Kendrick Lamar and Drake's Beef, Explained

Drake; Kendrick Lamar Credit - Getty Images (2)

The long-simmering beef between Kendrick Lamar and Drake has exploded in recent days as the rappers repeatedly lobbed insults and allegations about one another’s families and personal lives in a series of escalating diss tracks that has also invoked other hip-hop greats, including Metro Boomin and DJ Mustard.

The feud, in which each rapper has made numerous unverified allegations, prompted Drake to respond in a song on Sunday that he’s “disgusted” by Lamar’s claims about him, including that he has a secret child and engages in sex with underage girls, which he denies.

In “The Heart Part 6”—a title that references Lamar’s “The Heart” song series—Drake said he would have “been arrested” were there any truth to the allegations about him having inappropriate relationships with underage girls. The 37-year-old Canadian rapper, who has a 6-year-old son, also suggested that he leaked false information about having a daughter to Lamar, singing: “We plotted for a week and then we fed you the information/ A daughter that’s eleven years old, I bet he takes it.”

The fight between the two men reached its climax (at least, to date) over the weekend, resulting in the release of multiple songs by and featuring the two artists. While their tense relationship dates back years, the origins of this most recent dispute can be traced to Drake’s song “First Person Shooter,” which was released as part of his album, For All the Dogs, last October. During that track, featured guest J. Cole called himself, Drake, and Lamar the “big three.” When Lamar was featured on Future’s “Like That” on March 22, he ripped into Cole and Drake for suggesting they are on the same level.

Read More: Why Drake Had to Take Down His Song That Featured AI-Tupac Vocals

The ensuing drama has brought forward serious, unverified claims, and shows no signs of slowing down. It is the latest chapter in a long tradition of rap feuds that has seen rivalries between the likes of Jay-Z and Nas and Tupac and Biggie.

Here’s a recent timeline of the beef between Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

The backstory and "First Person Shooter”

Both rappers achieved mainstream fame at around the same time in the early 2010s. They’ve worked together in the past; on Drake’s 2011 album, Take Care, Lamar is featured on an interlude, and Lamar had Drake on his second studio album, 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, on the song “Poetic Justice.”

The first sign of trouble seems to have cropped up around 2013, when Lamar appeared on Big Sean’s “Control.” Lamar called out Drake and several other rappers on the song, but Drake didn’t engage at first, suggesting in interviews at the time that he was not going to take the bait.

Instead, Drake's beef with Meek Mill in 2015 consumed much of his time, and later, in 2018, he got into it with Pusha T, who revealed that Drake was hiding a secret baby in the song “The Story of Adidon”—which Drake later admitted was true.

It wasn’t until “First Person Shooter” came out last year that Drake reopened the conflict with Lamar, intentionally or not, after Cole referred to himself, Drake, and Lamar as the “Big Three.”

Kendrick’s featured verse on “Like That” 

Lamar, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his album DAMN., took offense to the idea that he and Drake are on the same skill level. The standout line in Future’s song “Like That,” which is produced by Metro Boomin, is, “Motherf-ck the big three, it’s just big me.”

He also refers to Drake’s most recent album, For All The Dogs, rapping, “‘Fore all your dogs gettin' buried/ That's a K with all these nines, he gon' see Pet Sematary.”

J. Cole enters the beef with “7-Minute Drill,” but quickly bows out

Shortly after “Like That” came out, Cole released a surprise album called Might Delete Later, and one of the songs, “7 Minute Drill,” includes a diss directed at Lamar.

In it, he raps, “Your first sh-t was classic, your last sh-t was tragic/ Your second sh-t put n----s to sleep, but they gassed it/ Your third sh-t was massive, and that was your prime,” a line that many listeners took issue with because Cole suggests that To Pimp a Butterfly (an album widely regarded as Lamar’s best) was boring. He says in the song that people don’t care about Lamar, rapping, “He averagin’ one hard verse like every thirty months or somethin’/ If he wasn’t dissin’, then we wouldn’t be discussin’ him.”

However, Cole then decided to distance himself from the beef. He later said that the song “didn’t sit right with his spirit” and removed it from streaming services on April 12, saying his actions are some of the “lamest, goofiest sh-t” he’s participated in.

