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Post Drake & Kendrick's Spring 2024 soundtrack: Y'all finished or Y'all done? What Y’all doing?



After a season that saw two of Hip-Hop’s biggest stars trade increasingly ugly accusations - it’s all but official.

 

But if Kendrick Lamar can be said to have won, where does his victory leave him at age 36, a decade and a half into a career about which he’s sometimes seemed ambivalent?

How does Drake’s defeat at 37 reshape the perception of invincibility he’s been building since the late 2000s?

And what does it all say about Hip-Hop at a moment when the genre’s commercial dominance appears to be slipping?

 

There’s no doubt that Kendrick versus Drake has been good for rap’s position in a crowded attention economy.

Countless stakeholders in the form have expressed anxiety lately regarding Hip-Hop’s slowing growth; for instance, only four rap LPs finished 2023 among the year’s 25 most-consumed albums (Hip-Hop was far outweighed on the list by pop and country).

Before “Like That” debuted atop Billboard’s Hot 100 and logged three straight weeks at No. 1, the last rap song to spend that long of an unbroken streak there was “Rockstar” by DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch way back in the summer of 2020.

Now, songs by Drake and Lamar occupy half of Spotify’s U.S. Top 10 and are widely expected to turn up in the upper reaches of the coming weeks Hot 100; not only that, but the beef put Hip-Hop back at the center of the pop-cultural conversation.

 

In all, Kendrick vs. Drake - the rap soundtrack of spring 2024 - brought forth 10 pieces of Generation Y art:

(1) - (Drake ft. J. Cole) "First Person Shooter" You can trace back to J. Cole’s verse in which he described himself, Drake and Lamar as “the big three” of modern Hip-Hop.); (2) - (Future & Metro Boomin ft. Kendrick Lamar) "Like That" with Kendrick's response toward First Person Shooter video, and reciting "Motherf* the big 3, it's just big me"; (3) - (Drake) "Push Ups"; (4) - (Drake) "Taylor Made Freestyle" which employed artificial intelligence to emulate the voices of Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg as Hip-Hop OGs goading Lamar into responding to Drake’s insults; (5) - (Kendrick Lamar) “Euphoria”; (6) - (Kendrick Lamar) "6:16 in LA"; (7) - (Drake) "Family Matters"; (8) - (Kendrick Lamar) "Meet the Grahams"; (9) - (Kendrick Lamar) "Not Like Us"; (10) - (Drake) "The Heart Part 6".

And it's extended to 12 tracks if you include the bonuses of Rick Ross's "Champagne Moments" and Metro Boomin's "BBL Drizzy" (refer to Drake's "Push Ups" shots).

 

Indeed, it says something that the biggest commercial smash to come out of this feud is almost certain to be a Lamar song ("Not Like Us"); rather than one by Drake, whose hitmaking instinct recently carried him past the Beatles as the act with the most Top 5 singles in Hot 100 history.

 

In a mind-share sense, at least, Kendrick versus Drake has also been a boon for the two men individually, both of whom have watched in recent years as they’ve been slowly (and naturally) pushed from Hip-Hop’s center by the generation coming up behind them.

Yet this fight made their work feel newly alive; it made you believe those legacies are still being written.

 

How, then, do Lamar and Drake move on from this? Do they make new work within the parameters of what we’ve learned about them? Or do they treat the beef as a kind of off-the-record exhibition game?

And what about the audience? Social media, where these diss tracks crash-landed into the discourse, has fundamentally changed the way we relate to pop stars; it’s what enabled the mindset by which fans feel as though they have a stake in their idols’ careers.

 

Kendrick versus Drake has offered up an abundance of lore to chew on, to get behind, to divvy up into shards of parasocial identity.

The problem with getting what you want, though, is that you might end up getting more.

 

• SOURCE: Where do Kendrick Lamar and Drake go from here? Los Angeles Times > https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2024-05-07/kendrick-lamar-drake-beef-careers-what-happens-next

 

*VIDEO: Kendrick Lamar Battles Drake on new song "Family Guys" (Kendrick and Drake have a phone call discussing their current beef). Crank Lucas > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb2lWgUQf0w

 

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