Drake vs Kendrick Lamar: Beef Timeline

Kendrick Lamar fired more shots at Drake on Dr. Dre's Compton

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There’s a beef brewing in hip-hop right now. It’s been brewing for years, but hasn’t materialized into a full-blown war. I’m talking about the growing tension between two reigning kings of rap: Drake and Kendrick Lamar. Love them or hate them, these two are the leaders of the new school--the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of modern rap.

Drake is one of the most calculated rappers of his era. He ignored countless disses from superior peers. But when Meek Mill tweeted out the name of his alleged ghostwriter/cowriter, he unleashed the venom on Meek. As I wrote earlier, Drake’s response to Meek was strategic. He was confident he could destroy him.

Evidently, Meek Mill responded with a tame diss before throwing in the towel. By deleting "Wanna Know" from his Soundcloud page, Meek proved what everyone was thinking: Drake knew the odds were in his favor when he stepped up to the Philly rapper.

Yet, Drake continues to ignore Kendrick Lamar. K. Dot has been firing shots at Drizzy for years with no real response from the Canadian rapper. At least, not yet. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. 

Drake has always rationalized his "no response" rule by positioning himself as the bigger guy: "Somehow I always rise above it, Why you think I got my head in the clouds on my last album cover?"

For now, here's a breakdown of the subliminal disses between Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

Control” – August 2013

In the “Control” shot heard ‘round the globe, Kendrick Lamar declared himself king of both coasts. He also used the track to agitate his peers, including Drake.

Billboard Interview - August 2013

In a Billboard interview leading up to the release of , Drake dismissed Kendrick’s “Control” verse as an “ambitious thought.”

Shots Fired: "It just sounded like an ambitious thought to me. That's all it was. I know good and well that Kendrick's not murdering me, at all, in any platform. So when that day presents itself, I guess we can revisit the topic."

“The Language” – September 2013

When Drake’s third album arrived, it contained what many believe to be a subliminal shot at Kendrick on “The Language.”

Shots Fired: “F--k any ni--a that’s talking sh-t just to get a reaction / f--k going platinum, I looked at my wrist and it's already platinum / I am the kid with the motor mouth.”

BET Awards Cypher – October 2013

Kendrick Lamar fired back at the BET Awards Cypher, referencing Drake’s Nothing Was the Same Album by name.

Shots Fired: “Nothing’s been the same since they dropped ‘Control’ / And they tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes.”

OVO Fest - August 2014

A year later, Drake backpedaled, complimenting Kendrick Lamar at an OVO Fest performance in Compton, California, home of K. Dot.

Shout out to Kendrick. Kendrick was on my album. We went on tour together. That’s one of the hardest ni--as alive right there. He’s legendary. He should be standing right there. There's a lot of kings in this sh-t."

“King Kunta” – March 2015

When Kendrick Lamar referenced a “rapper with a ghostwriter” on “King Kunta,” some speculated that he was going at his mentor Dr. Dre. Months after this song and To Pimp A Butterfly dropped, Meek Mill revealed the man behind some of Drake’s lyrics, making the verse below fit like a glove.

Shots Fired: I can dig rappin'/But a rapper with a ghost writer? What the f--k happened?/I swore I wouldn't tell/But most of y'all sharing bars like you got the bottom bunk in a two man cell”

Compton – August 2015

While Drake was busy decimating Meek Mill in a meme showdown, Kendrick fired more shots on Dr. Dre’s grand finale, Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre.

Here’s a slick line from Kendrick on “Darkside/Gone”:

“Got enemies giving me energy I wanna fight now/ subliminally sent to me all of this hate / I thought I was holding the mic down".

And there’s no question who he’s addressing on “Deep Water” when he says “Mother-f---ers know I started from the bottom.”

On the same song, Kendrick upgrades his threats: "They liable to bury him, they nominated six to carry him / They worrying him to death, but he's no vegetarian / The beef is on his breath, inheriting the drama better than / A great white, n---, this is life in my aquarium."