If you haven’t heard (even though you probably have), Toronto entertainer, Drake, announced that he’d be releasing a new project in December called More Life. Along with this announcement, Drake released a few new tracks, some of which will most likely be featured on the new album. Among these tracks was one called “Two Birds One Stone”. On the track, Aubrey takes some jabs at Kid Cudi and Pusha T, who recently dropped the fiery “H.G.T.V. Freestyle”, in which, Pusha took shots at Drake himself: “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,” Pusha is of course referencing the infamous ghost-writing that supposedly takes place with Drake’s music. This isn’t the first time Pusha has taken issue with the Toronto crooner. A few years ago he released a track called “Exodus 23:1” that also took several shots at Drake’s legitimacy.
However, I digress.
What concerns me more than the subject of Drake’s “disses”, is the fact the many people think that attempts such as “Two Birds One Stone” are good enough to be considered quality diss tracks.
Let’s be real for a minute.
Are we really OK with putting tracks like “Back To Back” and “Charged Up” in the same category as tracks like “Ether” and “No Vaseline”? I ask this because I’ve seen many people (including notable music websites/magazines) that have been toying with this very idea. Are you people really that easily impressed? Please pull up a tab on Google of the lyrics to “No Vaseline” and compare them to those on “Back To Back”. See the difference? Because your mind should blown right now on how weak and simple Drake’s “diss” was to Meek Mill on that track compared to the lyrical onslaught that Ice Cube brought forth on “No Vaseline” towards N.W.A.
One of the most exciting elements in hip-hop is beef, whether you want to admit or not. When a rapper takes shots at another rapper, people flock to hear what that rapper has to say. The idea of a diss track is rooted in the tradition of battle rapping, which has its own underground scene. What makes battle rap so exciting is the emotion and lyrical quality brought to the table by the participating rappers. Battle rap is a display of lyrical skill in its purest form. Diss tracks also carry these same expectations: if you come at another rapper, you better bring your A-game. Over the years we’ve had tracks like “The Bridge Is Over”, “Takeover”, “Against All Odds”, “Hit Em Up”, “F*** Wit Dre Day” and many, many others that have lived up to this standard and are remembered in hip-hop history because of their tenacity and lyricism. Now songs like “Charged Up” represent the best diss tracks this decade has to offer. Really?
Let’s take a look at this new track, “Two Birds One Stone” and see what it has to offer. Pusha T is the main target in this song (for a few bars), however Drake also throws in a line about Kid Cudi (I know everyone’s flipping out about this line in particular but, to me, the line was so uninspired and boring that I didn’t really take offense to it). Here are the lines referring to Pusha T:
“I never worked to get it, 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 trying to sell that story for the rest of your lives,”
First off there is nothing subliminal about this line. There’s no coincidence that this dropped right after Pusha released his supposed diss. And while we’re on the topic, being boringly vague and ambiguous does not require skill and being “subliminal” is not the point of a diss track (*cough* “Charged Up” *cough*). In fact, it makes you look pretty wack if you can’t even bring yourself to mention the name of the rapper you’re dissing. ANYWAYS let’s take a look at the lyrics. First we’re graced with “But really it’s you with all the drug dealer stories, that’s gotta stop though,” Wow. Impressive. Not only does Drake not approve of Pusha’s drug raps but he insists that they “gotta stop though.” Next he comes through with the astounding and jaw-dropping bar: “You made a couple chops and now you think you Chapo,” Oh I get it! “Chop” sounds like “Chapo” and “Chapo” rhymes with “though”!
Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Drake (or his ghost-writer for that matter) are simply not capable of going beyond basic level rap lyrics. Trust me, listen to Views, and I mean REALLY listen to his lyrics, and you’ll totally understand (the corniness of some of the lyrics on this album is f*cking outstanding). Now one may argue that Drake isn’t the type of rapper to make lyrically deep tracks. “Drake makes hits, that’s what he’s here for.” I 100% agree with both statements. If Drake is good at one thing, it’s certainly making hit songs. Now here’s some advice: stick to the hits and stop trying to sound tough. Like I said, Drake has shown time and time again that he’s only capable of surface level lyrics. That’s part of the reason why he appeals to such a large audience. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, when you choose to write a diss track at another rapper, there are certain expectations you have to meet when it comes to lyrics and aggressiveness. Drake meets neither of these expectations. Aside from lyrics that are beyond simple, Drake’s tone and voice have the tenacity of a puppy dog. There’s no place for that on a diss track, let alone wack lyrics.
Drake simply has no place in even attempting to make a diss track.
To end this piece, I would like to direct this conversation towards individuals pondering the idea that a track like “Back To Back” is a top ten diss track of all time. There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion. If you think “Back To Back” is top ten, or even top five, you are welcome to feel that way. However, the only thing I ask of you is to do some research on the history of beef in hip-hop. Listen to some of the tracks mentioned previously, such as “No Vaseline” or “Ether”, and then ask yourself: “Does Drake really have bars like that?” If you’re a Drake fan who argues that he “makes hits” and “isn’t trying to be lyrical”, and then try to tell me that Drake has bars in “Back To Back”, you are a f*cking hypocrite.
By giving credit where credit is not due, we unknowingly lower the bar for future MCs, and therefore, lower the bar for the entire genre. As fans, we should have higher standards for our rappers.
Please, for the love of God, stopping giving credit to this guy, when it is most certainly not due.