Drake tells Lamar he needs to do some “Push Ups”

Rap fans waited with bated breath for Drake’s response, and he returned to the beef with not one song, but two, “Push Ups” and “Taylor Made Freestyle,” released on April 19. The Toronto rapper attempts to put Lamar in his place, calling him a “pipsqueak” and rapping, “How the f-ck you big steppin’ with a size-seven men’s on?” Drake also attempts to make fun of Lamar for doing features on pop songs. “Maroon 5 need a verse, you better make it witty/ Then we need a verse for the Swifties," he raps on “Push Ups,” referring to the 2015 remix of Swift’s “Bad Blood” and “Don’t Wanna Know” with Maroon 5 the following year.

But Lamar isn’t the only person called out on this record. Drake also dissed Future, The Weeknd, Rick Ross, NBA player Ja Morant, Metro Boomin, and Cole on the song.

“Taylor Made Freestyle,” AI Tupac and Snoop Dogg

Following “Push Ups,” Drake briefly released “Taylor Made Freestyle,” sharing the song in a now-deleted Instagram post on April 19 with the caption: “While we wait on you, I guess.” In the song, Drake alleged Lamar did not release a response to his diss track because Taylor Swift had just put out her latest album The Tortured Poets Department. “Now we gotta wait a f-cking week 'cause Taylor Swift is your new top, and if you boutta drop, she gotta approve,” rapped Drake.

Read More: How AI is Wreaking Havoc on the Fanbases of Taylor Swift, Drake, and Other Pop Stars

But the track was short-lived after Drake was served a cease-and-desist letter from Tupac Shakur’s estate for using AI-generated vocals from the rap legend, who died in 1996. Drake was then forced to remove “Taylor Made Freestyle” from all public platforms. The estate said they would have never approved of using Shakur’s voice for the track.

The song also featured AI vocals from Snoop Dogg, who joked about it on Instagram.

Lamar’s scathing response “Euphoria”

Lamar returned on April 30 with the hostile response “Euphoria,” full of double entendres and deep cuts. The title seems to reference the HBO show of the same name, on which Drake is an executive producer. The song starts with a sample of Richard Pryor from The Wiz saying, “Everything they say about me is true, I’m a phony.”

Lamar then starts shooting off diss after diss after diss. “Fabricatin' stories on the family front 'cause you heard Mr. Morale/ A pathetic master manipulator, I can smell the tales on you now/ You'rе not a rap artist, you a scam artist with the hopes of being accеpted,” he raps. “Tommy Hilfiger stood out, but FUBU never had been your collection,” taking aim at Drake’s biracial identity.

He goes on to call himself “the biggest hater” before unleashing a tirade on the song, “I hate the way that you walk, the way that you talk/ I hate the way that you dress/ I hate the way that you sneak dissing/ If I flight it’s gonna be direct/ We hate the b-tches you f–ck because they confuse themselves with real women.” He ends the song by saying he doesn’t like how Drake says the N-word and suggests he no longer say it.

“6:16 in LA” and the multiple meanings behind the title

Lamar dropped a second song in the same week he released “Euphoria,” with multiple possible meanings behind the cryptic title. He released “6:16 in LA” as an Instagram Reel on his page on Friday. The cover art for the song features a single black glove, seemingly a nod to the O.J. Simpson trial—which began on June 16, 1995. Tupac’s birthday is also on June 16, as is Father’s Day this year. It's also the day the television show Euphoria dropped its first episode. There is also a Bible verse, Corinthians 6:16, that could be read as a dig at Drake’s alleged taste in women: “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’”

One of the most surprising aspects about the song was the inclusion of Jack Antonoff’s name on the producer credits. The Bleachers frontman is known for working closely with Taylor Swift and hasn’t previously been publicly involved in this rap feud. Lamar digs further into Drake to suggest that the Toronto rapper might have moles on his team, feeding him information.

“Family Matters”

Drake responded to Lamar by questioning the true father of Lamar’s child with fiancé Whitney Alford, and possibly alleging that Lamar is unfaithful and physically abusive in his current relationship in “Family Matters.” “You the Black messiah wifin' up a mixed queen. And hit vanilla cream to help out with your self-esteem,” Drake raps on the track released on May 3. (Lamar has not directly addressed these claims, although he did say in his response track “Meet the Grahams,” “This supposed to be a good exhibition within the game/ But you fucked up the moment you called out my family's name/ Why you had to stoop so low to discredit some decent people?”)

