Kendrick Lamar Just Dissed Drake and J. Cole. Here’s Why.

Kendrick Lamar sent shots at Drake and J. Cole on “Like That.” Here’s a breakdown of the diss and a full explanation of how we got here.


Kendrick Lamar just sent shots at both Drake and J. Cole.

On Future and Metro Boomin’s new album We Don’t Trust You, Kendrick dedicates his “Like That” verse to refuting the concept of rap’s “Big 3,” commenting on Drake’s “sneaking dissing,” and poking fun at the Drake-Cole collab “First Person Shooter.”

On “Like That,” Metro cleverly samples Eazy E’s “Eazy-Duz-It” to set the stage for Kendrick, who gets everything off his chest about the cold war that’s been brewing between him and Drake over the past decade. The track is riddled with elite wordplay and real rapping, but the road to this diss record feels sudden. Here’s a breakdown of how we got here.

What did Kendrick say and what does it mean?

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Kendrick did not mince his words on “Like That,” sending several direct shots at Drake and some subliminals for J. Cole.

Midway through the verse, Kendrick raps, “Fuck sneak dissin', ‘First Person Shooter,’ I hope they came with three switches,” referencing Drake and Cole’s collaborative track on For All The Dogs. Kendrick is calling out how Drake notoriously loves sending subliminal shots without dropping names in his disses, and Cole gets included in the diss because of how Kendrick says he “hopes they came with three switches.” It seems Kendrick hasn’t enjoyed seeing Drake and Cole forming such a close public alliance recently, going on tour together and constantly praising each other, so he includes bars like, “Niggas clickin' up, but cannot be legit.”

Kendrick goes on to rap, “Motherfuck the ‘Big 3,’ nigga, it’s just big me/I’m really like that/And your best work is a light pack/Nigga, Prince outlived Mike Jack.”

Here, he overtly rejects the concept of the “Big 3” narrative that positions Drake, Cole, and Kendrick as the three best rappers alive, choosing instead to crown himself as the lone king, like he’s done before. He also shits on Drake’s discography by calling his best project a “light pack,” before slyly using Drake’s affinity for Michael Jackson against him by likening himself to Prince, another music legend who lived longer, before closing the verse with his most clever wordplay on the track: “For all your dogs getting buried/That’s a K with all these 9s, he ‘gon see Pet Semetary.” The “K” and “9” refer to Kendrick’s initial and a 9-millimeter gun, as well as “canine,” which connects to his previous line that’s about Drake’s For All The Dogs album

The verse is littered with shots at Drake. Earlier in the verse, Kendrick raps, “D-O-T, the money, power, respect/The last one better/It’s a lot of goofies with a check,” calling back the iconic LOX song, but also saying that respect is more important than money and power, leading to a double entendre about “a lot of goofies with a check,” which references Drake’s Nike endorsement.

Why did he come after Drake and Cole now?

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Drake and J. Cole have been friends for a long time (remember the video of them buying hundreds of copies of Born Sinner at Target a decade ago?) but they’ve been spending much more time together ever since Drake performed at Dreamville Fest 2023. On tour together over the last few months, they’ve given each other flowers onstage several times, and their No. 1 record “First Person Shooter” features a hook that’s focused entirely on how Drake and Cole are “as big as the Super Bowl.” Kendrick hasn’t dropped any new solo music since 2022’s Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, and given how active both Drake and Cole have been over the last two years, the conversation of the “Big 3” has become more squarely focused on these Big 2 recently, which might have fired up Kendrick’s competitive energy and pulled him away from those backyard workouts.

Why do Kendrick and Drake have tensions?

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The cold war between Drake and Kendrick Lamar has been bubbling for a long time now, dating all the way back to 2013 when Kendrick dropped “Control” and Drake seemingly sent a subliminal at him later that year on “The Language” when he rapped, “I don’t know why that they been lyin/ But your shit is not that inspirin.” Kendrick immediately shot back during TDE’s 2013 BET Cypher when he said, “And nothing’s been the same since they dropped ‘Control’ and tucked the sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes.” 

Ever since then, there have been back-and-forth subliminals between the two for years, and some fans have theorized that Drake’s recent comments about not wanting to take a break from music in the form of “super-lengthy disappearances for the sake of mystery” might have been a shot at Kendrick, who is famously mysterious and even said that he had gone “months without a phone” during his time away from the public eye before dropping Mr. Morales & The Big Steppers. These guys have been very competitive with each other for the majority of their careers, and these petty jabs have now culminated in Kendrick sending direct shots at Drake.

Why did Cole get dissed, too?

Is Future beefing with Drake, too?

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Fans are speculating that the title track of We Don’t Trust You includes shots at Drake from Future, who repeats, “Fake written all over you/Hate written all over you” throughout the song. At first glance, these lines could refer to literally anyone who has crossed Future, but in the second verse, he raps, “You a nigga number one fan dog/Sneak dissin, I don’t understand dog/Pillow talkin, actin like a fed dog/I don’t need another fake friend dog,” which is clearly aimed at someone more specific, and people think it’s Drake. 

The two of them have been close for a very long time, so Future could be referencing Drake when talking about “fake friends,” and the Toronto rapper has a history of so-called “sneak dissing” in his songs and on social media. This is all speculative, but considering the recent beef between Metro Boomin and Drake, and the fact that Future allowed Kendrick’s diss to be on his album, the fans might be on to something here.

Why is Metro Boomin in the middle of it all?

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Metro Boomin and Drake have been quietly feuding for months now, even though the Atlanta producer claimed he had no problems with the OVO rapper at the end of last year. "Are u and Drake seriously beefing or is it not that deep," a fan asked Metro in a since-deleted series of tweets. Metro responded by saying, "Not deep at all lmao," but based on the lyrics in We Don’t Trust You, these sentiments clearly didn’t last. 

Back in December, Metro tweeted and deleted criticism about award shows, clearly upset that Drake and 21 Savage’s Her Loss won more awards than his album Heroes & Villains. "Her Loss still keeps winning rap album of the year over H&V,” Metro tweeted. “Proof that award shows are just politics and not for me. Idc about awards honestly, the true award and REWARD is knowing that the music I spend so much time on brings joy to peoples everyday lives."

Drake responded to these comments in a livestream shortly after, calling out all of the tweet-and-deleters. “And to the rest of you,” he said, “the non-believers, the underachievers, the tweet-and-deleters, you guys make me sick to my stomach, fam.” The two have since unfollowed each other on social media as well.

Metro hasn’t sent any direct shots at J. Cole, but fans have unearthed a tweet from 2011 where Metro called Cole’s music boring. “Don’t get me wrong. J. Cole is talented,” he tweeted at the time. “Anytime I can’t sleep, Friday Night Lights puts a nigga out cold. Sleep on track 1.” That was over a decade ago, however, and in Cole’s first Might Delete Later vlog, he revealed that he was in the studio at the same time as Metro, and even made a point to compliment the producer’s well-crafted beats, so it’s unclear if the two still have any lingering issues.

What’s going to happen next?

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