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Drake vs. Kendrick: Addressing Serious Issues

We are currently witnessing a beef for the hip hop history books, namely the feud between two of the biggest names in hip hop today, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. Beefs between artists are as old as rap itself and have always been a part of hip hop culture: Tupac vs. Biggie, Jay Z vs. Naz, etc. 

While these clashes often center around who is the better rapper, this current music rivalry has given rise to a number of very serious allegations. Topics such as grooming, parental absenteeism, and domestic abuse have all been brought up in the tracks being hurled back and forth between the two artists. 

The conflict can be traced back to Kendrick Lamar’s feature on the 2013 Big Sean song “Control.” In his verse, Kendrick called out a list of other rappers (including Big Sean and fellow feature contributor on the track Jay Electronica). Among the names was also Drake. 

These call outs were meant to be seen as friendly competition. Up to this point, Drake and Kendrick were on friendly terms, each having featured on each other’s tracks in the past. 

Fast forward to 2023. Drake and J. Cole release a track together called “First Person Shooter.” On J. Cole’s verse, he names himself, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar as the big three artists in current hip hop. 

About five months later, Kendrick did a feature on the Metro Boomin-produced track “Like That,” with the rapper Future. On that track, Kendrick said (paraphrasing) to forget the big three, he’s just big me, dismissing Cole and Drake as not on his level. 

Recently, however, the beef started to escalate this spring. Personal shots were taken by Drake with his release of the tracks “Push Ups” and “Taylor Made Freestyle.” The latter, aside from making claims that Kendrick was under the thumb of Taylor Swift, with whom he collaborated with on a remix of her song “Bad Blood,” also caused controversy due to its using AI to create verses in the voices of Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg. Many, including the estate of Tupac, found this very disrespectful of the late rapper, which resulted in Drake removing the track from streaming services. 

Kendrick then responded with two tracks of his own, “Euphoria” and “6:16 in LA.” The same day “6:16 in LA” was released (May 3rd), Drake responded with “Family Matters.” On this track, many serious allegations are made, including accusations of domestic abuse, claims that Kendrick is not an involved father, and even a claim that one of his children was actually fathered by someone else. 

Less than one hour after “Family Matters” dropped, Kendrick released “Meet the Grahams,” a scathing track aimed at various members of Drake’s family. Again, with this track, many serious allegations were made, including that Drake has a secret daughter he abandoned, that Drake has preyed upon and groomed minors, and that people around him may be involved in sex trafficking. The next day, Kendrick dropped another track called “Not Like Us,” making similar claims as in “Meet the Grahams.”  

As of this writing, the latest track released was on May 5th, which is Drake’s response track, “The Heart Part 6” (a play on a series of Kendrick Lamar tracks called The Heart Part 1-5). Drake spends much of this track denying the allegations thrown at him and claiming that his camp leaked false information about a secret child to Lamar to make him look foolish. It should be noted that none of the allegations by either camp have been verified.

This beef has served as a catalyst for both artists to produce high levels of their art, with quality tracks coming from both rappers. However, this feud has gone beyond the scope of proving who’s the better lyricist and has brought a number of weighty topics to the forefront of our current cultural consciousness. 

Accusations of grooming and trafficking are not topics to be taken lightly. A just and ethical society necessarily holds the protection of children in a pivotal place. We have seen the exposure of a number of predators amongst the famous in recent years. The extensiveness of despicable actions such as grooming, sexual abuse, and trafficking among some who run in the upper echelon of society has been exposed as an unfortunate reality (see the high profile cases of Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, and R. Kelly). Living in a post-#MeToo world has made these types of actions clearer in the public’s awareness and brought the hope that our society is changing to better hold those responsible to account. 

This growing awareness also applies to the seriousness of domestic violence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking. This, as well as other statistics provided by NCADV, paint a frightening picture. 

There is hope that, like the #MeToo movement’s attempts to address sexual misconduct, this growing awareness can help shape our world into a place where domestic abuse becomes less prevalent and, hopefully, becomes a thing of the past. 

Is there any truth to the claims being made by the two hip hop stars or are these accusations made just to tarnish each others’ reputations? Whatever the case, the types of issues brought up in the Drake-Kendrick beef are something their listeners and humanity at large must continue to wrestle with and combat in order to progress towards a safer and more virtuous world for all.


Disclaimer: The views presented in the Rehumanize Blog do not necessarily represent the views of all members, contributors, or donors. We exist to present a forum for discussion within the Consistent Life Ethic, to promote discourse and present an opportunity for peer review and dialogue.

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