Fam, hip hop just ain’t the same anymore.
Like everyone else who has an ear to the culture, I’ve been closely following the Drake and Meek Mill kerfuffle that has taken the internet by storm. Let’s admit it, during this time of the year there’s no basketball, football hasn’t started yet, and we need something to make memes about. 2015 was shaping up to have the driest summer in recent memory until Meek decided to open the floodgates and (attempt to) out the 6God.
On July 21st, in the year of our Lord 2015, Meek Mill took it upon himself to log onto his twitter, declare that Drake uses a ghostwriter, and proceed to press send. Instantaneously everyone’s timelines became lit with the fire of one thousand suns. The thought that Drake, the biggest rapper on the planet, didn’t write his own lyrics was impossible to fathom (lol). Yet as Meek continued his twitter stream of consciousness, we found out that the “R.I.C.O.” verse that Drake had given him, had allegedly been written by a young rapper by the name of Quentin Miller. Armed with concrete proof, Meek proceeded to state his case, drop the mic, and let the twittersphere burn in his wake. While this may not have been where the beef started between the two artists, it is quite clear that this is where they both reached the point of no return.
Beef has been a tricky subject during the social media era. While we may never see the likes of Nas attempting to hang Jay Z in effigy during his Summer Jam set again, we do deserve bars. No subliminal slights or hints, no funny Instagram memes or twitter barbs, and no apologies. For years rappers themselves have commented on how buddy-buddy the industry is. Everyone seems to be friends with everyone else, and while that is most likely a façade, we live in a generation where your personal brand is more important that your artistic integrity. Instead of throwing out a diss for sport or for blood, they put up an IG pic with an emoji. That’s weak.
We grew up with rappers who didn’t mind trading blows. Ice Cube with “No Vaseline,” Pac with “Hit ‘Em Up,” Biggie with “Warning,” Jay Z with “Takeover,” and Nas with “Ether” …the list goes on. We saw Fifty destroy Ja, and T.I. get into lyrical tussles with damn near every rapper in the South. This type of sparring pushed our favorite rappers’ creativity, and allowed the fans an opportunity to see their favorite rappers stretched to their respective limits. However, I believe that like most things, hip-hop goes through cycles, and we are entering into an era where rappers are more open to mixing it up with one another.
At this point in the Drake-Meek beef, Drake is far and away in the lead. This is not all too surprising since Drake is the more accomplished artist, and has cemented himself as one of the best rappers when it comes to creating singular moments in the game. Furthermore, he financially put himself in a place through partnerships with Apple Music, Jordan Brand, and the NBA to be a force to be reckoned with. That being said, I wasn’t surprised that “Charged Up” was released through his radio program on Apple Music, a platform where he can reach the people on his own without the assistance of FlailMaster Flex. While “Charged Up” wasn’t the strongest of diss tracks, it put the world on notice that Drake was very much aware with what was going on, and that he was prepared to take his grievances to the booth.
After “Charged Up” was released our attention swung over to the Dreamchaser while he headed to Toronto, the home of the very man that he was in contest with. That Monday we all waited… and waited… Meek said that he was in the booth, and Funkmaster Flex claimed that he was ready to drop the track, only to not release anything. This resulted in a slew of memes and tweets slandering Flex and Meek. They flooded the internet and were traded around in group chats worldwide. This misstep provided an opening for Drake, and he took it.
The next morning we all were treated to “Back to Back,” a diss in the more traditional sense. It’s on this track where Drake comes for Meek with heightened energy and penmanship. We finally got solid bars from Drizzy regarding Meek and not only did it further humiliate him, but it also made us all question the artist who was supposed to have gained his chops as a battle rapper in the mean streets of Philadelphia. Drake went at Meek’s manhood, his pride, and skills on the mic.
I have to admit, I thought Meek was remaining silent for so long to create the meanest, hardest diss to ever come out of the city of Philadelphia. Remember Beans and Freeway? Surely the new King of their turf wasn’t going to go out without a fight! We continued to wait until Thursday, and were once again forced to listen to Funkmaster Flex scream and holler for longer than I’d care to admit. Finally, we got “Wanna Know.” We were not impressed. At all. However, once I got a version without the Flex bombs, I began to change my perspective. Sure, the track wasn’t anything to get hype over, but the last half of the song was leading up to something. And for Meek’s sake, I hope that something is him rapping his life away in efforts to salvage some sense of dignity. Sidenote: the line about Drake getting peed on was so Ether-like, I had to laugh.
I’ve seen many count this match over, a sentiment I cannot share. There have been more reference tracks released, Drake has yet to openly discuss the ghostwriter accusations, and Meek still has one more shot to save himself. Yes, at every turn Drake has released the better content with pristine packaging, and has made the smarter political moves by also aligning himself with Charlamagne the God. However, we all thought the same of Nas when Jay Z released Takeover upon the streets of NY. So before we get caught up in the moment, let’s take the time to actually look at what’s going on, and make some more funny memes in the process.