a singular track escalated into a series of nine tracks that do not fail to make listeners more engaged each time.  Lamar and Drake were once...

On May 4, rapper Kendrick Lamar released the track “Not Like Us,” serving as the ninth track in his ongoing feud with Canadian rapper Drake. A simple feud from a singular track escalated into a series of nine tracks that do not fail to make listeners more engaged each time. 

Lamar and Drake were once good friends, Lamar appearing on the track “Buried Alive Interlude” off of Drake’s 2012 album, “Take Care,” and later touring with Drake on the “Club Paradise” tour for the album. However, shortly following the release of Lamar’s album “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” the rapper dissed Drake on Big Sean’s track “Control,” rapping “I got love for you all, but I’m trying to murder you n***as/ Trying to make sure your core fans never heard of you n***as/ They don’t want to hear not one more noun or verb from you ni***as.” 

Shortly following Lamar’s diss, Drake was on the front cover of Billboard magazine, where he stated he had not taken the diss to heart. However, Lamar responded to this during the BET Hip Hop Award ceremony’s Digital Cypher on behalf of TDE, his record label at the time, rapping “Nothing’s been the same since they dropped ‘Control’/ And tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes

The feud was reignited in early October with the release of “First Person Shooter,” on Drake’s 15th studio album, “For All the Dogs.” The track featured rapper J. Cole and a verse declaring that Drake, Cole, and Lamar were the “big three” in the rap music scene. “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/ But right now, I feel like Muhammed Ali,” Cole raps in the song. 

The song was followed up with the release of “Like That,” a track off of the collaboration album “We Don’t Trust You,” from rapper Future and producer Metro Boomin’ in March of 2024, an album that many fans claim is directed towards Drake. Lamar was featured on the track, where he directly responds to Cole’s verse, stating, “Yeah get up with me, f*** sneak dissing / ‘First Person Shooter,’ I hope they came with three switches/ Motherf*** the big three, n***a, it’s just big me.” 

On the track, Lamar seemingly takes offense to being put on the same level as Cole or Drake, as the rapper has won various prestigious awards for his lyrical abilities, including a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his seventh studio album, “DAMN.” This album was met with critical appraisal and landed the  No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 chart the week of its release. 

Less than two weeks following the track’s release, Cole surprise dropped his album “Might Delete Later” on April 5. The album featured the track “7 Minute Drill,” which served as a direct response to Lamar’s diss on “Like That,” as well as a diss to Lamar’s career. Cole raps, “Your first s*** was classic, your last shit was tragic/ Your second s*** put n****s to sleep, but they gassed it/ Your third s*** was massive, and that was your prime/ I was trailing right behind and I just now hit mine.”

About three days after the track’s release, the rapper headlined the Dreamville Music Festival in North Carolina, where he apologized for the diss and removed “7 Minute Drill” from all streaming services. 

On April 19, Drake released his response to the ensuing beef, which featured two tracks, “Taylor Made Freestyle” and “Push Ups.”

Although “Taylor Made Freestyle” was not uploaded to streaming services, Drake shared the track on his social media. The song featured an opening line from an AI replication of Tupac Shakur followed by another verse from an AI replication of  Snoop Dogg. Drake later took down the track from all social media platforms at the request of the Tupac Estate, which issued the rapper a cease and desist notice

The track also discussed the reason for Lamar not releasing a follow-up to his diss on “Like That.” Drake raps, “But now we gotta wait a f*****’ week ’cause Taylor Swift is your new Top/ And if you ’bout to drop, she gotta approve.” Hence, a reference to the track’s title, “Taylor Made.”

“Push Ups,” unlike “Taylor Made,” was released on streaming services and aimed directly at Lamar, particularly targeting his shoe size. The cover art for the track features a shoe size label, a men’s size seven, which is the same as Lamar’s.

Drake raps, “How the f*** you big steppin’ with size-seven men’s on?” referencing Lamar’s latest album, “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers.” The track also appeared to diss Future, Boomin, and Cole. “Push Ups” debuted at no. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

On April 30, Lamar responded to Drake’s flight of singles with the six-minute-long track “Euphoria.” The track makes an array of references to Drake’s career, as the title directly references the HBO series, “Euphoria,” which Drake executively produced. Lamar also directly responded to most claims made on “Push Ups.”

Fabricatin’ stories on the family front ’cause you heard Mr. Morale/A pathetic master manipulator, I can smell the tales on you now/ You’re not a rap artist, you a scam artist with the hopes of being accepted,” raps Lamar on Euphoria, in response to Drake’s bit about his “steppers.”

The track landed at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week after its release. However, less than a week later, Lamar uploaded the track “6:16 in LA” to his Instagram. The track serves as a cryptic entry to the beef and questions the people around Drake, who he works with at his record label OVO. 

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,” Lamar raps. 

Fans were also shocked to find out that Swift’s frequent collaborator and producer also helped Lamar co-produce the track, responding to the Swift reference on “Taylor Made.” 

Less than a day later, Drake released a follow-up to Lamar’s diss entitled “Family Matters.” The Canadian rapper released the track alongside a music video, slightly over even minutes long. Drake hurls various accusations at Lamar, alleging that Lamar abuses his wife and questions the paternity of his child. 

“When you put your hands on your girl, is it self-defense ‘cause she’s bigger than you?” Drake says. 

The track’s music video features the minivan’s destruction, a reference to the minivan used on the cover of the deluxe edition of Lamar’s fourth studio album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” 

Lamar quickly responded to “Family Matters” through the release of the track “Meet the Grahams,” which responds to Drake’s accusations regarding his family,  directly addressing each member of Drake’s family. 

The track opens as a letter to Drake’s son, Adonis. “Dear Adonis/ I’m sorry that that man is your father, let me be honest/ It takes a man to be a man, your dad is not responsive,” Lamar raps. 

The track also accuses Drake of being a pedophile and having a daughter whom he has chosen not to father in the public eye. These accusations continued with the release of Lamar’s “Not Like Us.” 

The cover art for “Not Like Us” features a house identified as Drake’s estate in Toronto. However, the home is covered in red markers, which resemble those that appear on homes inhabited by sex offenders. 

Certified Lover Boy? Certified pedophiles,” Lamar states on the track, referring to Drake’s 2021 album “Certified Lover Boy.”

Lamar also accused Drake of undergoing Brazilian butt lift surgery on his track “Not Like Us.”  This sparked an online frenzy and inspired Boomin, producer of “Like That,” to release the track “BBL Drizzy.” 

The latest installment of the feud was Drake’s response to “The Heart Pt. 6” on YouTube. The release was a play on Lamar’s “The Heart,” a single series featured on many of his albums, most recently with the release of “The Heart Pt. 5” on “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers.”

“The Heart Pt. 6” serves as Drake’s response to the accusations Lamar made on “Meet the Grahams” and “Not Like Us,” denying all of them. 

We thought about givin’ a fake name or a destination/ But you so thirsty, you not concerned with investigation/ Instead you in that Venice studio, it’s a celebration/ You gotta learn to fact-check things and be less impatient,” shares Drake on the track, accusing Lamar of having no evidence to support his accusations.

Drake announced the release of “The Heart Pt. 6” on Instagram, alongside the captionAnd we know you’re dropping 6 mins after so instead of posting my address you have a lot to address.” 

Gabriela Quintero is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this story or others, contact her at

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