We don’t give Pusha T the credit he deserves.
Drake is unfuckwithable. He’s easily the most celebrated rapper of our generation. Overall, Drake has won 123 awards from 532 nominations, including 4 Grammys. The Canadian rapper and child actor has managed to be the face of American Hip Hop, a culture that has typically been reserved for everything Drake isn’t. He is a permanent fixture on the billboards and easily one of the most recognized rappers in the industry.
The Meek Mill vs Drake beef had everyone on their toes. Meek Mill was in his feelings because Drake didn’t tweet about his new song that had a Drake feature. Meek’s sense of entitlement to free promo got him slaughtered in a lyrical battle that left us embarrassed for Meek. When Meek declared to the world that Drake didn’t write his own rhymes on Twitter, Drake grabbed a pen and ethered Meek. He dropped “Charged Up”, taking shots at Meek with lines like “Done doing favors for people/Cause it ain’t like I need the money I make off a feature/I see you ni**as having trouble going gold/Turning into some so and so’s that no one knows.” Charged Up was just an appetizer. Meek Mill, whose entrance into the rap game was through battle rap, didn’t use his lyrical skills to come at Drake. Instead, he went soft and took to Twitter, saying a lot of nothing. Drake capitalized on his silence and released Back to Back within days. Aubrey did not come to play. The cover art for the track even featured MLB player Joe Carter, who led the Toronto Blue Jays to a 1993 World Star Victory against none other than the Philadelphia Phillies.
Seriously, this battle was a no-brainer. Meek released Wanna Know and Left Hollywood but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who can recite one memorable line from either track. The battle rapper definitely lost to the self described “singing ni**a”. Ouch.
Then Pusha T came along. Drake must have still been high off his win from the Meek battle but someone should have told him Pusha T is a rapper rapper. A wordsmith. A contender. Pusha might not have the following Drake has but none of that matters in battle rap. Pusha’s beef wasn’t with Drake so much as it stemmed from a 15 year beef with Lil Wayne over the track What Happened to That Boy and an argument over clothes. (I know, super petty)
Fast forward to 2011, Pusha dropped Don’t Fuck With Me, dropping subliminals against Drake on a track he sampled from Drake (Dreams Money Can Buy). Shots were fired when Pusha quipped “Rappers on their sophmores/Actin like they boss lords.” From then on, it was war. This new generation may not know Pusha T but I’m sure they heard him when he said “Contract all fucked up/I guess that means you are all fucked up/You signed to one ni**a that’s sighed to another ni**a/That’s signed to three ni**as, now that’s bad luck.”
Then 2016 came. Pusha dropped HGTV. You could hear a pin drop when Pusha said:
It’s too far gone when the realest ain’t real
I walk amongst the clouds so your ceilings ain’t real
These niggas Call of Duty cause their killings ain’t real
With a questionable pen so the feelin’ ain’t real
Rap’s John Grisham
I can paint the picture with the words if you listen (shh)
The bar’s been lowered, the well’s run dry
They beefin’ over melodies, but no, not I (yugh)
See I’m so top 5
If they factor in the truth I just might blow by
You could tell Pusha got under Drake’s skin. Drake responded with “Two Birds, One Stone” and retorted with:
But really it’s you with all the drug dealer stories
That’s gotta stop, though
You made a couple chops and now you think you Chapo
If you ask me though, you ain’t lining the trunk with kilos
You bagging weed watching Pacino with all your niggas
Like, “This what we need to be on,” but you never went live
You middle-man in this shit, boy, you was never them guys
I can tell, ’cause I look most of you dead in your eyes
And you’ll be tryna sell that story for the rest of your lives
Eh. It’s bars but it’s not bars bars.
Then Pusha dropped Daytona. It was written like Nas after that. Pusha revived the ghostwriter accusations against Drizzy spitting “the lyric pennin’ equal/ the Trumps winnin’/The bigger question is how the Russians did it /It was written like Nas but it came from Quentin”. In case you missed it, it’s a reference to Quintin Miller, who allegedly wrote Drake’s verse on Meek Mill’s track R.I.C.O.
Drake must have thought he could “Meek Mill” Pusha. Within 24 hours, he dropped Duppy Freestyle, which noticeably took shots at not only Pusha, but Kanye West too. You could tell he tried to bait Kanye but Yeezy remained silent and let Pusha do the talking.
Nicki Minaj decided to chime in and defend her label mate. “N*ggas gonna fuck around and run that Quintin shit into the ground” she said. The irony of Nicki talking about a ghost writer is laughable in retrospect given her barely successful efforts after her and her alleged ghost writer broke up. But that’s another article for another day.
Then Pusha dropped The Story of Adidon using a picture of Drake in black face as the cover art, which has since been removed from social media. Drake pulled a 50 cent and got lawyers involved, which was weak. Pusha came at Drake from every angle on this track. Pusha dissed Drake’s parents, his friend “40” who suffers from multiplesclerosis, his rumored deal with Adidas and most notably, a secret son with former adult film star Sophie Brussaux.
Game over. It was at this point Pusha T won the battle.
Soon after, Drake went public with an apology and explanation about his picture in black face. Drake isn’t African American, he’s a half black Canadian. People wanted answers and Pusha put Drake on the defense and things got uncomfortable. He also released a statement confirming the birth of his son, saying he wasn’t trying to hide his son from the world, he was trying to hide the world from his son.
Whatever that means.
Then Drake went radio silent. He got his mentor J Prince to call a truce “before things went to far”. Drake isn’t a gangsta rapper, how far would it have went?
Daytona will go down as one of the top ten battle songs in history against one of the biggest artists in the game.
Drake lost and experienced a major L that gets glossed over with accolades and excuses. Drake will hide behind his accomplishments but none of that matters in a rap beef. Drake may have been able to obliterate Meek Mill but Pusha T played chess and proved that the best rappers in the game aren’t always the most popular.