The Drake Kendrick Beef Ends but Diss Tracks Remain Profitable

The Drake Kendrick Beef Ends but Diss Tracks Remain Profitable

The Drake-Kendrick beef has officially ended, but the diss tracks that emerged from their feud continue to be highly profitable. Kendrick Lamar emerged victorious, but the echoes of their rivalry still resonate. This feud has captivated many, while others remain indifferent. For those who can’t stop thinking about it, the question arises: why does it matter so much? Are we, perhaps, complicit in the very issues Kendrick and other artists highlight?

To the indifferent, this might seem like just another celebrity spat. It’s reminiscent of the “shut up and dribble” attitude we often direct at celebrities. We expect them to entertain us without involving their personal pride or politics. But do we really want them to revert to creating algorithmically-compliant music that merely serves to make record labels richer? This feud is about more than just personal pride; it’s a cultural reckoning.

Kendrick has accused Drake of making pop music, while Drake has accused Kendrick of being exploited by his record label. The irony is palpable. This isn’t just about dance hits; it’s about the deeper messages embedded in their music. Andre 3000 once highlighted this in Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” when he sang, “You don’t want to hear me, you just want to dance.” Ignoring the deeper messages in their music makes us complicit in the very issues they address.

Diss tracks, driven by pride and honor, offer a more compelling purpose for music than mere entertainment. This feud, rendered in musical form, is as close as we get to a real-life gang fight scene from West Side Story. One of Drake’s jabs was that Kendrick’s latest album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” didn’t top the charts. But Kendrick has always maintained that he doesn’t care about “pop” numbers. He aims to push the rap genre beyond its traditional themes of sex, drugs, and violence.

“Mr. Morale” is Kendrick’s most vulnerable and self-reflective album to date. It addresses topics like the acceptance of his transgender family members, his struggles with infidelity and sex addiction, and his reflections on toxic masculinity. The album’s depth is profound, with quotes from Eckhart Tolle about our conception of a human being. This isn’t just petty nonsense; it’s a rich, thought-provoking body of work.

Kendrick’s assertion that Drake exploits and profits off Black culture is an intellectually stimulating topic. In his diss tracks, Kendrick repeatedly criticizes Drake for inhabiting spaces he doesn’t understand. Drake’s biracial identity and his performance of American blackness are central to this critique. Kendrick argues that Drake’s ability to occupy both Black and White spaces makes him disingenuous in both.

Over the years, Drake has been labeled a “culture vulture” for good reason. He co-signs artists to socially profit by association and wedges his way into cultural circles. He adopts different accents to change our perception of who he is. Kendrick’s line in “euphoria” underscores this: “I hate when a rapper talk about guns, then somebody die, they turn into nuns,/Then hop online like ‘Pray for my city,’ he fakin’ for likes and digital hugs.”

This feud isn’t about who the best rapper is; it’s about authenticity and the extractive nature of capitalism. In “Not Like Us,” Kendrick explicitly details how Drake has exploited individuals for social profit. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of exploitation and cultural appropriation. This isn’t just celebrity gossip; it’s a rich, thought-provoking discourse on the nature of cultural exploitation.

For those deeply invested in this feud, it’s an opportunity to see beyond the surface. This isn’t just another gladiatorial sport where entertainers are dehumanized for our amusement. We need to think more deeply about what our attention signifies. J.Cole, who initially joined this feud, quickly exited and apologized, warning that we risk dehumanizing entertainers further.

This reminds me of Dave Chappelle stepping away from “The Chappelle Show” when he realized he was legitimizing blackface comedy for white audiences. His discomfort with the wrong kind of laughter made him take a step back. Similarly, Childish Gambino’s music video “Little Foot Big Foot” critiques the commodification of violence and trauma. The crowd only becomes invested when there’s violence, highlighting the exploitation of artists and Black culture.

Let’s not be here just to watch the violence; let’s listen to the voices. I’m Team Kendrick, and I hope he knows that his more vulnerable topics are being respected, not just his dance hits. The last thing we want is for Kendrick to resign to expressing his feelings through less impactful means. This feud has made me more critical of cultural exploitations and more attentive to the deeper messages in music.

In the end, my biggest takeaway is this: Stop dancing and listen.

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