Drake accepts the Top Billboard 200 Album award for Views during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)
So, apparently, the OG homie J. Prince, founder of Rap-A-Lot Records, imparted some sage advice to rapper Drake regarding his ongoing beef with rapper Pusha T and, by proxy, Kanye West.
First, the word was that Prince told Drake not to respond, then over the weekend, that was clarified to mean that he specifically asked Toronto’s hottest not to release an already recorded response to Pusha T’s “The Book of Adidon,” saying it was “overwhelming” and “career-ending.”
“After speaking with Kanye, I spoke with the brother, and he didn’t want this. I saw this going to a place that I feel would have ended his career if Drake would’ve put out this song that he had on him,” Prince said on Sway in the Morning over the weekend. “And definitely would’ve hurt families, and we’re not in it for that. That’s not Drake’s character to tear a man down to that extent.”
So, basically, J. Prince is saying that there is, in fact, a track, but its materials are so damaging, so personal, it would end whole careers; and if you really look at it, that Kanye doesn’t want it. But some folks do—because nasty personal shit is what makes rap songs great, apparently.
In the jugular-snapping “Adidon,” Push sinks literal venom into Drake’s neck, including stating that his best friend has multiple sclerosis and is going to die; that he has a secret baby with a porn star; and that he did this weird blackface campaign.
In the past, Drake has responded with light speed, so some were scratching their heads when the usually punctual responder didn’t come with any heat—except for a press release explaining the blackface thing.
Others are looking at Drake with the green side eye (no, Root Senior Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. really has green eyes), saying Drake has finally met a real MC and is shook.
And I quote, “Make sure you mention that it’s really light-skinned to create a diss track and not release and tell everyone that it exists,” Crockett started up. “It’s like saying your girlfriend goes to another high school and she’s a part-time model. When you don’t have girlfriend.”
In conclusion: “There is no diss track.”
Me? I’m not so sure. I think Kanye and Kim Kardashian West (J. Prince did mention “family”) are low-hanging fruit. Though Push said in “Adidon” that this rap clash was between only him and Drake, how hard could it be for a dude with money to get dirt on a manic-depressive rock star and his wife—then go get someone to duppy-write a scathing 64 bars? Is Drake that much of a punk (or a “sub tweeter”) that he would just let it ride? Because he’s shook?
Crockett thinks so: “The problem that Drake faced is that he can’t Drake his way out of this one. Pusha’s track crushes the Canadian crooner with factual (or possibly factual, depending on the Maury outcome) hot-lava bars that Drake must respond to. He can’t joke or meme his way out of this battle. This is a fight with someone who’s a true lyrical contender and who’s hungry enough to go after Drake with full steam.”
Truthfully, we think this is a no-win for Drake, who has subsequently built his career by being a chameleon of sorts; listeners know that Drake isn’t bustin’ guns but that doesn’t make him any less menacing on BlocBoy JB’s “Look Alive.”
Listeners also know that Drake can be a fuckboi and an uncharitable soul, just see the texts he reportedly sent his alleged baby mama after learning that she was with child; all that still doesn’t make him any less lovable in “God’s Plan.” Drake has done the impossible: He has the likability, charm and charisma of the Fresh Prince while still producing hits without being corny; just ask Will Smith how hard that is to do.
But in this case, word on the street (OK, Root Slack) is that Drizzy ain’t got the heart to go up against those who will lyrically destroy him (i.e., Kendrick Lamar, Joe Budden, and apparently Pusha T); that he only punches down to those he knows he can son.
Perhaps there is a rebuttal to Pusha T that really could’ve destroyed Kanye’s career. Perhaps there isn’t.
The only way out of this for Drake is to do what everyone does when they realize they’ve gotten their ass kicked—which is to stand behind someone else—in Drake’s case, J. Prince—and yell, “Hold me back.”