Home Music Music Features

Why Is Everyone Beefing With Drake?

Everyone from Rick Ross to Kendrick Lamar and NBA star Ja Morant seems to be teaming up against The Boy. What happened?


Prince Williams/Wireimage

On the night of April 13, after the apparent leak of his diss track “Push Ups (Drop & Give Me Fifty),” Drake posted a screenshot from the movie Kill Bill on his Instagram Story. It was the film’s iconic fight scene, during which Uma Thurman’s character takes on a room full of ninja assassins only to emerge victorious. The metaphor couldn’t be more applicable to Drake’s current situation, as he fends off what many are describing as “Rap’s Avengers,” out for blood since the release of Future and Metro Boomin’s We Don’t Trust You.

That record featured the chart-topping single “Like That,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, who shoots not-so-subtle barbs at Drake and J. Cole, taking particular issue with the line on the pair’s single “First Person Shooter” where Cole mentions a supposed “Big 3” in rap. But the conflict seems to run deeper than disputes over who is the greatest rapper. Even Drake makes that clear on “Push Ups,” noting that the “song y’all got did not start the beef with us/This shit been brewin’ in a pot, now I’m heatin’ up.”

The current flare-up of tensions appears to be dredging up dirty laundry going back several years at least. It finds Drizzy in the cross-hairs of several past collaborators and friends, suggesting a rift within a generation of hip-hop stars finally coming to a head. Here’s a running list of the players in rap’s burgeoning civil war.

There’s been chatter that Future wasn’t happy about Drake choosing to collaborate with 21 Savage on Her Loss two years ago instead of, say, making a follow-up to his and Future’s wildly successful 2015 joint project What a Time To Be Alive. Fans have also pointed to the track “What Would Pluto Do,” from Drake’s 2023 album For All the Dogs, as potentially being a sneak diss aimed at Future as opposed to the homage that many fans initially took it for. When Future and Metro Boomin’s joint project We Don’t Trust You first released, the hip-hop rumor mill was active with reports of the disagreement possibly stemming from Drake “stealing” Future’s girl, which would make the line “What would Pluto do? He’d fuck the ho, so I did it,” from Drake’s track, take on an entirely new meaning. So far, no one has been able to confirm any such rumor, and the source of the disagreement between the two stars, who appeared to be on good terms as recently as 2020, remains unclear.

Metro’s animosity towards Drake might also stem from Her Loss, as Metro expressed frustration at the record receiving more attention than his own Heroes & Villains during awards season, tweeting “Yet her loss still keeps winning rap album of the year over H&V. proof that award shows are just politics and not for me,” before deleting the post moments later. Many fans believe Drake then responded during a livestream on the gambling platform Stake, where he said: “To the rest of you — the non-believers, the underachievers, the tweet and deleters — you guys make me sick to my stomach, fam.” Metro has since taken to social media with veiled jabs referring to taking “sides,” which by now seem like clear references to Drizzy.

Kendrick’s disdain for Drake is well documented and goes back as far as 2012, when Kendrick was invited to open for Drake on tour, around the same time he made a guest appearance on Take Care. In that verse, in the interlude “Buried Alive,” Kendrick appears to allude to a budding rivalry, though the two remained cordial until Drake was mentioned by name in Kendrick’s industry-shaking verse on Big Sean’s single “Control” the following year. After that verse dropped, Drake gave an interview with Elliott Wilson where he shrugged off the diss while backhandedly complimenting Kendrick. A few months later, Kendrick appeared in a cypher at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards where he took more pointed shots at Drizzy, rapping, “Nothing’s been the same since they dropped ‘Control’/And tucked the sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes.” The two have exchanged subliminals back and forth since then, culminating in Kendrick’s open shots on “Like That.”

Rick Ross has been one of Drake’s most consistent collaborators over the years, so his appearance on Future and Metro Boomin’s We Don’t Trust You cut “Everyday Hustle” came as a surprise to many. But rumors have circulated online about possible friction between the two in the past. Even before diss tracks started flying, one of Rick Ross’ exes, Tia Kemp, went on Instagram Live and claimed that Ross habitually made negative comments behind Drake’s back. Ever since Drake sort-of-dropped “Push Ups” over the weekend, featuring a direct shot at “Ricky’s” age, Ross has been on attack mode. He started with his own diss track, “Champagne Moments,” featuring cover art of a viral yearbook photo of a white man from the Fifties that circulated online around 2019 because of his apparent resemblance to Drake. On the track, Ross repeatedly calls Drake “white boy,” in reference to his mixed-race background, and alleges that Drake only associated with street rappers early in his career to gain legitimacy. Since its release, the two have waged an all-out meme war online.

