The Reasons Behind Kendrick Lamar’s Feud With Drake And J Cole

Since the beginning of hip-hop, rappers have been slandering one another.

From 2Pac’s Hit ‘Em Up to Jay-Z’s Takeover, there are hundreds of iconic “diss tracks” that have been created as a result of this cultural test of lyrical prowess and proclamation of supremacy.

Three of hip-hop’s top performers, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole, have broken out into a new rivalry that all started with an apparently harmless phrase that complimented each other’s careers.

This is a summary of the events thus far.

Who are the principal participants?

Drake, the Canadian actor-turned-musician (above left), is the most commercially successful hip-hop artist of the twenty-first century thanks to his vulnerable rap and R&B combination. His multi-platinum songs include Hold On We’re Going Home, One Dance, and Hotline Bling.

Kendrick Lamar (center) is a rapper from Compton, California, whose catchy rhymes and innovative style have earned him the title of greatest rapper of his generation. Being one of the most creative lyricists in the game, he addresses important subjects such as internal problems, black self-worth, and police brutality. He was the first hip-hop musician to receive the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2018.

J Cole (on the right) – J Cole, who was raised in North Carolina after being born in Germany, received coaching from Jay-Z and went on to achieve success with songs like Middle Child and Deja Vu. However, he became disillusioned with the accoutrements of mainstream success and started to carve out his own route with more reflective, analytical songs, which led to some of his most well-liked and lucrative work to date.

How did the conflict begin?

Drake helped Kendrick Lamar along throughout his early career by including him on the Take Care album and booking him as the opening act for his 2012 Club Paradise Tour.

However, Lamar was clear about his goals in 2013 following the success of his debut album, Good Kid, m.A.A.d City.

He warned artists Pusha T, Drake, J Cole, Meek Mill, Mac Miller, and many more, saying, “I got love for you all, but I’m trying to murder you,” during a guest verse on Big Sean’s Control.

Drake said to Billboard Magazine when asked about the diss, “I didn’t really have anything to say about it.” To me, it just sounded like an ambitious idea. That was all there was to it.

“I’m fully aware that [Lamar] isn’t killing me on any kind of platform. So I suppose we can talk about it again when that day comes.”

Over the following few years, the rappers exchanged a few jabs—Lamar famously claimed to have “tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes” at the BET Hip-Hop Awards—but nothing too serious.

What led to the most recent escalation?

The first spark was an attempt at unification rather than divisiveness.

Drake’s eighth album For All The Dogs, which included a joint project with J Cole titled First Person Shooter, was released in October of last year.

Cole claimed in a single stanza to be one of the “big three” of the current hip-hop period, along with Drake and Kendrick.

“I love it when they fight the most, MC / Is that Kendrick, K. Dot? Is that Drake’s Aubrey? or myself? The Big Three, as though we had founded a league.”

The song became Drake’s thirteenth and Cole’s first number-one hit when it debuted at the top of the US singles chart.

Drake now shares the record for the most number one hits by a male solo artist with Michael Jackson thanks to this accomplishment.

They were replaced at the top of the charts by Taylor Swift’s Cruel Summer a week later, and it appeared like the moment had faded. Kendrick, however, had noticed in private and wasn’t pleased.

What was said by Kendrick Lamar?

We Don’t Trust You is a joint album by rapper Future and producer Metro Boomin’ that was released in March of 2024.

A single named Like That with an uncredited verse by Kendrick Lamar was accidentally included in the tracklist, and it was really good.

He attacked Cole’s verse with a tightly strung, profanity-filled delivery, saying there was no “big three – it’s just big me.”

He continued by referring to the best verses by Drake and Cole as “a light pack” and saying he was the Prince to Drake’s Michael Jackson.

The final line of the lyric, which promises to place all of Drake and J Cole’s “dogs” in a “pet sematary” (the title of a Stephen King horror novel from 1983), sets off a chain reaction that is difficult to describe in print.

(Note: Lamar refers to the rappers’ closest and dearest, not actual pet dogs. The line also alludes to the title of Drake’s album, For All the Dogs.)

It’s important to note that Metro Boomin’, a previous Drake collaborator who had a falling out with the Canadian musician, is another reason why Lamar’s verse was chosen in this particular location.

Drake’s 2015 album What A Time To Be Alive was mostly produced by Metro, whose real name is Leland Wayne. However, a promised sequel never came to pass, which is said to have caused rifts between the two.

The producer unfollowed Drake on Instagram in 2022 and took him out of the song Trance.

Did Drake concede the point?

Naturally, no.

At a Florida event, Drake seemed to confront Kendrick’s verse by sending a combative message to the audience.

“A lot of people ask me how I’m feeling,” he replied. “I will tell you how I am feeling.

“Wherever I go, including Florida, I’ve got my [expletive] head held high, my back straight, and ten [expletive] toes down. Furthermore, I am aware that [person] is not on this What is the issue between Drake, J Cole, and Kendrick Lamar? earth that might ever be in my life, [expletive] with me!”

I take it that was the last of it?

Definitely not twice!

J Cole responded to Kendrick’s verse two weeks later with a song titled 7 Minute Drill off his unexpected album Might Delete Later.

“I got a phone call, they say that somebody dissing / You want some attention, it come with extensions,” he sang. “He still doing shows but fell off like The Simpsons.”

He went on to critique Kendrick’s discography, labeling his debut album as “classic” but his most recent release, a massive double album titled Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, as “tragic”.

“Your third [album] was massive and that was your prime,” he said. “I was trailing right behind and I just now hit mine.”

