Is Drake going after anyone who Hip Hop feels has bars and is headed to be king like 50 was?
Back in ’99 50 Cent was a grimy street rapper with an idea to get the most attention any rapper would ever get at one time. Following the famous footsteps of Dr. Dre and Tupac, whose “Dre Day” and “Hit “em Up” are among the most shocking and insulting songs ever released, he went the route of the diss track to catch his wreck. Unlike his predecessors who were beefing a particular rival, 50’s “How to Rob” took aim at 25 of the most famous rappers, producers and DJ’s of the time. The A-list included Jay-Z, Diddy, Big Pun, Slick Rick, Tone and Poke, Missy Elliot and even the Wu-Tang Clan! It caused a stir of controversy and launched 50 Cent into the rap game as a notorious and infamous diss artist, and soon after he was “discovered” by Eminem, released “Get Rich or Die Tryin” and enjoyed a period as the king of New York.
Being the apprentice of the late Jam Master Jay, and with countless street mixtapes on his underground release list, 50 never had a problem with claiming Hip Hop status, he dropped “How to Rob” not to prove he could rap, but to elevate himself in the realm of fame and fortune. Fast-forward to today and it seems the pattern is repeating with Drake, who
is arguably the most popular artist in the world of commercial Hip Hop. From beefing with Common, Pusha T, and Tyga, in the past, taking stabs at Kanye and Jigga, (then apologizing), rumors of a Kendrick feud (which he wisely denied), Joe Budden, running his mouth about “having bars for Eminem” if he defends Joe Budden (then bringing Em out on stage proclaiming him G.O.A.T), to the Meek Mill mess, and now taking shots at Diddy (in retaliation to an incident 4 years ago!) it looks like Drake is going the diss-everyone-in-the-industry route to establish himself as king of the game. However similar to 50 Cent in this approach, there are a few differences to account for. First off Drake never had a problem with being famous like 50 did. Without any dues paid in the local Toronto scene, coming out of the world of acting, AND having the instant endorsement of Lil’ Wayne, it appears Drake came right out of the box as a successful artist. With ZERO underground or independent record or history! He seems to just have been instantly accepted by the industry. Always on top of the charts and always rocking with whoever is on top as a co-sign, Drake’s popularity has been undeniable throughout his whole career in the game so far. What has always been in question however is his street value, his legit Hip Hop status, and now with the ghostwriting accusations, his ability to flow on his own. We must remember Drake wasn’t immediately accepted by true Hip Hop heads in the beginning, many were upset that this kid actor out of Canada just came and took over the game, with all the corporate support in the form of advertising, exposure though big name respected artists, continuous radio play and videos on rotation, without ever having proved himself on the underground tip like all others who warranted such attention. Collaborating with hardcore Trapstars like Future when he himself has no history as a hustler has also been a cause of suspicion. Rubbing shoulders with athletes and celebrities like no other before him makes us wonder. It’s no secret he is a nice kid from a good family in Forest Hill, one of Toronto’s richest areas.
So if it’s not underground skills or street fame that got him in these situations, what’s really behind it? So you could say that yes he is following in 50’s footsteps by taking shots at the most established artists in the game. It’s just that 50 never backtracked or apologized as Drake has, neither did he take 5 years to do it. Add to that he hasn’t stopped beefing with anyone who he disagrees with even to this day. Let’s not forget 50 is a real street dude with 9 bullet holes to back his talk. These are just minor differences though. The main difference with Drake is that he is dissing everyone for another reason. Where 50 was doing it to prove to the industry that he was more than a street rapper and that he deserved to be among the industry elite, Drake is doing the exact reverse.
His fame, fortune and legacy as the worlds most beloved Hip Hop related artist are firmly secured. He already started with what 50 Cent wanted. What he never had (and may never have) is the respect of die-hard Hip Hop heads. The intention with all the beefing is to be accepted by Hip Hop’s core. He is constantly trying to prove to the streets that he is a legit Hip Hopper and authentic rapper, and not just the industry darling that street cats like Meek Mill are claiming he is, and are attempting to expose him as. There are some that say he will never get the recognition as true lyricist/MC from the heads, some say it’s only a matter of time before he wears down the resistance. In any case since he has the charts on lock it’s clear that Drizzy is on some kind of search for notoriety to prove himself to a more specific audience. The beefs 50 has had since his time on top appear to be his attempts to get back into the spotlight, a problem Drake has not yet had. Yet he continues to beef in the same fashion as 50, like an angry pitbull who snaps at anything too close. So the motivations are clearly not the same, even if the methods are similar. The question now is not about winner and loser, it’s how fair of a fight can it be when you battle someone who has such a mysterious advantage, who can do no wrong in the eyes of millions of followers and has always had a team of top tier media handlers directing their actions? What real MC on the strength of words alone would stand a chance? If he keeps beefing at this pace we may soon find out!
by Jace Daher