A message for Drake: Don’t respond to Kendrick!

OPINION: Here are seven reasons why Drake shouldn't respond to Kendrick Lamar's takedown on "Like That."

Cleveland Cavaliers v Houston Rockets
Rapper, songwriter, and icon Drake attends a game between the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Toyota Center on March 16, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Credit: Photo byCarmen Mandato / Getty Images

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

This is a message for Drake and Drake only. If you are not Drake, please do not read any further. Thank you for respecting Drake’s privacy.

Aubrey, bro, are you OK? Or should I say, are you OK, fam? I’m sure you and your therapist have had a lot to talk about over the past two weeks. I have no doubt that “Like That” brought up a lot of emotions and had you in your feelings. That’s OK, you’re in your feelings all the time. But this time it’s not about some girl who’s breaking your heart, it’s about all of hip-hop waiting for you to respond to the absolute tongue-lashing Kendrick gave you on “Like That.” (That was really brutal. It was like a total beatdown of the sort we haven’t seen since Mike Tyson was in his prime. You must have been so embarrassed, fam. But I digress.) Many people have told you that you absolutely must respond, but there are many reasons why you shouldn’t. I made a list. 

1.  Kendrick is a far better rapper than you. That sentence is a vast understatement. K-Dot is a Pulitzer-winning genius, and you’re more like the hip-hop equivalent of McDonald’s. No shade. You just cannot win this battle. I mean “Like That” had double and triple entendres and complex rhyme schemes. Your recent music, by comparison, has been mid. You (and your ghosts) can’t compete with Kung Fu Kenny, fam. It’s like he has a supercomputer and you have a calculator. Why battle someone who’s way better than you?

2. If you ignore my advice and you do respond, you know he’ll fire back. And he won’t do it right away; he’s not that type. He could wait three months. He could wait 30 months. Either way, you’ll have to wait and worry and look over your shoulder all the time wondering, is he going to drop a response today? Any time you’re at a strip club or at a steakhouse or whatever, you’ll be thinking in the back of your mind, maybe Kendrick will come back at me today. Who needs the sword of Kendrick hanging over their head while they’re trying to get their freak on? (I made a play on the sword of Damocles, but I changed it to Kendrick. Clever, right?)

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3. You have a really nice life right now. You have mansions, you have a plane and you have Raptors tickets that no one wants. Why do something to jeopardize all that, Drake? You lost to Pusha T (badly I might add), and yet, it didn’t impact anything but how many losses can you sustain without it eventually impacting you? What if Kendrick says some crazy things that make fans rethink how they see you and this gilded life starts to disappear? Do you want to engage in something that could lead you to, one day, flying commercial?

4. We both know that there are a lot of embarrassing things Kendrick could say about you, Drake. There’s a lot of messiness in your life. You know what I’m talking about. Do you really want any of that out in public?

5. The flip side of that is what are you going to say about him? There ain’t much dirt out there about him, and he already told us a lot of it on his own records. So there’s no personal angle you can use. Also, you can’t diss his catalog. Cole tried that and failed. And his music is way better so how are you criticizing his music? So there’s no musical angle for you to take. You can say I’m richer than you, and I have more hits than you but that’s not going to win a battle. Maybe you could make a whole song around Kendrick being short. You could loop up Randy Newman’s “Short People” and rhyme about his height. Maybe call it “Short King.” That’s a terrible idea, but I’m just spit-balling here. Maybe you could rhyme about how you’re light-skinned and he’s not. That’s also a terrible idea. I’m struggling to see anything you could say that would hurt him.

6. Sometimes in life when we have conflicts, we have to take a step back and say, am I the one who’s in the wrong here? Right now, there’s a lot of people mad at you. You’ve got Kendrick, Metro Boomin, Future, Travis Scott, Rick Ross, Megan Thee Stallion and more. (You should talk about this with your therapist for sure, fam). Maybe, instead of making a diss record, you should look inward and contemplate why half of the industry is mad at you. Maybe it’s time to reflect on what Drake is doing to others. 

7. It’s important to remember that K-Dot is hood. You are not. I’m not saying he’s going to shoot you; I’m saying this: Generally, hood dudes are tougher than us non-hood dudes. If I were you, I wouldn’t want beef with a hood dude at all. I’d rather you battle Talib Kweli or De La Soul or Questlove. Maybe you could make a surprise diss song about one of them and divert everyone’s attention like a cartoon world switcheroo. Maybe people will just forget about “Like That.” I doubt it because “Like That” is everywhere — people love that song. 

Look, I know I have nothing but terrible ideas, but that’s because you’re in a bad situation where the options are bad and worse. Maybe you should’ve been a little more thoughtful when y’all were making “First Person Shooter.” Just sayin’, fam.

Touré, theGrio.com

Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.