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By James Yu May. 22, 2024

French Poet Joseph Roux’s famous quote “The egoist does not tolerate egoism,” holds true for Kendrick Lamar, arguably the largest contemporary personality in Rap. On Drake’s 2023 hit song “First Person Shooter,” J. Cole boldly proclaimed himself, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, as the great rappers of our generation. Lamar, disgusted by being held in the same regard as Drake, responded in a feature on Metro Boomin’s “Like That,” rapping that Drake and J Cole are below his pedigree—making him the single greatest rapper of the present. This exchange lit a flame between the two rappers, leading Lamar to release four of his greatest works in years.

Returning fire against Drake’s “Push Ups,” Lamar released his first track, “Euphoria,” where he tears into Drake’s tendencies to code-switch whenever advantageous, accusing Drake of abandoning his African identity for his own personal gain. Lamar soothes listeners into “Euphoria” with a calm, syncopated prologue before unleashing temerarious brass instrumentals, rapidly throbbing 808s and a swarm of slights targeted towards Drake’s constitution. “Euphoria’s” lengthy six minute runtime allows Lamar to continuously slam witty insults against Drake, while simultaneously presenting a cohesive prosecution.  Ultimately, Lamar closes the song strong with an epilogue which incorporates both the collected syncopation of the prologue and brazen ferocity of the song’s first act. 

Denying Drake a chance to respond, Lamar followed “Euphoria” with the release of “6:16 in LA.” In it, Lamar taunts Drake by revealing that he has supporters within Drake’s very own music label, OVO, over a futuristic synthetic beat. Hot off of “Euphoria’s” flying tempo, Lamar in “6:16 in LA” stabilizes the tempo. Drawing from his past album “DAMN’s” mellifluous melodies, Lamar prepares a psychedelic melody in “6:16 in LA” centered around sending Drake into a permanent sleep. 

Although Drake swiftly responded with a solid “Family Matters,” Lamar retaliated with his third song “Meet the Grahams,” where he brutally accuses Drake of being a pedophile, absent father and generally sick man over a chilling piano instrumental. Although the song melodically becomes repetitive, the deadly accusations Lamar lobs at Drake fill in the gaps the song itself leaves. 

Finally, in his most recent release, “Not Like Us,” Lamar buries Drake under a snazzy beat and sassy lyrics. The standard beat in “Not Like Us” and straight rapping incorporates  appeal to a wide audience of listeners. Overall, Lamar chooses to dig Drake’s grave in “Not Like Us” with a classic rap shovel, with each diss tearing out the dirt which is entrenched in Drake's record label OVO. 

With each track Lamar releases, his lyricism exponentially improves. In the same vein, as Lamar’s ego skyrockets with each release, his actions are increasingly reintroducing the rap industry to conflict mediation through insults and a slick beat, much to my excitement.


About the contributors

James Yu

staff writer

James Yu is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer for The Charger Account. During his free time, he's obsessing over Speech and Debate, an active Boy Scout, and hanging out with friends.

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