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Opinion: Unpacking the greatest week in Hip Hop: Drake vs. Kendrick Lamar

Graphic image displays some of the dis-tracks Kendrick Lamar and Drake have written about eachother. Since 2013, the two have been in conflict, but recently began their newest ‘rap battle’ November 2023 continuing into May 2024. (Graphic image by Lola Thomas)

Editor’s Note: This article features songs that may not be appropriate for younger audiences, as it contains explicit language.

For those in the hip hop community (or those who have not been living under a rock), the first couple days of May have been nothing short of chaos, insults and most importantly, rap.

Rappers Drake and Kendrick Lamar have been trading diss tracks beginning in 2013, but their beef became more prevalent this year, amid the release of “First Person Shooter,” by Drake and J. Cole. J. Cole and Drake claimed that they, along with Kendrick, are the “big three” in the rap industry. Soon after, Lamar clapped back in “Like That,” a collaboration with Future and Metro Boomin, where he suggests that he is a better rapper than Drake and J. Cole, saying that it’s “just big me.” From there, a feud began.

All that has been talked about is how surprising and new the beef is — almost every headline implies that this is completely anomalous. Although it seems this conflict is being presented as avant-garde,  Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls were pioneers in the vigorous “rap battle” phenomenon. Though the two were collaborators early in their careers, Tupac’s famous disses, such as “Against All Odds” and “Hit ‘Em Up” sparked controversy between the two. Fans even separated themselves into teams: West Coast for Tupac and East Coast for Biggie. Drake went so far as to compare himself and Lamar to the pair in “Taylor Made.” Since the 90’s, rap battles between two superstars have rocked the country.

Similar to West Coast vs. East Coast, a similar question is now being raised: “Kendrick vs. Drake?”

The answer is obvious: Kendrick Lamar.

From his brilliant wordplay to his catchy vocal inflections, Lamar has shaped modern Hip Hop culture in America — outdoing Drake every time he releases a new track.

To make this more evident, here is an infographic that displays the timeline of this infamous rap beef:

In summary, Lamar undoubtedly beat Drake in this battle. Each track was specifically directed at Drake’s character, past behavior and his music, in contrast with Drake’s immature disses, disrupting a conversation about cultural standing to a song centered around “size 7 shoes.” Lamar understood the assignment and executed it flawlessly — leaving him victorious in this electrifying rap battle.

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About the Contributor
Lola Thomas
Lola Thomas, Senior Reporter
Lola Thomas joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She is a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team, serves on the Black Student Union Board, and is a member of the Unaccompanied Minors. You can find her listening to music, hanging out with her friends, and playing with her puppy in her free time.

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