By: Kwame Manu |Published 7/17/2018
It’s pretty irregular for Drake to do the average rapper’s promotion tactics like interviews and freestyles, especially after dropping a successfully selling album (a 25 song album at that). Since his latest album Scorpion has been released and broke streaming records, Drake has gone back to his rap roots and been releasing UK radio freestyles where he seems to take slight shots at G.O.O.D Music’s Pusha T and Kanye West. After Pusha T released the diss track ‘The Story of Adidon’ the song immediately created a viral storm for days. Aimed at many aspects of Drake’s personal life, the song questions the Toronto rapper’s blackness, fathering, parents’ love lives and even mocks his friend and producer’s health. The specs on Drake’s legacy are as dark and visible as the blackface in the cover art. Yet, as Drake does he sends subliminal messages to both artists using a faux British accent since he was directed not to respond by Rap-A-Lot Records CEO Jay Prince. This probably makes Drake in his feelings as he probably never would have fathomed his two idols would come together to dismantle the crown off his head.
This beef resurfaced more prominent than ever when Pusha T released ‘Infrared’ (prod. by Kanye West) on his album Daytona discussing Drake’s ghostwriting allegations. Ironically enough Drake had previously visited West in Wyoming to assist him with a song on Ye. Hip-hop mediators such as DJ Akademikz reported that while Drake was in the studio with Kanye he revealed details about his album, his new son and his Adidas shoe deal. Appalled at the hypocrisy of the G.O.O.D music team, Drake made ‘Duppy Freestyle’ directing most of his bars at his musical predecessor instead of the man who released the song, which was a question on people’s minds. However, it seems as if ‘Infrared’ was merely to get a response from the streaming king. After Drake dropped ‘Duppy Freestyle’ the youngest Clipse member used the information West had given him to make ‘The Story of Adidon’ and claimed he only retaliated fiercely because Drake referenced his wife in his diss, not because of premeditation.
On MTV’s “When I Was 17” Drake reminisced on the time he bought a microphone allegedly signed by Pusha T for $200 on eBay. From an interview on MTV News in 2009 the rapper/singer claimed Kanye West as “…the most influential person as far as a musician that I’d ever had in my life.” Less than 10 years later he would be recognized and antagonized by both artists.
But why? Where does this all this tension come from? Well, it was mostly inherited and over a decade old. Cash Money Records (Drake’s former label) had a fallout with Star Trak Entertainment (Pusha T’s former label) after the CEO of Cash Money Birdman didn’t pay The Neptunes for the instrumental to ‘What Happened To That Boy’ ft. Clipse. Tension rose after Cash Money signee Lil Wayne copied the style of Pharrell Williams, wearing A Bathing Ape as well as his clothing brand Billionaire Boys Club. Later in 2011, when Lil Wayne and Drake were subliminally attacking Kanye and Jay-Z, Push releases ‘Don’t Fuck With Me’ and ‘Exodus 23:1’ taking shots at Drake and all of Cash Money respectively. Since then its been back and forth subliminal for seven years until these most recent events.
Another hypothesis is that Kanye West is scared of the Drake’s competition. In October 2010 XXL Magazine interviewed the forward thinking Chicago artist and he said “Drake was the first thing that actually scared me and put pressure on me, because it was the first thing that was blatantly from a similar perspective and lane. When I feel pressure, I step my game up. So I believe that Drake made great music for people to love and enjoy, but he also forced me to step my game up, because I have to be Kanye West.”
These events could be easily turned into a WWE storyline orchestrated by Vince McMahon. There’s been backstabbing, exposing, insults, drama, third parties, etc. It makes sense though because both the average rapper and wrestler’s personas are meant to be larger than life, and once two colossal heads butt anything is liable to happen. Aubrey Graham and Kanye West are kindred spirits. They both are sensitive while having massive egos and constantly influencing culture. Even to legends like West, competition is still worrying. It is the underlying drive behind most of the times Ye has interacted with Drake, whether it be claiming to do a joint album with him to claiming Drake makes too many hits to the alleged betrayal. As a self-made man who has been on top since 2004, the presence of a figure like Drake intimidates him who believes he will take away the impact of his legacy. As far as Push is concerned, he merely wants to put Drake in his place. Although Kanye West tweeted the beef is over, it is far from over. With the beef steadily escalating and being reheated, it really seems like we’ve seen the entrails of a surgical summer.