Later in that verse, Drake specifically names Dave Free, a record executive who works as Lamar’s manager, saying, “I heard that one of 'em little kids might be Dave Free.” Drake also called Lamar and his body of work, which often addresses racism, inauthentic, saying, “Always rappin’ like you ‘bout to get the slaves freed/ You justin actin’ like an activist, it’s make-believe.”

The music video shows the destruction of a van used in the 2012 album cover of Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. As of Monday morning, the track is #1 on “trending for music” on YouTube.

“Meet the Grahams”

Less than an hour after Drake released “Family Matters,” Lamar put out “Meet the Grahams.” The track is arguably the most aggressive of songs released in the past few months, and starts with Lamar apologizing to Drake’s son for having him as a father. Lamar then goes on to claim without evidence that Drake takes Ozempic, and used photos of medication with Drake’s legal name, Audrey Drake Graham, on it, as the cover art for the song. (The images have not been verified as legitimate.) He alludes to gossip that Drake has had a Brazilian butt lift (a rumor—which Drake has not directly responded to—that prompted Rick Ross to coin the nickname “BBL Drizzy”), and even mentions the way that Drake hid his son from the public eye. “Don't be ashamed 'bout who you wit', that's how he treat your moms. Don't have a kid to hide, a kid to hide again,” Lamar raps.

In the second verse, Lamar makes severe implications about Drake by comparing him to Hollywood sex offender Harvey Weinstein, saying, “Him and Weinstein should get fucked up in a cell for the rest they life.” (Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction was recently overturned in New York, which has opened a new chapter in his case.)

Lamar dedicates the third verse to Drake’s daughter, claiming that Drake is “not active” in her life and calling him a “narcissist, misogynist.” Drake denied claims he has a daughter on his Instagram story on Saturday.

“Not Like Us”

Lamar doubled down on his allegations against Drake, releasing another four-and-a-half-minute track not even a full 24 hours later on Saturday evening. The cover art is allegedly a photo of Drake’s mansion in Toronto with red markers that seem similar to the ones used to mark homes where sex offenders reside. “Say, Drake, I hear you like 'em young,” Lamar rapped.

He also says that Drake is not a “colleague” but a “colonizer.”

Lamar also called out Drake for using Tupac’s AI voice: “You think the Bay gon' let you disrespect Pac, n---a? I think that Oakland show gon' be your last stop.”

Metro Boomin’s “BBL Drizzy” 

Metro Boomin—one of the producers on “Like That”—put his foot in the game when he shared a post on X about a “BBL Drizzy Beat Giveaway” on May 5. The rapper encouraged fans to rap over the beat, which looks to be a sample of a parody song written by comedian and AI storyteller King Willonious, according to Complex.

Drake mentioned Metro Boomin by his legal name in “Family Matters,” calling him “lame” and also alleging that he influenced disagreements between Drake and Future.

Drake commented on an Instagram post sharing one of Metro Boomin’s tweets about him writing, “you just cheffed a beat about my a-s?”

“The Heart Part 6”

The most recent response to the beef came on Sunday night, when Drake released “The Heart Part 6.” In a post to X, he wrote, “And we know you’re dropping [six] minutes after, so instead of posting my address, you have a lot to address.” He denies the allegations that Lamar lobbed at him, saying he purposefully fed Lamar fake information to see if he’d fall for it and tells him that he should get better at fact-checking. Drake called this beef a “good exercise” and laughed it off, suggesting that Lamar would be a “worthy competitor if [he] was really a predator.”

Drake also directly mentioned Stranger Things actor Millie Bobby Brown, saying that he “Only fuckin' with Whitneys, not Millie Bobby Browns, I'd never look twice at no teenager.” This marks at least the second time Drake has responded to online criticism about his friendship with the actress, whom he first met when she was a young teen. Drake previously addressed comments about her in his song “Another Late Night.”

The Drake vs. Kendrick Lamar beef seems to have no end in sight as the two continue to trade disses with ever-increasing severity in the allegations made towards each other.

Write to Moises Mendez II at