Drake Vs. The World

DJ Semtex wades in on the hip-hop feud that keeps on giving...

Introducing a zeitgeist music and culture column by celebrated broadcaster, producer, and author, DJ Semtex.

Ye said everyone in the studio was “energised about the elimination of Drake”. Kendrick Lamar has now ethered Drake on four different tracks. Future and Metro Boomin’ said they don’t trust him, backed by the Weeknd and A$ap Rocky firing their own shots across two albums. Meanwhile Rick Ross stayed schemin’ and dropped his own Drake diss ‘Champagne Moments’. Since March 23rd nothing was the same. The concept off rap beef was redefined forever when Future, Metro Boomin, and Kendrick dropped ‘Like That’. A scathing diss track that changed everything. They threw rocks at the throne and launched the Rap Avengers Endgame.

Each artist has a different issue with Drake ranging from ‘sneaky’ business practices, to serving cease and desist notices, to alleged entanglements with rappers’ girlfriends and accusations of cultural appropriation. Despite these possible reasons for the A-list rap intervention, Drake has previously collaborated with all of them individually, creating genre-defining hit records eternally residing on playlists. Everything was cool when Drake appeared on ‘Poetic Justice: One of the biggest hits from Kendrick’s debut album ‘good Kid m.A.A.d City’, which is still on the Billboard 200 chart years later. It was all G.O.O.D when Kanye West asked Drake to write his bars on the ‘Life of Pablo’ album; or further back fifteen years ago when Kanye shared the same management with Drake, loading him up with beats for his debut album ‘Thank Me Later’.

I discovered Drake on the Nahright blog back in 08‘. I downloaded the ‘Ransom’ track with Lil Wayne for my radio show. It’s a crazy, lyrically hard banger. It’s rare for a new artist to be able to stand next to an elite rap God such as Lil Wayne in his ‘Carter III’ prime on a debut track. It was blatantly apparent that Drake was special and about to establish his place within the rap game. I immediately reached out for a phone interview which they posted on their OVO blog. As more tracks dropped, I gave them more airplay. In 2009, when Drake was in the UK to work with Rihanna, I hosted his first ever face-to-face UK interview in Hyde Park, London. He was focussed, hopeful, passionate, and determined to win. 

Fifteen years later Drake is focussed, hopeful, passionate, and determined to win. The only difference now is that he is So Far Gone, like the title of his debut mixtape. He was introduced to the world via a collaboration and he constantly returns that favour to the culture, sharing his own spotlight with new emerging artists. He’s a genuine fan of UK rap and has put more local artists on the global stage than anyone else. Drake constantly influences popular culture. His strike rate is unprecedented. His output is unrivalled. He has been at the top and dominated the culture for the last decade. For a non-US rapper he has achieved the near impossible – the unimaginable. Maybe this is the actual reason why the Rap Avengers assembled.

Kendrick wants all the infinity stones. He wants all the smoke. He wants the crown for himself. As he said on ‘Like That’, “Fuck the big 3, it’s just big me”. He has J Cole on safety. Without saying a word, J Cole was pressed to publicly apologise for dissing K Dot on ‘7 Minute Drill’. Kendrick’s ‘Euphoria’ diss is a six minute masterpiece of lyrical ethering, but Drake isn’t getting eliminated anytime soon. He knows it’s Drake vs the world and is ready for a conflict ten years in the making.

The Rap Avengers have assembled, but the Rap Endgame is just getting started.

Words: DJ Semtex

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