Is Drake Trying to Tell Us About a Kendrick Response Through Vybz Kartel Clues?

Put on your tinfoil hats, because we think Drake might be using Vybz Kartel references as clues about an impending diss track.


The rap world has been anxiously anticipating Drake’s response to Kendrick Lamar’s “Like That” verse, and he’s been leaving cryptic messages on social media over the past few weeks. The most interesting clue is centered around Jamaican dancehall musician Vybz Kartel. Drake posted an Instagram Story of a Vybz Kartel shirt draped over a microphone in the studio, and now producer Boi-1da has shared a picture of the dancehall legend in military fatigues, leading fans to theorize that he might be producing the response track. 

Stay with us while we pull out a spool of red string and start connecting the dots of this theory, but are these Vybz Kartel references foreshadowing the tone of a potential diss song? Is Vybz Kartel the link that connects all of this? Follow us down this rabbit hole as we break down all the Vybz Kartel-related clues that might lead to Drake’s diss track.

What is Drake’s connection to Vybz Kartel?

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Drake, a rapper who has collaborated frequently with dancehall artists over the years, called Vybz Kartel “one of [his] biggest inspirations” in his 2016 interview with Nardwuar, saying, “Vybz Kartel is one of my biggest inspirations—like, one of my favorite artists. You want to talk about a guy that is coming out of a place that has their own thing, their own culture, and absolutely just taking over to becoming the one person to idolize.”

Why did Drake include a Vybz Kartel shirt in his Instagram Story in the studio?

Drake and Noel working 👀

— Drake Fan Page (@DrakeDirect_) April 2, 2024
Twitter: @DrakeDirect_
On April 2, Drake posted a photo of a studio with a Vybz Kartel shirt draped over the mic. More specifically, the shirt featured artwork from Vybz Kartel’s 2003 album, Up 2 Di Time, which comes from an era when the dancehall singer was still aligned with The Alliance, a collection of prominent dancehall DJs founded by Bounty Killer. Kartel notably split from Alliance in 2006 and dropped a diss track about the collective the following year. On the explosive song, he took shots at all of his competition. Naturally, Drake’s decision to post that specific shirt at a time like this has left fans speculating that he is hinting at a similar move. Could he be separating himself from the “Big 3” pack and dissing the entire rap game with one explosive record? That would certainly be “nuclear,” like Joe Budden predicted.

Why did Boi-1da post Vybz Kartel as well?

Drake & Boi1da both posted pictures of Vybz Kartel on their IG Story 👀

"Drake might have just posted this shirt to show support for the dancehall singer who recently had his murder conviction appealed, or it could be a way to send a cryptic message in reference to Kartel…

— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) April 11, 2024
Twitter: @ComplexMusic
This is where the plot really thickens. On Wednesday night, frequent Drake producer Boi-1da posted a zoomed-in photo of Vybz Kartel on his Instagram Story, depicting an iconic moment in the dancehall world when Kartel and fellow dancehall legend Movado clashed onstage at Sting in 2008. It marked an inflection point in the dancehall world because Vybz Kartel and Movado were two of the scene's most popular stars at the time, and when the event took place, Movado notably arrived onstage with a massive crew, while Kartel took on the rivaling group alone. Fans have been drawing parallels between this moment and the potential of Drake going up against an army of other artists including Future, Metro Boomin, Kendrick, and Rick Ross.

Why did Akademiks post Vybz Kartel, too?

How does all of this connect to a Drake diss track?

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