In closing, he declared that while he still respected Lamar, if the attacks persisted, he wouldn’t think twice about destroying him.

“Push come to shove on this mic I will humble him.”

Did J Cole say what he said?

Cole realized that the release of 7 Minute Drill had been a major “misstep” almost immediately.

While performing live at the Dreamville Festival in North Carolina, he expressed regret for the song, complimented Kendrick Lamar’s discography, and begged for pardon.

He admitted to the crowd at the Dreamville Festival in North Carolina, “I ain’t gonna lie to y’all the past two days felt terrible.”

He clarified that the outcome was the “lamest, goofiest” song he had ever recorded, but he had given in to pressure to reply to Lamar’s attack.

He threatened to remove the music from streaming sites and said he would “take it on the chin” if Kendrick Lamar chose to reply.

The singer rapped, “The only thing worse than death is a regret-filled coffin,” on his 2013 song Crunch Time.

Will Drake continue this long once all others have moved on?

Drake attempted to put out Cole’s fire by trying to do it again, akin to a real rap arsonist.

In a song titled Push Ups (Drop and Give Me 50), which Drake released on April 13, he mocked Kendrick Lamar’s height, referring to him as a midget (5 feet 4 inches tall) and a record label puppet who is compelled to work with pop musicians.

“Maroon 5 need a verse, you better make it witty/Then we need a verse for the Swifties,” he pleaded.

In addition, he criticized Lamar’s standing in the hip-hop hierarchy, claiming that other musicians had surpassed him.

“Pipsqueak, pipe down, you ain’t in no big three/SZA got you wiped down/Travis got you wiped down, Savage got you wiped down.”

In the song, he also mentioned Rick Ross, Future, and The Weeknd.

Has anyone else replied, such as Drake’s mother?

It’s funny that you inquire.

Rick Ross responded to Drake’s attack within hours with a song titled Champagne Moments, in which he claimed the celebrity had undergone plastic surgery, including a Brazilian Butt Lift, a nose operation, and false abs.

Drake’s mother texted him to inquire about the veracity of the rumors after making the claim.

He immortalized their conversation on Instagram, signaling the end of this rap feud.

It didn’t stop there, though. Oh no.

Kanye West sided with Kendrick Lamar on April 21 and released a remix of Like That in which he criticized Drake’s major label record deal, implying that he had been mistreated.

Rapping, “Y’all so out of sight, out of mind/I can’t even think of a Drake line,” he disregarded the lyrics by Drake and Cole.

Drake attempted to provoke Lamar into replying in the meanwhile by releasing another diss tune.

Taylor Made Freestyle, as it was called, implied that Kendrick Lamar was too cowardly to drop a song the same week Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department dropped.

To make matters worse, Drake reportedly employed artificial intelligence to produce two of the voices in the likeness of Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, two of Kendrick Lamar’s idols.

Drake took down the song from his social media accounts after receiving complaints from the estate of Tupac Shakur.

In his diss track, what did Kendrick say?

At the end of April, Kendrick finally answered with a full-fledged, six-minute diss single.

The article, titled Euphoria (a nod to the HBO series on which Drake is an executive producer), seemed to be a litany of grievances directed on his opponent.

Drake was referred to by Lamar as “predictable,” “a master manipulator,” and “a habitual liar.” In addition, he echoed Rick Ross’s criticism of Drake’s phony abs and questioned the star’s ability to be a parent.

Mostly, though, he expressed how much he disliked Drake.

He rapped, “Let me say I’m the biggest hater.” “I hate the way that you walk, the way that you talk, I hate the way that you dress.”

In response, Drake shared a screen grab from the film 10 Things I Hate About You, drawing comparisons between Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics and the juvenile poetry delivered by a character.

Less than 72 hours after releasing Euphoria, Lamar released “6:16 in LA,” his second song.

In it, he asserted that damaging information was being leaked by someone within Drake’s organization.

“You must be a terrible person/ Everyone inside your team is whispering that you deserve it.”

Why did it turn personal all of a sudden?

Drake seems to have taken offense by Lamar’s claim that he “don’t know nothin'” about raising a youngster.

Drake responded on Saturday, May 4, with a song titled Family Matters, which escalated the conflict to unprecedented levels.

He said, “You mentioned my seed, now deal with his dad.” “I gotta go bad, I gotta go bad.”

Drake said that Kendrick Lamar could be a domestic abuser in one of the song’s most surprising claims (the star has never faced such an allegation).

“You [messed] up the minute you called out my family’s name” was the opening line of Lamar’s third diss single, Meet The Grahams, which he dropped within twenty minutes as payback.

Drake wrote a song for each member of his immediate family, which included his father, mother, and six-year-old son Adonis. He went through a long list of the rapper’s alleged transgressions with each of them.

Among the accusations he made were that Drake was hooked to drugs, sex, and gambling, and that he had fathered a second child covertly.

Drake replied on Instagram, calling Lamar’s accusations a “shambles” and requesting that whoever had his “hidden daughter” return her.

How is it going to finish?

There are no indicators that the verbal battle will end soon. If anything, the star is attacking more frequently now.

But the rivalry benefits business. The newest diss tracks will undoubtedly follow Push Ups and Like That, who are both comfortably tucked away in the US and UK charts.

There are indications, though, that some listeners are becoming weary of the back and forth all the time.

Senior music editor Jeff Ihaza of Rolling Stone magazine penned an editorial piece on May 2 that said, “This whole feud has started to reveal itself to be an ouroboros of attention and social-media commentary more than any actual referendum on two rappers’ abilities.”

“It feels like such a colossal waste of energy.”

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