We have receipts though.
On March 30, 2017, Kendrick released the first single from DAMN, titled “HUMBLE.” A week later, the LP title and track listing was revealed along with the iTunes pre-order. The album leaked hours before the official with slight differences in the album. DAMN is Kendrick’s first album since 2015’s To Pimp A Butterfly. In between the albums, Kendrick released the 8 track EP untitled unmastered. Kendrick addressed Drake on two of the songs, “Element” and “Pride”. But, before we dive into the passive aggressive raps, lets dissect the pivotal moments that got us here.
For starters, it’s been brewing for years, but hasn’t materialized into a full-blown war that I’m confident will be as epic as Nas and Jay Z finally going toe to toe. This all started back in August 2013 on the “Control” record when Kendrick called out various artists and put them on notice that he’s the king on both coasts. One of the artists mentioned in the track was Drake which didn’t sit well with the Canadian rapper. Drake ultimately expressed his disdain for the verse with the press which led to Kendrick Lamar taking another shot at the BET Awards Cypher. K Dot made sure there was no ambiguity in his verse by referencing Drake’s Nothing Was the Same album by name.
Yet, Drake continues to diverge any direct contact with Kendrick Lamar on wax. All aficionados of Hip-Hop can contest that shots have been fired at Drizzy for years by Kendrick with no real response. Even on the most recent Drake release, More Life, he poked more fun on his recent victory over Meek Mill instead of addressing K Dot.
In his era, Drake has been one of the most calculated rappers and goes above and beyond by transforming lyrics into real life scenarios. We saw this masterfully played out with Meek Mill memes on stage and Charlamagne Tha God receiving gold bottles at the Power 105 station – all things referenced by Drake in his diss track “Back to Back”. Yet how long can Drake rationalize not responding to Kendrick Lamar? Early on in his career, Drake rationalized his “no response” rule by positioning himself as the bigger guy. He rhymed, “Somehow I always rise above it, Why you think I got my head in the clouds on my last album cover?”
Not to instigate buuuut Drake even copped a plea back in August 2014, at an OVO Fest performance in Compton, California, home of K. Dot when he shouted out Kendrick, knowing their relationship was strained.
“Last time, I ain’t give a fuck, I still feel the same now/ My feelings might go numb, you’re dealing with cold thumb/ I’m willing to give up a leg and arm and show empathy from/ Pity parties and functions and you and yours.” – Kendrick Lamar #Pride
“I got them by a landslide if we talking races” – Kendrick Lamar #Element
“If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I’mma make it look sexy/ If I gotta go hard on a bitch, I’mma make it look sexy/ I pull up, hop out, air out, made it look sexy/ They won’t take me out my element/ Nah, take me out my element”. – Kendrick Lamar #Element
If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I’ma make it look sexy It’s the one and only, the world’s greatest, the Kid Capri.” – Kendrick Lamar #Element