Ice Cube Says He 'Approves' of Drake and Kendrick Lamar's Rap Beef — as 'Long as It Doesn't Get Physical'

"The minute it get violent, it ain't rap no more," the star told Shaquille O'Neal on ‘The Big Podcast with Shaq’

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage; Santiago Felipe/Getty; Frazer Harrison/Getty</p> Drake; Ice Cube; Kendrick Lamar

Karwai Tang/WireImage; Santiago Felipe/Getty; Frazer Harrison/Getty

Drake; Ice Cube; Kendrick Lamar

Ice Cube is giving his two cents on the beef that has dominated hip-hop news this year.

The headline-making feud between Drake and Kendrick Lamar — which began last fall and has since inspired commentary from rap legends like Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg — is a good thing, the rapper and actor, 55, said. Well, on one condition.

While appearing on The Big Podcast with Shaq on June 12, host Shaquille O'Neal asked the Friday star — who is no stranger to diss tracks — for his take on the rappers’ quarrel, and he said, “I approve of the beef.”

“I always approve of rap battles. That’s the essence of the game,” he said, noting that the practice “goes back to Busy Bee and Kool Moe D, and even further than that.”

Related: Chet Hanks Explains Drake and Kendrick Lamar Beef to Dad Tom Hanks: 'Holy Cow!'

Beef between artists (and record labels, like Ruthless Records, who Ice Cube famously dissed in 1991 track “No Vaseline”) is just “part of the game,” the star reiterated — so long as it stays online and in the music.

"As long as it doesn’t get physical, ‘cause that’s not rap. When it get physical, that’s just street crime,” Ice Cube said. “So as long as it stay on wax, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Related: Questlove Blasts Drake and Kendrick Lamar for 'Mudslinging' in Vicious Rap Beef: 'Hip-Hop Truly Is Dead'

As for his take on the actual words exchanged by the artists, the “It Was a Good Day” rapper says Lamar, 37, is winning the lyrical war over Drake, 37.

“I think Kendrick is up, I think he’s landed the more hard and effective punches, so to speak,” the rapper said. But he doesn’t think Drake has been defeated just yet.

<p>Tasos Katopodis/Getty</p> Ice Cube in Arlington, Virginia in August 2023

Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Ice Cube in Arlington, Virginia in August 2023

Putting himself in the To Pimp a Butterfly artist’s shoes, the rapper added, “If I was Kendrick, I’d stay cocked and loaded, you know, ready for whatever’s coming.”

Wrapping up his take, Ice Cube said, “But it’s interesting. To me, it always pumps energy into the music, ‘cause it takes it back to the essence and so, long as it don’t get violent it’s fun.”

“The minute it get violent, it ain’t rap no more,” he added.

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Last month, as Drake and Lamar’s public back-and-forth slowed, another hip-hop icon, Snoop, also weighed in on the feud while chatting with Entertainment Tonight.

"Well, the only thing I want to say about that whole scenario is that I want to give both of them a shout-out for raising the bar as far as lyrics, as far as song-making and writing,” the rapper said, “because the writing has been upped since the confrontation or whatever you call it, whatever they went through.”

"Those are my nephews. I'm not in the middle of it,” Snoop said, noting that he supports both of the musicians. “That's personal business, not my business."

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