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 or R&B artists (Chris Brown) have publicly come at him.
At some point one of the more equipped names is going to have to come for the throne. At some point Drake has to try and make the leap from a rap king to a rap deity. That leap has only been successfully made by a handful of artists—Jay-Z, Eminem, 2Pac, Biggie, and Nas—while others have come close, but were not able to make the leap. What is the best way to make that leap?
Continuing the historic run of number one records is one way. But to truly win over the hip-hop purists Drake is going to have to lock horns with a fellow heavyweight. You cannot argue his star power and ability to make hits. His one perceived Achilles heel is straight lyricism.
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 out-spit him Drake will make the better songs that will get radio spins while their diss records eke out Soundcloud plays. It is clear that Drake is ready to throw down.
He went at Funk Flex and the ghost of Hot 97 at his Madison Square Garden debut, but that’s not a fair fight. You can’t kill something that is already dead. He needs to come at someone that wants the throne or is already been at the throne. With that in mind here are the only beefs that can put Drake over the top.
This would be the modern day version of Pac versus Biggie from a star power standpoint. There will definitely not be any physical action in this beef, but the verbal haymakers could be endless. 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 for now, but even Stevie Wonder can see there is tension there.
The two have exchanged jabs before. Kendrick on “Control”, “Jealous”, his BET Awards cypher, and allegedly “King Kunta”. Drake countered with jabs on “The Language” and has thrown shots like calling K. Dot’s shot on “Control” an ‘ambitious thought‘. It would not take much to get these two started so what is stopping Drake from kicking off the most entertaining beef?
For one Kendrick is the superior MC. Drake would no doubt make the diss tracks we can 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. 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 on to Jay-Z’s lane. He has saved all the lovey dovey stuff for the R&B songs and has cut down considerably on the introspective rhyming. When you listen to Nothing Was The Same, IYRTITL, WATTBA, and Views you notice he has shifted to braggadocios rhyming. That lane was perfected by Hov and still run by Hov.
Drake has made it no secret that he idolizes Hov, but you idol remains your idol until he becomes your rival. For as much fire as these two have collaborated on—“Off That”, “Light Up”, “Pound Cake”—they have also exchanged a surprising amount of slights.
Hov has never fully acknowledged Drake as a peer. In typical Hov fashion he has never come out and said he and Drake are on two different levels, but you can read between the subliminal 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 respectfully stealing 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 he and Kanye came up with the idea for a joint album (something Drake and Lil Wayne talked about prior to Watch The Throne). On “Draft Day” he spits “Just hits, no misses, that’s for the married folk,” playing off the Hov’s “We Made It” freestyle slight where he refers to Drake as Mrs. Drizzy.
Most recently it seems like the two might be ready 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 Hov 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 Em are Ja Rule and this poor soul:
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.