Lining Up Drake’s Next Opponent
Drake is currently sitting comfortably at hip-hop’s throne. Like many that wore the crown before him — Lil Wayne, Kanye West, 50 Cent, and Jay-Z just to name a few — he believes he is his only opponent. He has no problem saying he’s the best as you hear him verbally pound his chest on tracks like “Grammys”, “Summer Sixteen” and most recently “No Shopping”.
A true king is one that is able to defend his crown. We are in year seven of the Drake era and currently at the zenith. Thus far only small timers (in the grand scheme of the game) Meek Mill, Tyga, and Joe Budden have publicly come at him.
At some point a more established name is going to come for the crown. At some point Drake will have to defend it. If he truly wants to make the leap from a rap king to a rap deity defending his crown is one of the core requirements. Many names have held the throne, but only a handful have made the leap to immortality — Jay-Z, Eminem, 2Pac, Biggie, and Nas — while others have come close — 50 Cent — but were not able to make the leap.
Continuing the historic run of number one records is one way for Drake to leaving a lasting imprint. But to truly win over the hip-hop purists who eliminated him from top five consideration due to ghostwriting allegations Drake is going to have to lock horns with a fellow heavyweight. You cannot argue the star power and ability to crank out hits. As for lyricism? That is his perceived Achilles heel.
No disrespect to Budden, Meek, or Tory Lanez (and all disrespect to trash Tyga) but you guys are not on the same level. Even if they win the small battle Drake still wins the war. Drake will make the better songs that will get radio spins while diss records toward him eke out Soundcloud plays for a week then fall into the cyber abyss.
It is clear Drake is ready for a real challenge. He finally went at Funk Flex and the ghost of Hot 97 at his Madison Square Garden debut after ignoring the station for the better part of seven years. Beefing with a senior citizen is not going to get Drake the seal of approval, but calling out Flex and Hot 97 shows that the 6 God is done playing the game. He wants to let it be known this game is now his.
To successfully claim this era he needs to find his perfect rival. It can’t be just any artist. He needs to come at someone that wants the throne or has already occupied the throne. With that in mind here are Drake’s options.
Styles make fights and this would be a blockbuster. Kendrick is the superior lyricist and Drake is the superior hit maker. This would our generation’s Pac versus Biggie from a star power standpoint. While no lives would be lost someone’s career could take a fall.
Just thinking about the sheer volume of great music this beef could inspire should make you want this to happen. These two seem to be on good terms at the moment, but even Stevie Wonder can see there is still tension there.
These two have exchanged jabs before. Kendrick kicked it off with naming Drake by name on“Control” and subliminally on“Jealous”, his BET Awards cypher, and allegedly “King Kunta”. Drake countered with subliminal jabs on “The Language” and has thrown shots like calling K. Dot’s shot on “Control” an ‘ambitious thought’ in interviews. It would not take much to get these two started so what is stopping Drake from kicking off the most entertaining beef?
For one, as mentioned earlier, Kendrick is the superior MC. Drake would no doubt make the diss tracks we bump in the whip or at the club, but Kendrick would slit his throat with sharper lyrics. Drake would have to dig deep into the history of Jay-Z vs. Nas and implement a similar game plan Jay used to slay Nas. It has been a while since Kendrick has dropped the robot voice or jazz fusion rap flow, but if anyone could wake him from that slumber it would be Drizzy. This has to happen at some point so why not now.
The first law states to never outshine the master. Apparently Drake doesn’t give a fuck. Following his Take Care run Drake has slowly merged from the R&B mixed with the rap lane onto Jay-Z’s braggadocios rap lane. He has saved all the lovey dovey stuff for the R&B songs, but has cut down on the introspective rhyming. When you listen to Nothing Was The Same, IYRTITL, WATTBA, and Views you notice he has shifted to a braggadocios rhyming style, a style perfected by Jay.
Drake has made it no secret that he idolizes Jay, but your idol is only an idol until he becomes your rival. For as many great songs these two have collaborated on — “Off That”, “Light Up”, “Pound Cake” — they have also exchanged a surprising amount of slights.
Jay has never fully acknowledged Drake as a peer. In typical Jay fashion he has never come out and said he and Drake are on two different levels. But you can read between the lines.
In an interview with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson Jay called Drake the ‘Kobe of hip-hop’. No harm, no foul right? Well if you are a true Jay-Z fan you know that he loves to (rightfully) anoint himself the Michael Jordan of hip-hop. For you non-sports fans reading Kobe is known for using all of Jordan’s moves.
Don’t think Drake hasn’t noticed. He has fired some subs back. He has called Jay’s art references corny. He questioned how Jay and Kanye came up with the idea for a joint album (something Drake and Lil Wayne talked about prior to Watch The Throne being released). On “Draft Day” he spits, Just hits, no misses, that’s for the married folk, playing off the Jay’s “We Made It” freestyle slight where he refers to Drake as Mrs. Drizzy.
Most recently it seems like the two are closer than ever to throw down. On “Summer Sixteen” Drake spits, I used to want to be on Roc-A-Fella then I turned into Jay, in which Jay quickly responded Til you on your own you can’t be free, Til you on your own you can’t be me, on DJ Khaled’s “I Got The Keys”. With Jay reportedly working on new music and coming off his best verse in quite some time it looks like he is waiting at heaven’s gate to see if Drake belongs.
Yeah, this makes no sense. When gossip of Eminem and Drake going at each other surfaced I found it funny. For one Eminem has been inactive for a couple of years. Secondly, there is no reason for these two to beef unless Joe Budden is a higher priority on Shady Records than we have been led on to believe.
While Drake is allegedly ready for the challenge and taking down a legend like Eminem would catapult him into the top three of all time just know this. The only rappers to come at Slim Shady are Ja Rule and this poor soul Papa Doc:
Papa Doc has since changed his name to Anthony Mackie and built himself a solid acting career. Ja Rule has resurfaced in recent years, but he was never the same. This beef is a high risk, low reward for Drake and he has already proven to be wiser beyond his years so don’t hold your breath for this one.
Published on Fly Little Things 8.5.16