The biggest beef in rap right now is between Drake and Joe Budden—that is, if you believe Joe Budden. As of today, Joe has released two thinkpiece raps attacking Drake entitled "Making a Murderer (Part 1)" and "Wake." And some of y'all are so thirsty for beef, y'all are eating it up. Many of you bemused observers likely heard the recent episode of Joe's podcast in which he painstakingly points out all the alleged subs Drake sent his way on the June release (and best rap verse of that month) "4PM in Calabasas." The first time I listened to the podcast, I had visions of Alex Jones and gay frogs. It was like watching false flag conspiracy theory YouTube videos. Not only did Joe say that the "your whole demeanor spells envy" line is about him—get it? Jealous Ones Envy—he also said that the "Cris bottle sender, check picker upper" line is about him as well:
"Drake has been nothing but a gentleman to me. I don't ever remember having to pay for anything around Drake and I'm sure there's been bottles."
Coincidentally, as this so-called beef unfolds, the Jersey rapper has a single out with Tory Lanez and Fabolous, and a new album on the way (Rage & the Machine, with araabMUZIK). So, yeah, this is a brilliant marketing strategy.
The first diss record, "Making a Murderer (Part 1)" is dumb long, ultimately sounding like teachers talking to Charlie Brown. The second shot, "Wake," is much better—the verse is tighter, the beat easier on the language. But both still feel a little like: "Hey, notice me. Please respond, please." The jabs sound like Budden read a bunch of Meek vs. Drake thinkpieces and went into the booth. He references Drake's ongoing subfest with Pusha T, that Drake is possibly stealing PARTYNEXTDOOR songs for himself, and Drake's habit of hopping on popular tracks from up-and-coming artists, like Makonnen and Fetty Wap. We've been here before. Any rap critic could've made these arguments.
Joe Budden has said he loves Drake on multiple occasions in recent days, and that's precisely why the diss records fall flat for me. They aren't personal enough. His Drake slights are all things that have been said before, whereas Meek accused him of not writing his raps and getting urinated on by one of T.I.'s homeboys. In other words, insider stuff. It doesn't feel truly personal, the way the Meek beef did. The stakes aren't high.
Maybe more than most people, I would love to see Drake get his ass handed to him. But this "beef" is being staged like the moon landing. I have yet to be convinced that "4PM in Calabasas" is about Joe, even with the Genius-dot-com annotations he kindly provided. Other evidence of this feud relies on you believing that Joe owns the phrase "pump it up." When French Montana posted a snippet of Drake rapping said phrase a few weeks back, Twitter exploded with speculation, saying it was a jab towards Budden for saying Drake didn't show growth on Views on one of his podcast episodes.
So Joe has released two diss records based on a snippet of an unreleased song and the off chance a Diddy diss record is also about him. He's acting like Leonardo DiCapario in Shutter Island; he thinks he's getting off the island but it's really all in his head. Whatever it is Budden is trying to accomplish is working because I'm writing about him and he has Rap Twitter in a frenzy.
But Aubrey has proven to be Teflon because his core fans don't care about rap's unwritten rules. Of course, Budden could be doing this for the sport to get a response out of Drake—which is fine, I guess. I would believe it if he didn't have a single out. While we wait for Drizzy to clap back, I'm still waiting for Joe to respond to Lil B.
"Joe Budden, Joe Booty, what the fuck is your name?" is still one of the funniest diss lines of all time. Drake responding to Joe in the same way he came back at Meek would be one hell of a plot twist. Two "real" rappers getting bodied by a singer wouldn't be good for the game at all.