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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Big Three’s history, Kendrick’s proclamation and an apology.

Lynn Jafarzadeh / Hilltop Views
The Big Three are head to head to head releasing diss tracks against one another in a battle to be the best rapper of all time.

The debate about the greatest rapper of all time has been discussed since the birth of rap. Many rappers have been thrown into this discussion, such as Nas, André 3000, Tupac, Eminem, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. These days, the “Big Three” is the title for the three biggest rappers part of this debate: Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole and Drake, three artists who are constantly pitted against each other by fans to find out who is the definitive GOAT. 

This debate first began with Big Sean’s “Control.” Here, Lamar calls out many rappers, Cole and Drake included. He makes it clear that, despite being friends, he’s willing to do anything to prove he’s the greatest rapper of all time. 

Many rappers had no problem with Lamar’s verse, seeing it as respect in the competitive culture of Hip-Hop. However, Drake responded differently, talking about it on HOT 97 radio in September 2014. Drake felt that Lamar didn’t actually want to battle, questioning if it was for the hype. Drake went on to say, “Then let it be real.” 

This is the same approach Cole shared in his verse on Justin Timberlake’s, “TKO (BLack Friday Remix).” He raps “Everybody and their momma gassed / Even my momma asked what I’mma do / In case this is war, then I load up on all ammunition.” After these replies, the conflict grew quiet over the years as the three continued their respective careers. Cole went on to be friends with both artists, while it became apparent to fans that Drake and Lamar were not. 

With the release of Metro Boomin and Future’s album, “WE DON’T TRUST YOU”, Lamar called Drake and Cole out again, a decade after the “Control” verse.  In Lamar’s verse on track six, “Like That” , he attacks Cole and Drake for their recent collabs on Drake’s “For All The Dogs.” Lamar alludes to this first on the line “N- clickin’ up but cannot be legit, no 40 Water.” Here, he uses worldplay to refer to rappers B-Legit and E-40 who formed the group “The Click.” The word click is also used as a homophone with clique, calling out Cole and Drake. 

Lamar continues with “Fuck sneak dissin’ / First Person Shooter / I hope they came with three switches.” Lamar is seemingly referring to Cole’s line “Everybody steppers, well, fuck it, then everybody breakfast and I’m ’bout to clear up my plate” on “First Person Shooter.” 

Cole refers to Lamar’s latest album, Mr.Morale & The Big Steppers, saying that he would wipe the floor with him. After a clever lead-up, Lamar then makes the biggest statement in this verse: “Motherfuck the big three, n-, it’s just big me,” shutting down the debate for who is the greatest: It’s him. 

Lamar then shifts focus to Drake for the most aggressive shots. He raps the most controversial line, “Prince outlived Mike Jack,” comparing himself to Prince in opposition to Drake as Michael Jackson. 

These late pop artists had well-known beef and Prince lived longer than Jackson by seven years. Fans also believe that this line is in reference to the approach these artists took: Prince was historically more meticulous with his music while Jackson was more collaborative. Lamar ends his verse with “‘Fore all your dogs getting buried / That’s a K with all these nines, he gon’ see Pet Sematary.” Lamar compares his skills to an AK-47, ready to end Drake’s career, while Drake is more like a handgun. 

Drake went on to write captions on Instagram with other rapper’s lyrics and some of his own, seemingly not taking Lamar’s verse seriously. However, Cole replied to Lamar on his surprise album drop, “Might Delete Later.” 

On the track “7 Minute Drill,” Cole takes reluctant shots at Lamar with lines like “I got mixed feelings ’bout these fuckin’ rap N-” and “I’m aimin’ at G-Money, cryin’ tears before I bust at him.” This would be proven true, as he would apologize for his diss only 48 hours later. This has led to some of the internet trolling him and others sympathizing with Cole.

Unlike Cole, Drake responded to Lamar with his track “Push Ups.” This track takes notable shots at artists Future, The Weeknd and Rick Ross. Drake says that their only inspiration is him, whether they like him or not, with the line “I know my picture on the wall when y’all cook up.” Drake’s shots at these artists are him stating that their success is because of him and that they aren’t on his level. He even made a blatant name-drop against Metro. However, for Lamar, Drake took a different angle.

Drake also utilizes “Push Ups” as a metaphor through the track to diss Lamar. Cause Top told you, ‘Drop and give me fifty,’ like some push-ups” is a double reference, first to a video of Lamar working out in a park, as well as his contract with Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith: it’s alleged that Lamar is paying half of earnings to his label. 

Continuing his track, Drake directly responds to Lamar’s Mike Jack line with “What’s a prince to a king? He a son, N-,” referring to Michael Jackson’s title as the King of Pop, saying that Lamar is nothing to Drake. He also touches on Cole’s apology, rapping,  “And that fuckin’ song y’all got did not start the beef with us / This shit been brewin’ in a pot / now I’m heatin’ up. I don’t care what Cole think / that Dot shit was weak as fuck,” making it clear that this conflict is personal to him and not about rap.

Drake quickly doubled down with the track “Taylor-Made Freestyle.” Drake uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) on this track to emulate the voices of west coast legends 2Pac and Snoop Dogg. He encourages Lamar to drop a response and that he’s confused on why he has been quiet since his verse on “Like That”. 

Drake then raps with his own voice. He once again references Tiffith  with the lines “But now we gotta wait a fuckin’ week ’cause Taylor Swift is your new Top / And if you ’bout to drop, she gotta approve.” Drake implies that Lamar isn’t dropping because of Swift’s release week and that he’s letting it get quiet again, similar to the conditions surrounding “Control”’s release.Since Drake’s tracks were released, Rick Ross has replied, and even Kanye West has gotten involved in a “Like That (Remix)” with Metro Boomin. Tensions have grown between fans about Drake’s response, with some disappointed that Drake endorsed AI usage in music. All eyes are now on Lamar as fans wait impatiently for his reply.

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