To Beef or Not to Beef?

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Isn’t it ironic how the one rapper who’s gotten the most shit in the history of rap for being soft  has found himself in more beef than chopped onions in a meatloaf. (Or, simply, more beef than any other rapper) At this point Drake is on par to catch and surpass 50 Cent and The Game for number of conflicts engaged. And now with Joe Budden coming full force, yet another beef, which was imminent, has hit the net and put Drake underneath the bright lights for a scrutiny of what, how, when and IF Drake will even respond to his latest challenger. Drake has been among so much sneak dissin, sub beefs, pseudo beef and all-out war that the entire spectrum of Rap Beef can be analyzed and dissected all in the realm of Drake tussles. Regarding Rap Beef, there are several types, some worth sending a sneak shot, some worth creating entire songs, some not worth becoming violent over (though, it has come to that several times), and some just better altogether ignoring. So with the latest poke at Drake is Joe Budden, who most definitely fits into one these spaces in this sphere of Beef.

Drake and The Weeknd - O2 Arena, London 25/03/2014 | Photo by Bu

Same City/Camp Beef

Respond: Yes

 

And unlike a Meek Mill or a Pusha T diss track, Joe Budden’s assault was pretty dope; it had some substance, clever bars, personality and some quotables that could really make Drake sweat a little; put him on the hot seat some. And there are several reasons why a rapper, as mentioned above would return fire. Some beefs are so ingrained in who an artist is that is imperative they respond to the aggressor with a track of their own or they could stand to lose out on respect and credibility. For example, some beefs might involve a rapper or artist who was once your friend where a falling between parties involved would require some of the resolve be rooted in music where an audience can be involved. We can take the Drake-Weeknd feud that has been a bit of a quiet war, but a war nonetheless where Drake has taken shots at Abel several times (“All y’all Xs know I like my Os with a V in the middle”) due to the passion requisite when a friendship ceases to exist. Whether betrayal or conniving is at the root the emotions involved in a feud with one you know personally, it’s impossible to nonchalantly handle a situation as such. While Budden and Drake knew each other personally, it would appear their relationship never reached levels we saw with Jay and Jaz O or Tupac and Biggie , where a friendship devolved into rivalry.

 

A similar situation requiring a response is the also like the Abel and Aubrey beef, where artists start feuding after being in the same camp at any given time. While the friendship factor is at play, this is a bit different in the fact that some rappers in the same camp don’t necessarily have to be friends. It’s the same concept that arises in the intra-city beef where dudes from the same region trade shots. Tory Lanez is an excellent example of this and even still he doesn’t have the respect to get a whole track from Drake.

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The Meek Mill-Wale beef comes to mind when you think about two guys under the same umbrella who just couldn’t get along. As artists, there is only one way to hash this out and that is through diss tracks. The Diplomats signing to Rocafella also exposed this type of beef that comes from trying to forge strangers together and what happens when they fall out. 50 Cent and The Game were the same way. It seems like the imperfections and ticks that irked one of the belligerents at first sight will come to light be laid out on wax. But Joe Budden and Drake’s relationship was nothing like that. During the Drake-Joe Budden interview from 2009, Drake can’t stop singing his praises. It’s a point that even Joe makes sure to point out in the track even employing sound bytes from their interview and displaying a fondness for a precocious Drake. It seems this was a relationship built on respect and admiration, so for Drake to respond to Joe on the level of “Making A Murderer” given their relationship history, it doesn’t make much sense.

Same Girl Beef

Response: Yes

 

And speaking of relationships, it seems that Joe Budden and Drake have both spent time with some of the same girls since Drake’s ascension which might be grounds for an all-out war  a la “that’s why I fucked yo bitch you fat muthafucka”. But it was never that deep. Meek and Drake’s beef was spiked by the line in “Charged Up” that leaves the Drake-Nicki Minaj affair rumors in the air. It’s a contentious area in every landscape you can imagine. One of the most memorable lines in the Jay-Nas beef was Hov mentioning his encounter with Nasir’s BM. With Joe putting their escapades on blast, what more can Drake really say about it; it doesn’t seem like anyone’s girlfriend of BM was involved, no one was cuckolded or anything like it seems. So what more could Drake do than be like “I hit it first”? And would that be the whole song? We saw how it worked out for Ray J…

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Same Strata Beef

Respond: No

 

Plus a Drake-Meek beef made more sense as Meek was seen as one of the game’s best at the time, shedding his Sprite Rising Stars jersey to represent his squad in his first All-Star Game. Meek and Drake were ripping tracks together and the MMG rapper was amidst his most anticipated album release. He was feeling like HOV with the hottest chick in the game by his side and couldn’t help but be feeling himself a little. With Ross backing you and you putting on for the label more than any of your labelmates, a hubris had to come with that feeling of being the big fish in a small pond. It was with reason that Ja Rule had to get sonically snuffed by 50 Cent when both their careers were peaking. It’s why the Lil’ Flip-T.I. beef was so interesting to watch because at the time, either of those rappers could have come out victorious. The competition was high and that always make for better sport. While I don’t personally believe Meek ever had a chance, many saw this beef as an opportunity for Drake to be dethroned following IFYRTITL. With Joe Budden, this isn’t the case, a Cold War-like scenario that existed between Drake and Kendrick would never be as contentious just because Drake is operating on a completely different plain.

At the end of the day it seems worthless for Drake to put effort toward a track that can’t do much for his brand or his legacy. It appears that the fire won’t be there for Drake to bolster and unleash as the drama hasn’t warranted anything like it. Joe said he thought “Views” was uninspired and Drake made the lil snarky comment he did about Joe (“jealous ones still envy”) on “4PM in Calabasas”. Simply put, Joe doesn’t reside on the same strata as Drake at this point in his career, although Joe put together a couple damn good diss tracks. Unfortunately -and Joe knows it as he mentioned Jay’s elusion of beef due to his stature in the game, Drake has gotten to the point where he’s a little too big to engage in this war; he’ll elope instead. He’ll likely throw some more buckshots Joe’s way but will resist bringing out the big guns, mostly cause Joe isn’t making big enough moves on which can be shat on. Drake can’t diss the latest Joe album that everyone’s heard or talk about how Joe’s relationship with such and such is joke because of x,y and z because we ain’t checkin for Joe like these days. There are too many chances for Drake to come off sounding mediocre giving him an avoidable, though non-implicative “L”. On the other hand, a Drake victory in his latest kerfuffle would equal an inconsequential “W”. With the love that Joe showed for Drake in his podcasts and even on the diss track, the feeling may be mutual, leaving Drake with nothing but more compliments to send Joe’s way. But it more so seems as if Joe Budden was simply challenging Drake to step his game up even further to rid and doubts or hesitations we might have for deeming his next LP a classic. Prodding him a little bit to get Drake’s best, which will force the game to step and their bars making hip-hop the real winner. What the game might need more than anything right now -including a Drake response to Joe Budden- is Joe Budden pushing these rappers to impress us all. Plus who could outdo The Game’s Joe Budden diss over Ice-T’s “Colors”, “Buttons”?!

 

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