The Kendrick Lamar/Drake Beef, Explained


Aretha sings “Let me see you proooove it,” setting the tone for Drake’s angle here that Kendrick’s been hitting him with baseless accusations. “The Heart Part 6” is in full reaction mode to everything that’s transpired over the last three days, including direct rebuttals to Kendrick’s “Not Like Us;” it was clearly written in the last 24 hours. Drake sounds…a little over it all, while nevertheless still promising that shit is about to get dark. (This is now his second track in a row where he plainly states he’d rather be on vacation somewhere than holed up in cold Toronto writing disses.) Drake, buddy, domestic abuse and pedophilia accusations are in the air—we’ve been pitch black for the last few songs already.

You would think Drake would sound a little more celebratory than he does to start the song, where he takes a victory lap for allegedly going full Sydney Bristow and triple-crossing Kendrick into leaping on Fake Child Intel. “We plotted for a week and then we fed you the information…we thought about giving a fake name or a destination/but you so thirsty, you not concerned with investigation.” Who’s lying or who was fooled? Only the Pusha T Investigative Team can solve this.

Drake doesn’t dwell there, though, instead moving on to Kendrick’s family, doubling down on the two angles that formed the basis of “Family Matters”: that Kendrick has beaten his partner Whitney in the past, he’s estranged from their family, and one of his two kids is actually fathered by his friend and creative partner Dave Free. To drive this last point home, “The Heart Part 6” artwork is an Instagram screenshot of Dave leaving heart emojis under, presumably, a picture Whitney posted.

Continuing his through line of using Kendrick’s confessional raps on Mr. Morale as ammo, Drake refers back to “Mother I Sober,” the track where Kendrick unpacks his mother’s sexual abuse and how it informed an incident in his childhood where his mother was worried he was being abused by a family member even though Kendrick says he wasn’t. Dr. Drake’s read: He actually was molseted, and that’s why he’s so hell-bent on calling OVO “certified pedophiles.”

To hear Drake tell it, he’s “only fuckin with Whitneys, not Millie Bobby Browns, I’d never look twice at no teenager.” Elsewhere on the song, he says: “If I was fucking young girls, I promise I’d have been arrested/ I’m way too famous for this shit you just suggested.” Drake goes on to parrot a sentiment that’s been gaining popularity on social media for the last few days, that there’s an inherent hypocrisy to Kendrick going down this path of attack given that he famously protested Spotify’s brief removal of R. Kelly and XXXTentacion’s music as censorship that he could not support.

Drake ends the track with one last sick joke: “Whitney you can hit me if you need a favor/And when I say I’ll hit ya back, it’s a lot safer” before going full Mob boss mode on the outro with some tough talk. Most crucially, he tries to take the wind out of Kendrick’s inevitable response, wisecracking that Kendrick probably has “10 more records to drop.” Any minute now…

May 12: Beef over?

One of the “ten more” Kendrick records Drake snidely alluded to on “The Heart Part 6” never came; Drake’s defensive tenor on the track amidst the surging popularity of “Not Like Us” was enough for many rap fans, pundits and publications alike to declare Kendrick the winner. Now, a week later, Drake may not be conceding defeat technically but he’s apparently calling it quits.



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