Drake can’t lose the Kendrick battle. He also can’t win it

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How Drake's lyrics on his album "For All the Dogs' inspired the lastest social media trend (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
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OPINION: Drake is pop. What does losing a battle even mean to him?

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Suddenly, it seems like everybody hates Drake. Kendrick Lamar just unloaded on him with ill verses on his hot new song “Like That.” Kendrick’s verse is one of the great battle verses in hip-hop history, and people are talking about how great it is. The record was produced by Future and Metro Boomin so they’re hating on him, too. Mos Def recently dissed him. Megan Thee Stallion is surely offended by his continued support for Tory Lanez. Kanye got beef with him. Pusha T had beef with him, too. Rick Ross had an issue with him. Meek Mill had an issue with him. And there’s a host of rappers who don’t like him. Damn, is it all about Drake?

On “Like That,” Kendrick focused a lot more on Drake than on J. Cole. There are multiple dog references, all of which play off of the title of Drake’s last album, “For All the Dogs.” (That album was mid.) And when Kendrick talks about Prince outdoing Michael Jackson, he’s referencing Drake likening himself to MJ because of their success on the Billboard charts. Drake is the main villain in Kendrick’s verbal assault.

It would be better for Drake, and for everyone, if Drake did not respond. He’s not at Kendrick’s level as a writer or in the booth. Kendrick is one of the greatest MCs alive. Any response would make that clear and invite an even more powerful retort from Kendrick. You don’t want that smoke, Aubrey.

Drake is unquestionably more popular, but artistically he and Kendrick are in different worlds. They are at two different levels of MC capability. Only one of them has a Pulitzer.

Also, they’re two different spirits as artists. Kendrick is a hypersmart wordsmith from Compton. You feel the warrior spirit in his music. Drake is a brooding playboy from Canada who’s had his heart broken by so many women. He makes catchy pop music that lots of people love. But he’s not a battle MC. It’s just not who he is.

That said, Drake can’t really lose in this battle. For sure he can’t win any more than you could win a game of one-on-one against an NBA player. It’s two entirely different levels of skill. Kendrick is far superior as an artist.

However, being in the proverbial conversation with Kendrick and being attacked by him elevates Drake. He’s someone Kendrick saw as worthy of battling.

It confirms once again that in modern hip-hop, Drake is the main character. If hip-hop was high school, he would be the most popular kid. If hip-hop was a movie, it would revolve around him.

Also, because Drake is pop, it doesn’t matter if he loses this battle. He’s so big, the loss would bounce off of him like a bullet bouncing off of T’Challa. He wouldn’t lose any fans.

Drake has already lost in a significantly embarrassing public battle. Pusha T dissed him savagely in “The Story of Adidon,” part of an ongoing war of records between them. Drake did not fire back after “Adidon,” a song that revealed that he had a son. Most fans judged Drake to have lost.

But the funny thing is, the loss just faded away, and Drake’s career continued like nothing happened. Well, he did change in that he started bringing his son, Adonis, out in public. It was nice to see him out with his cute, young son.

But because Drake is such a pop superstar, losing a hip-hop battle doesn’t affect him. And when we see him lose battles and continue moving ahead, we see how big he really is.

Touré, theGrio.com
Touré, theGrio.com

Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.

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The post Drake can’t lose the Kendrick battle. He also can’t win it appeared first on TheGrio.