“Hip-Hop Clash: Unraveling Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole’s Feud”

Drake, J. Cole ‘First Person Shooter’ Streams Increase After ‘Like That’

It’s a tradition—a battleground for lyrical prowess and a testament to dominance, birthing numerous legendary “diss tracks” from 2Pac’s Hit ‘Em Up to Jay-Z’s Takeover.

The latest feud embroils three heavyweights of hip-hop—Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole—stemming from what seemed like an innocuous lyric praising their individual accomplishments.

Here’s a breakdown of the ongoing saga.

Who are the key figures? Drake – The Canadian artist, transitioning from an actor to a musician, whose fusion of rap and R&B has propelled him as the most commercially successful hip-hop act of the 21st Century. His repertoire includes chart-toppers like Hotline Bling, One Dance, and Hold On We’re Going Home.

Kendrick Lamar – Hailing from Compton, Lamar is revered as the epitome of modern rap, celebrated for his intricate rhymes and profound thematic explorations. Renowned for addressing pressing issues like police brutality and black empowerment, he made history in 2018 as the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize for music.

J Cole – Born in Germany and raised in North Carolina, mentored by Jay-Z, J Cole emerged with hits like Middle Child and Deja Vu. However, disillusioned by mainstream success, he pivoted towards introspective narratives, crafting some of his most resonant works.

How did the feud ignite? Getty Images J ColeGetty Images J Cole’s comparison to Drake and Kendrick sparked the initial controversy on the track First Person Shooter The spark igniting the feud initially hinted at unity rather than strife.

In October last year, Drake released his eighth album For All The Dogs, featuring a collaboration with J Cole titled First Person Shooter.

In a verse, Cole suggested that he, Drake, and Kendrick constituted the “big three” of contemporary hip-hop.

“Love when they argue the hardest MC / Is it K. Dot [Kendrick]? Is it Aubrey [Drake]? Or me? / We the big three, like we started a league.”

The track debuted atop the US singles chart, marking Drake’s 13th and Cole’s first number-one hit.

This achievement tied Drake with Michael Jackson for the most number one singles by a male solo artist.

However, a week later, Taylor Swift’s Cruel Summer dethroned them from the number one spot, seemingly dissipating the tension. But Kendrick took notice privately—and he wasn’t pleased.

What was Kendrick Lamar’s response? Getty Images Kendrick LamarGetty Images Kendrick Lamar’s retort intensified the conflict Earlier this month, rappers Metro Boomin’ and Future dropped a joint album named Like That.

Nestled within the tracklist was an uncredited verse by Kendrick Lamar—and it was explosive.

Delivered with fervor and profanity, Lamar aimed his words at Cole’s verse, dismissing the notion of a “big three” and asserting his individual dominance.

He critiqued Cole’s acclaimed verses as lightweight—”a light pack”—and proclaimed himself as the Drake’s Michael Jackson equivalent.

The impact of Lamar’s verse transcends print, particularly as he concludes by threatening to bury all of Drake and J Cole’s “associates” in the “pet sematary”—a reference to Stephen King’s 1983 horror novel.

(Note: Lamar isn’t referring to literal pets but rather the close companions of the rappers.)

Significantly, Lamar’s verse placement holds weight, as Metro Boomin’ shares a history with Drake but has since distanced himself. Known as Leland Wayne, Metro produced the majority of Drake’s 2015 album What A Time To Be Alive, but their relationship soured, leading to Metro’s removal of Drake from a song named Trance in 2022, along with unfollowing him on Instagram.

Did Drake concede defeat? Certainly not.

Drake seemingly addressed Lamar’s verse during a Florida concert, delivering a spirited message to the audience.

“A lot of people ask me how I’m feeling,” he declared. “I’ma let you know I’m feeling.

“I got my [expletive] head up high, my back straight, I’m 10 [expletive] toes down in Florida and anywhere else I go. And I know that no matter what, it’s not a [person] on this earth that could ever [expletive] with me in my life!”

What’s the latest development? Recently, J Cole retorted to Kendrick’s verse with his own track featured in his surprise album Might Delete Later.

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

Continuing, Cole critiqued Kendrick’s discography, hailing his debut as a “classic” while deriding his latest effort—a sprawling double album titled Mr Morale and the Big Steppers—as “tragic.”

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

He concluded with a nod of respect to Lamar but warned of retaliating if the insults persisted.

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

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