The Deeper Meanings Behind Kendrick’s Drake Diss “6:16 in LA”

Kendrick Lamar’s “6:16 in LA” is full of layers and double meanings. Here’s a full breakdown.

Music artist on stage wearing a shiny top and red robe, immersed in a dramatic spotlight
Europa Press News / Europa Press via Getty Images
Music artist on stage wearing a shiny top and red robe, immersed in a dramatic spotlight

Kendrick Lamar warned Drake that he’d go “back to back” on “Euphoria” earlier this week, and now he made good on that promise with “6:16 in LA.”

Dot spends much of the song surgically picking apart Drake’s OVO crew, planting seeds that there is a rat among them. This angle is especially effective given how paranoid Drake already was before all of this (on songs like “Champagne Poetry,” he raps about how his “cleaning staff’s plotting extortion” on him). 

The smooth flip of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” makes the track sound amazing even without the shots, but of course, Kendrick even found a way to hide a deeper meaning behind the sample itself, which has ties into Drake’s family (more on that below).

“6:16 in LA” is full of layered references and even more quintuple entendres,” so here’s a breakdown of all of the deeper meanings behind the track.

The title

The cover art

The music

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The song is built around a sample of Al Green’s “What a Wonderful Thing Love Is,” which has direct ties to Drake’s family. Drake’s father’s cousin, Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, was a guitarist and songwriter for Al Green, and he’s credited for playing on this specific song. The track is also rumored to be co-produced by Taylor Swift’s frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff. If that’s true, then “6:16 in LA” would literally be a “Taylor made” song. Antonoff produces a lot of Swift’s music, so this could act as a response to Drake’s AI “Taylor Made Freestyle,” where he insinuated that Kendrick has to take orders from the pop singer. Because of all this, it’s uncertain whether the song will ever hit streaming services. Clearing an Al Green sample is difficult, especially when it’s attached to a family member of the guy you’re dissing. And it’s doubtful that Antonoff wants to officially throw himself in the middle of this rap war, especially since he more than likely produced this song for Kendrick before the beef broke out and didn’t know it would be used for a diss record. Still, this was a brilliant maneuver on Kendrick’s part.

The lyrics

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