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PUSHA RAISES THE STAKES FOR DRAKE

The rap beef is fundamental to the culture of hip-hop, energizing the entire spectrum as spectators gather to bear witness and align their tribes. Traditionally, some of the genre’s most legendary, often hilarious and always memorable verses, lethal shots and devastating truth bombs explode like hot lava out of these types of confrontations, due to the driving nature of any given battle: Keeping It Real.

A rap beef is always about the truth—the truth from one perspective, the truth you tryin to hide, the truth of who you are or what you’re about.

Those rules of engagement certainly apply in the latest dust-up between Drake and Pusha-T, but Pusha’s response—the second grenade he’s launched at hip hop’s reigning 6God and a specific reaction to Drake’s bars in “Duppy”—features arguably the hardest, most cold-blooded verses anybody’s dropped in a rap beef since Tupac incinerated Jr Mafia with the diss “Hit ’Em Up” back in the ’90s.  

This all started with accusations of ghostwriting—charges Meek Mill tried to make before being ethered by Drake—but has now escalated into full-scale character warfare.

Pusha’s blowtorch was visceral, and below-the-belt personal, aimed to flank Drizzy in places his armor is insecurely thin—starting with his blackness.  By using an actual, undoctored photo of Aubrey in blackface as the Soundcloud art pointedly delivering his verbal blows over the Jay-Z/No I.D. beat for “The Story Of O.J.,” in which Hov discussed minstrelsy, there were layers of diss here.

Pusha tries to re-frame Drake’s carefully built narrative about his father, came for his momma (next-level savage—lay off the moms) mocked the genuine health struggles of his exec producer 40, and with the reveal about a son in hiding—WHAAAAT?—torched Drizzy’s whole reputation as a sophisticated, carefree, childless bachelor to ashes.

If the rumors are true that Drake’s forthcoming Adidas collaboration is in fact, a brand called “Adidon,” the very title of Pusha’s track is a grenade, by redirecting Drake’s whole brand conversation around him being an absentee father. Ouch.  

“Allegedly his new line on Adidas is called Adidon, which is named after Adonis, his son,” Pusha said on The Breakfast Club in an interview on 5/30, as he called in to discuss the track’s content, adding that Drake was planning to reveal his child alongside his apparel line. “But we can’t know about your child until you start selling sweatsuits and sneakers?”

This is far from over. Pusha will not get the last word when Drake has an album in the chamber.  

To most of the hip-hop universe, this exchange is mostly thrilling spectator sport. All morning on social media, #8Mile was trending, as people urged Drake to “go 8 Mile” in his response—a reference to the final battle in Eminem’s movie, where he flipped embarrassing truths about himself in order to take that weapon away and brutally defeat his fictional rival, Papa Doc.

Since Drake is not one to shy from a reply, ever, take a seat and grab some popcorn; the essence of the rap beef is maximum drama. 

What must be acknowledged as being distinctly different than the Tupac era, however, is that nobody here is talking about guns or violence. Both parties are only using the weaponry of words, blasting about babies, not bullets. Having lived in and navigated through that scary era of West Coast/East Coast wars, I’d call this is a notable evolution.

When asked this morning if this would go another round when Drake responds, Pusha said, “I’m not censoring myself, there’s just more content for, if needed, later.”

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