Chess, Not Checkers: Drake Has Meek Mill In Check

Drake: 2, Meek: 0

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Complex Original

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A week ago, Meek Milllaunched a war against Drake that he's now failed to advance,much less win. On Saturday, Drake dropped "Charged Up." On Monday, Meek dropped a self-deprecating Vine. This morning, Drake dropped his "Back To Back" freestyle diss, and now he's up by two to Meek's zero.

With Drake's OVO Fest coming up this weekend in Toronto, this is looking less like a rap beef, and more like a victory lap for Drake.

How is it that Meek Mill, a battle rapper from Philly, is getting rinsed by a self-described "singing nigga" from Canada? When Meek called out Drake for having employed obscure Atlanta rapper Quentin Miller to co-write his guest verses and album cuts, he might've quickly escalated the feud and overwhelmed Drake with a crippling diss track aimed at his credibility, for one, and then all of his other known vulnerabilities. Instead, he cowered. He pump-faked.Hot 97 host Funkmaster Flex hyped Meek's anticipated reply, but it never came. Instead, Meek has wasted the past few days tweeting jokes and emojis, thus earning the dismissive and unfortunate nickname "Tweet Mill."

Meanwhile, Drake is slicing Meek's throat with quotables. From "Back to Back":

You love her, then you gotta give the world to her/Is that a world tour or your girl's tour?/I know that you gotta be a thug for her/This ain't what she meant when she told you to open up more.

What strikes me as bizarre and ill-advised is that Meek initially challenged Drake with (apparently) no immediate intention of dropping a diss track bodying Drake with all due swiftness. As Drake complains on "Back to Back," "I waited four days, nigga, where y'all at?" Meek charged into this battle with no plan and no practical appreciation for how the pace of digital existence affects this sort of thing. In the meantime, Drake has cozied up to Power 105 host Charlamagne tha God, a former foe, by buying him bottles of champagne hours after saying he would do so in song. Drake is outchea "living his raps," Charlamagne noted this morning in an Instagram caption.

Drake is playing chess with a luxurious palisander board and diamond-cut pieces. Meek Mill isn't playing chess, or even checkers; he's playing Connect Four. So far, it's no contest.

We're a few years removed from the Drake who once swore, "Diss me; you'll never hear a reply for it." Since 2012, he's humiliated Common and Tyga, and he's feuded subtly with Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Pusha T. No, Drake hasn't decisively won each of these feuds—his passive-aggressive nature prevents it, in many cases—but he has, in fact, demonstrated an industry savvy and tactical brilliance that Meek clearly lacks. When it comes to rap beef, Meek Mill isn't so distinguished; he narrowly won his feud with Cassidy (of all people), and he picked a fight with Kendrick that, in retrospect, presaged the miscalculations that Meek would eventually make in confronting Drake.

We tried to warn him. The full force of Meek's credibility as a street rapper is, so far, no match for Drake's unmatched influence, foresight, and general popularity. Diss songs aside, Drake even broke us off with "Hotline Bling," a minor, piña colada-flow ditty to underscore that none of this authenticity angst really matters so long as he keeps the hits coming. "I'm not sure what it was that really made y'all mad," Drake raps on "Back to Back," his most scathing and explicit diss yet. "But I guess this is what I gotta do to make y'all rap."

Meek: if you're reading this, it's too late.

Justin Charity is a staff writer for Complex. Follow him @BrotherNumpsa.

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