Editorials

Hip Hop or High School?: The Meek Mill v Drake Controversy

Over the past few years I’ve been growing away from hip hop. Maybe it’s just because my taste is changing, but I’ve decided it’s because its become some kind of a bad soap opera. Let me explain…

In the past week it seems like every other post on a hip hop blog is about Drake and his alleged ghost writer. For those who don’t follow hip hop much, Meek Mill, a rapper who prides himself in authenticity, called out Drake for using a verse he hadn’t personally written on Meek’s song “R.I.C.O.“. Of course, the start of the beef led the entire hip hop community to take their positions on the battlefield – or rather, the comments section of hip hop blogs.

Other artists got involved, throwing out names of supposed ghost writers, defending the honor of a fellow friend, or giving the public a basic lesson in reading credits. In the midst of it all, one name in particular stuck: Quentin Miller (based on his name being credited as a songwriter on genius.com). The accused then defended himself and his big hero Drizzy Drake. Drake himself then dropped a song called “Charged Up” in retaliation with some mediocre lines about how Meek’s struggling with sales or something and some shots at him and girlfriend Nicki Minaj. The whole thing was like some sort of high school drama.

Anyways, all of this naturally begged the question: why do people give a shit? Sure, I think that artists claiming authenticity shouldn’t also be having some guy in the background doing all his dirty work while he claims the fame, but ghost writing has always been present in hip hop. And lets be honest, the vast majority of people won’t stop listening to Drake because he has someone else writing his verses. I don’t know about you, but if I listen to Drake it’s not for his intricate lyrics. This is the man that the mainstream hip hop community has taken in and worshipped as a god since “Best I Ever Had” dropped on So Far Gone; his fans aren’t going to believe it regardless of how concrete the evidence is.

So, assuming people don’t really care that Drake has a “ghost writer,” why is this big enough of a story to take up two to three stories a day on the biggest hip hop blogs? Well, this is where we have started to fall out. The hip-hop media has stooped so low it’s sounding more like TMZ; hip hop artists have started to sound like my teenage sister and her friends; and most of the fans are eating it up faster than people hopped on 2 Chainz’ sack after “Mercy” dropped. If the older stuff like Wu Tang, Mobb Deep, Pac and Biggie are like The Wire for all its’ grit and serious controversy, the new stuff is like Gossip Girl. Everyone is looking for the next melodramatic scandal to make a huge deal out of. Whether it’s ghost writing, or which rapper happens to be with Nicki Minaj, these petty feuds seem to be the driving force of hip-hop these days. I mean, this Drake and Meek beef has garnered more attention than Birdman’s suspected murder plot on Lil Wayne.

Regardless, this has been happening for a while, and this “beef” is just another incident of many telling me to give up on mainstream hip hop. I do think its good we have distanced ourselves from the picture painted by Like Toy Soldiers a decade ago, but at least it wasn’t so superficial. While there are still a few out there I love trying use rap in a positive way, Kendrick and J. Cole are going to need a little more help from people who understand that just saying you are the savior of hip hop isn’t actually going to do anything for hip hop.

So to those hypebeasts out there, I’ll leave you with this DOOM quote:

“To me, from the musical aspect, hip-hop is going in the direction where it’s like almost damn near 100 percent of everything besides the music. Like what you look like, the sound of your name, to what you’re wearing, whatever intoxicants you choose to put in your body, to, you know, everything except for what the music sounds like. The mask is really a testament to yo, it’s not about none of that. It’s straight about the wreck.” 

Check out Drake’s latest Meek Mill retaliation below at your own risk:

Editor’s note: Does Drake’s “Back To Back” freestyle intro remind anyone else of this?

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