J. Cole’s Right: This Beef’s Between Kendrick and Drake

On a recent appearance on Justin LaBoy’s podcast, Ye expressed his feelings towards ongoing rap beefs and J Cole’s apology to Kendrick Lamar at Dreamville Fest. Not holding back as usual, the Chicago rapper said he thought the apology move was “p**sy”. For most, he’s right to feel that way, given hip hop’s true competitive nature, including myself.

Those watching live saw as he announced the “7 Minute Drill” response would be taken off DSPs as he felt it wasn’t himself. As the dust settles, it’s worth noting that while his decision isn’t what would be preferred from a competitive standpoint, maybe he’s been onto something all along. Due to his status as part of Rap’s “Big 3”, it’s expected that Cole participates on his own. After having past run-ins with throwing subliminal towards rappers like fellow Chicagoans Noname and Kanye West, it’s disappointing to see him bow out gracefully. Especially now catching strays from both Kendrick and Drake’s responses.

In hindsight, Cole made the right call, as he would’ve been left with only two choices to make, with neither of them serving him well.

The first one being to troll within the beef until he becomes egregiously corny. Rick Ross plays a minor role in the current rapverse war. Somehow, he remains active every day as if he’s next up for a title fight. Releasing only one diss record and trading shots through Instagram stories than actual bars, his participation has been rather lackluster. Which is unfortunate, given his lyrical prowess and naturally comedic personality.

The same goes for Ye, who has sent shots off at Drake with a “Like That” remix of his own. As someone who’s participating because he’s energized by the “elimination of Drake”, it would be more entertaining and believable if he had sent a response of his own years ago when their beef first began. Let alone responding to a J Cole subliminal that came out when Obama was still in office. Now that their back-and-forth has come and gone, Kanye sticking his nose into the issue after four others are already involved feels disingenuous. (Respectfully… Kanye has to shut up on this one and go make some clothes.)

Or Cole could go with choice #2: to get extremely disrespectful and get his hands as dirty as possible. The main problem with “7 Minute Drill” is the initial reaction being underwhelming. In a subgenre of rap where responses can get rated-R, his decision to keep things PG-13 doesn’t cut it.

In terms of the heavyweight bout that the world wants to see, it’s down to Cornrow Kenny and Drizzy.

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So far, neither have no problem throwing haymakers. And unlike most of Cole’s known history, all of these shots are very direct. Drake came out swinging with his first two disses to Kendrick, dropping “Push Ups” followed by his “Taylor Made Freestyle”. Which he’s right to do so because if it’s beef, you can’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

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Clearly, the Compton Cowboy understands that well with his new mammoth response, “euphoria”.  Six minutes containing three distinct levels of continuous slander and pettiness, each becoming harsher than the last. In just one track, Kendrick served a combination that arguably trumps Drake’s first two responses and maybe his next. All by not choosing peace with Drake and instead, making a pack out of him.

This… This is the hip hop that I love. This is the hip hop we want to see.

By all means, Drake is probably working on another diss record right now, aiming to go above and beyond. And if he is, he understands what’s at stake if he sees Kendrick go low and doesn’t decide to go lower. This isn’t just about bars anymore, this is something that’s been brewing for over a decade. Something that J Cole understands also. His only two choices in participating in this beef are becoming corny or Captain Commando. Not wanting to choose either, his decision is to step out.

It’s difficult to agree with his decision entirely. However, it’s more agreeable than him choosing to proceed with something he doesn’t even want to do. He’s here for the bars and banter, not to berate. Unfortunately, that’s what the masses are requesting. And if we cannot get that from Cole, we will surely get that from Drake and Kendrick. Captions, social media subliminal, and PR stunts of today are not it. What we need to see is a good, old fashioned lyrical slugfest between the best of the best.