“Why is the music dispute between Drake and Kendrick Lamar so important?” Part 1

Hip-hop artists Drake and Kendrick Lamar’s rap feud has sparked a global internet craze that has spread beyond hip-hop and the typical social media conversation. While feuds in the music business are not new, it appears that this one is expanding into politics and other domains.

A ton of memes, memorable hooks, and social media banter have come from the feud. It has also sparked debate and anxiety among supporters, who feel the rivalry may have gotten too personal.

Either way, it has raised the question: Why is this beef so influential and significant in terms of culture?

History of Drake vs. Kendrick Lamar beef

As USA Today’s Taijuan Moorman laid out in her recent detailed blow-by-blow account, the roots of Lamar and Drake’s feud go back more than a decade to 2013, though things quickly intensified this past spring.

The first shot fired came from Lamar when he appeared on Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That,” song, released March 22, where he rejected the idea of a a “big three” in rap, declaring on the track, “It’s just big me.” The lyric was a response to J. Cole referring to himself, Drake and Lamar as the “big three” on Drake’s October 2023 track “First Person Shooter.”

Drake officially entered the ring with a full diss track against Lamar (and other artists including Rick Ross and The Weeknd) in “Push Ups” on April 19, where offered bars about Lamar’s small shoe size, record deal contract and collaborations with Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift.

Drake fired back again with “Taylor Made Freestyle” on the same day, which featured artificial intelligence impersonations of Snoop Dogg and Tupac which got the Toronto-born rapper in hot water with Tupac’s estate (and was subsequently pulled from streaming services.)

Lamar responded with his first full diss track, “Euphoria,” just over a week later on April 30, where he called Drake — who is a producer on the HBO series “Euphoria — a “pathetic master manipulator” and a “habitual liar” who is “not a rap artist” but “a scam artist.” A few days later, Lamar then released “6:16 in LA” taking further shots at Drake’s label and team, and calling Drake a “fake bully.”

Mere hours later Drake followed up with the diss track of his own, “Family Matters” where he upped the rhetoric accusing Lamar of physically abusing fiancée Whitney Alford.

Almost immediately after Drake’s “Family Matters” dropped, Lamar laid out his own series of allegations about Drake’s abuse, addictions and a second hidden child in “Meet the Grahams.” Lamar’s allegations went even further and he seemingly alluded to previous allegations of grooming against Drake on follow-up track, “Not Like Us.”

Drake receives key to Shelby County: ‘We only give that to our own that we love here’

On May 5, Drake shot back releasing the somber diss “The Heart Part 6,” a reference to Lamar’s track series, including 2022’s “The Heart Part 5.” In it, Drake alludes to familial accusations of 𝑠e𝑥ual assault against Lamar.

The head-spinning back and forth concluded with partisans of Lamar – the more critically acclaimed and respected rapper – claiming he had won the war of words, with Drake fans refusing to accept defeat.

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