For the past two days, the Internet has been utterly buzzing because of Pusha T’s new diss record aim at Drake called, “The Story of Adidon” in which he verbally eviscerates the self-proclaimed 6 God over Jay-Z’s “The Story of OJ” track.
The latest addition to this rap beef comes after Drake released a diss track of his own called "Duppy Freestyle," which was a response to “Infrared,” a record on Pusha T’s new album DAYTONA. This matchup has been about six years in the making as both artists have traded jabs with each other on a few different tracks throughout the years. Many people were excited with the release of Pusha’s new album because it was already a foregone conclusion he would be going at Drake in some way.
In a snippet on social media, we heard what was a clear shot at Drake,
I thought the line was weak (and late) because it has been three whole years since Meek Mill exposed Drake for having to use another writer to pen some of his hits. I stated on my Podcast that I thought Pusha T needed to take another angle because the Quentin Miller reference was dated, and didn’t have the same impact because the public didn’t care if Drake used ghostwriters, ask Meek how that strategy worked out.
Since the earliest days of Hip-hop, competition has been a staple in the culture. Rappers have always battled each other using clever lines and disrespectful comments to disparage their opponent and sway public opinion in their favor. This is nothing new. What is new however is the ultra-sensitive, politically correct climate we are currently living in. You can diss another rapper, just don't say anything mean.
In the follow up to Drake’s Duppy Freestyle, Virginia native, Pusha T responded in a brutal, yet calculated manner that caused the public, and fellow rappers to think if he had gone too far with his words. Pusha talked about Drake, his parents, his alleged baby mother, and his best friend who is suffering from an illness that can potentially take his life.
Was it all too much?
We must first examine some of the notable rap beefs from the past to gauge our barometer of where the invisible line is. Harlem rapper, Cam’ron once told Nas he would “R. Kelly” his daughter, and have his way with her face. Tupac made fun of late Queens rapper Prodigy’s sickle cell anemia. The Lox made a song called, “Sorry Ms. Jackson” aim at 50 Cent’s dead mother. Jay-Z talked about leaving condom wrappers in Nas’ baby seat. Gucci Mane told Young Jeezy to go dig his dead homie up, and the list goes on and on. Hip-hop can be a grimy sport, and once two rappers are engaged in a battle, it can be tough to say where the line because we can not control how one person reacts. As listeners on the outside, we have the luxury of retrospect.
In Duppy Freestyle, Drake scored some great points lyrically by attacking Pusha T’s drug dealing credibility, and he had some slick lines about his boss Kanye West. Some might even say he had better lines for Ye than Pusha, but that’s not important here. What is essential is what Drake did next that turned the direction of where the battle was supposed to go. Drake mentioned Pusha T’s fiancé in a bar that the casual listener could have missed.
Like I mentioned before, you never know how someone will react when they are dissed. Pusha T clearly took exception to the line as he threw off the gloves and attacked Drake’s character, and everyone close to him. He decided to take the battle to the gutter and blemish Drake’s clean persona.
Throughout the track, Push went on to talk about Drake’s father leaving his mother, Drake’s identity issues (supported by the cover art of Drake in blackface), and he went on to seemingly expose Drake for hiding a child he fathered with a former porn-star. All fair game in my opinion after Drake mentioned Pusha’s fiancé by her full name. It was later on in the track is where people argue that this battle has taken a turn for the worst. Pusha T goes on to mention Drake’s best friend, and longtime producer, Noah “40” Shebib may not have much longer to live from Multiple Sclerosis which he was diagnosed in 2005.
I’ll admit that I cringe every time I hear the line. I have family members who are currently dealing with the same illness and I’d be a lair if I say it doesn’t bother me a little. However, in the game if war and power one must be ruthless to reign supreme. I may not like the line but I totally respect it when I think about the position Pusha is in. Even though he is considered a lyrical beast, against Drake and the machine he has behind him, he is at a huge disadvantage in this battle. When Drake dropped Duppy Freestyle the public had already counted Pusha out in the course of the three-day weekend. When locked in a battle of high stakes, you almost have to go where no one else will to win. In Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, he states you must crush your enemy totally, “not only in body, but in spirit…” (Law 15). Since we all want this to stay on wax the winner will have to focus on the latter.
I will assume this battle will go the distance, as this is the first time in a while two big names have traded worthy disses. Drake said it’ll be a cruel summer for Pusha, and Push responded by saying he’s just getting started. So far, this is looking way more interesting than this year’s NBA Finals so I’m here for it.
Malcom X. Bowser is a writer, curator, and founder of Urban X.