Another former collaborator taking shots at Drake is A$AP Rocky, who appeared on the We Don’t Trust You follow-up We Still Don’t Trust You. In his feature on the track “Show of Hands,” he says “Niggas in they feelings over women, what, you hurt or somethin’?/I smashed before you birthed, son, Flacko hit it first, son.” Drake and Rocky’s tension appears on the surface to be about Rocky’s current relationship with Rihanna, with whom he has two sons, and whom Drake infamously felt rejected by circa Thank Me Later. However, Rocky’s verse also recalls many of the rumors around Drake’s last public beef, with Pusha T. Back then, it was rumored that Rocky was responsible for leaking the information about Drake’s then-secret son Adonis to Pusha. Now, it seems Rocky might be claiming to have been with the mother of Drake’s son before him which, in fairness, is kind of an odd thing for the father of Rihanna’s children to be bragging about on a diss track.

Bad blood between Drake and the Weeknd has been brewing for much of the Weeknd’s career. It started when Drake first posted songs by the then-unknown R&B crooner on his OVO blog back in 2010. The pair would go on to have a fruitful creative relationship at first, appearing on each other’s projects at a moment in time when both were reaching new heights in their respective careers. As the story goes, Drake wanted to sign the Weeknd to his label OVO, whereas the Weeknd wanted to make his own path. After the Weeknd ultimately signed to Republic in 2012, the two were seldom seen publicly, though any rumors of tensions seemed to be quelled as Drake rapped on 2020’s “Only You Freestyle” that “The boy that sound like he sang on Thriller, you know that’s been my nigga/We just had to fix things, family, 6 ting we can’t split up.” And yet, here we are. The Weeknd appeared on several Future and Metro tracks, most pointedly “All to Myself,” where he alludes to the OVO situation with the line “I thank God that I never signed my life away.” He also takes aim at Drake’s associates with the line “They could never diss my brothers, baby/When they got leaks in they operation,” and the particularly vicious bar, “Their shooters making TikToks.”

Among the more random responses on Drake’s “Push Ups” is a reference to Ja Morant, the “hooper that be bustin’ out the griddy,” as Drake puts it. Apparently, Morant responded in affirmation to one of Metro Boomin’s cryptic posts about picking a side, and Drake took notice. The source of the tension between the two appears to be Drake dating the NBA star’s ex, the model and influencer Johanna Leia.  

Soon after the shots started flying towards Drizzy, the rapper Nav reportedly unfollowed Drake on Instagram, the tell-tale sign of tension among celebrities. It’s unclear what, if anything, Nav is mad about, and fans online seem to find the Canadian artist’s involvement in the beef comedic more than anything.

In a way, all of this is J. Cole’s fault. It was his line on “First Person Shooter” that awoke Kendrick’s desire for smoke, and he even went as far as dropping a Kendrick diss of his own, only to retract it and apologize a few days later — before getting into it once again by appearing on the follow-up to Future and Metro’s album. The track “Red Leather,” from We Still Don’t Trust You, isn’t an outright diss, but a case of guilt by association. After all, Metro has been promoting both projects with the notion of picking a side, making Cole’s decision to collaborate with him and Future (mere days after ostensibly standing in defense of himself and Drizzy) either an unforced error or an act of war. For his part, Drake addressed the situation on “Push Ups,” rapping “I don’t care what Cole thinks, that Dot shit was weak as fuck.”

Yet another rapper who’s apparently taken sides in the ongoing war is Travis Scott, who appears on Future and Metro’s project, though not overtly dissing Drake in any of his lyrics. One line from “Push Ups” that fans seem to believe is directed at Scott, who famously collaborated with Drake on the 2018 smash hit “Sicko Mode,” is in reference to a performance at Rolling Loud. “Rolling Loud stage, y’all were turnt, that was slick as hell,” Drake raps. “Shit’ll probably change if your BM start to kiss and tell.” It was Travis who hyped up the crowd at Rolling Loud as Metro and Future performed “Like That,” and there’s suspicion that the “BM” (short for baby-mama) in question is Travis’ ex Kylie Jenner.

From Rolling Stone US