Hip Hop as a culture, seems to use the nature of competition as a sport to fuel recognition and conversation. Believing in oneself being your greatest resource to your brand, it is natural for artists of any genre to claim the throne as their rightful seat. Throughout history, there have been a lot of hip-hop feuds, labeled as beef, where rivalries petition the throne as their own, causing debate and controversy portrayed in a back-and-forth fashion -meant to be all in good fun; later leading to the indignation of one or the other due to some ghastly remark. Next thing you know, there’s a real life issue where one side might take it a bit too far, and hate begins to spew.
OVO rapper, Drake has been mentioned in a number of rap beefs recently; with Common, with Tory Lanez, and the latest feud, between him and Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. While the beef with Common has already been settled, and as you might have heard – Drake squashed his squabble with Tory Lanez when he brought him out during his “2017 OVO Fest” and prior to that shared a photo over his social media of the two and a caption, “The city needs more of this and less of that. 6️⃣”. But the 6 God isn’t the only one out here involved in hip-hop discord, as rapper Kendrick Lamar has beef with seemingly everyone.
On August 13th 2013, Big Sean released a track with Kendrick Lamar as one of the features titled “Control”. On that song, K Dot’s verse called out anyone who was thought of as a top rapper and challenged them to be the best. “The Heart Part 4”, released earlier this year is another track where K Dot seems to be coming for somebody, rumored to be against Big Sean. “My fans can’t wait for me to son your punk ass and crush your whole lil shit/ I’ll Big Pun your punk ass you a scared lil bitch” Kendrick Lamar (The Heart part 4). – yikes,as the ending line of K Dot’s lyric seems to be a favorite ad lib of Sean’s (“lil bitch”), this is why the track is rumored to be directed towards Big Sean.
This new famed rap beef right now is brewing, and it’s because of Kendrick himself. After doing that, K Dot then spoke these words on the track, but in a way spectators would say he is mimicking Big Sean.” And when I get at you homie don’t you just tell me you was just playin ,’I was just playing K-Dot, c’mon you know a nigga rock with you bro.’” Dj Khaled even released a song with both Big Sean and K Dot on the track, where it is said to believe that the two were going at one another then. This clearly could go on and on, but maybe not – hoping it is all in good fun and not someone just seriously feeling themselves; therefore feeling the need to call the rest out – that’s where it can turn ugly.
What is the definition of a wack rap artist in today’s world of hip-hop, anyway? The definition can vary from person to person, but Kendrick Lamar has his own definition. K Dot explained what he thought a wack artist was on the 4th track of his third album “DAMN”, which is currently a success right now. When asked the question in a Rolling Stone interview, this is how he replied.
“I love that question. How would I define a wack artist? A wack artist uses other people’s music for their approval. We’re talking about someone that is scared to make their own voice, chases somebody else’s success and their thing, but runs away from their own thing. That’s what keeps the game watered-down. Everybody’s not going to be able to be a Kendrick Lamar. I’m not telling you to rap like me. Be you. Simple as that. I watch a lot of good artists go down like that because you’re so focused on what numbers this guy has done, and it dampers your own creativity. Which ultimately dampers the listener, because at the end of the day, it’s not for us. It’s for the person driving to their 9-to-5 that don’t feel like they wanna go to work that morning.” –Kendrick Lamar in Rolling Stones
The topic of ghostwriting was also brought up in the interview, where K Dot returned the following, “I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter. If you’re saying you’re a different type of artist and you don’t really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won’t be there”. This seems to be turning into an issue because now media sites are claiming that the Compton native MC was pointing fingers at October’s very own, Drake when making this comment. If you are a fan of hip hop on any level, one would know that Drake was called out by the Philadelphia rapper, Meek Mill for the very same thing. Meek had reasons to believe that when he collaborated on a song with Drake, that he recorded a verse that he did not write himself. In today’s hip-hop, there are many that would even argue Drake as being the best rapper alive.
Making a splash in other industry segments, the ghostwriting comment made by K Dot was also a topic of discussion in other interviews; that of Complex’s very own “Everyday Struggle” featuring Rich Homie Quan a little while back. The Atlanta rapper was asked what his thoughts of K Dot’s comment inferred of which he replied by saying, “Music is an art”. And yes, while that being so, it did not answer the question. As we know Leonardo Di Vinci to have painted the Mona Lisa, if history was to be wrong as we know it, and we were to learn that he in fact did not compose of the masterpiece himself, his credibility would be then nullified and whatever recognition stripped from him would be owed to the actual artist. Has the culture of Hip Hop changed that much? So much so that being authentic has nothing to do with authenticity anymore?
In contemporary hip-hop, “rap beef” is a big part of the culture now too and probably will be a part of it for a long time; used as a means to stir up meaningless controversy between artists in order to create some kind of bidding game upon the release of one or both of the opponents musical projects; “rap beef” can seem as a sort of scheme to help spike record sales numbers, or just keep associated names lingering. Artists like Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar, are a part of this new era of Hip hop, where the rap beef could also just be looked at as a means of competition to keep the crowd talking. But this K Dot coming for Drake thing, we can’t be too sure. K Dot was featured on a skit on Drake’s “Take Care” album back in 2011, that was Drake’s way of helping Kendrick get noticed, but ever since the “Control” verse, the Drake and Kendrick collabs have not transpired since.
With hip-hop still buzzing about Drake possibly having ghostwriters, is K Dot taking shots at OVO’s CEO? Setting some heads on fire, and throwing some subliminal shade this way and that way. Is Drake not so clever after all? Or is this just mere conversation put out there by the Compton rapper to further catapult him upward, knocking down any last one’s standing?