Kendrick’s ‘Euphoria’ is one of the best diss songs in hip-hop history

By greatbritton

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Kendrick has responded and it is glorious. “Euphoria” is one of the great diss records of hip-hop history. The noise you hear reverberating throughout the culture is K Dot fans cheering like crazy. Only the stannyest of Drake stans could say Drake is winning now. 

A few of the moments from “Euphoria” that stand out to me.

1. Kendrick tells Drake to stop saying the n-word.

This is a more subtle and nuanced way of saying what Rick Ross said on “Champagne Moments” when he was calling Drake a “white boy.” Kendrick is not straight up calling Drake white, and he’s not exactly saying he’s not Black, but he is saying you’re not using the n-word correctly and your right to use it is being revoked. This is huge — if the language were a keyboard with each word equaling one key, the n-word would be the most important and most often used key in hip-hop culture. It is the word MCs say more than any other. For Kendrick to attack Drake’s right to use it is to say you’re not a real MC. And it’s a way of Kendrick out-Blacking him, a notion that Drake cannot come back from. Kendrick continues the theme when he says, “How many more Black features ‘til you finally feel that you Black enough?” In that sentence features are a double entendre for facial features (as in plastic surgery) and appearing on songs (as in Drake jumping on Black artists’ songs). Kendrick also says “You never had FUBU in your collection.” Another way of saying you ain’t really Black. You ain’t really one of us. You ain’t really part of the culture. This is a devastating cut.

Recommended Stories

2. Kendrick calls Drake a deadbeat dad.

K says, “I got a son to raise, but I can see you don’t know nothin’ bout that. Wakin’ them up, know nothin’ bout that. And tell ‘em to pray, know nothin’ bout that. And givin’ ‘em tools to walk through life like day by day, know nothin’ bout that.” This is a real, honest, and nasty diss. K is saying, I’m a real father and you’re not. I don’t bring my kid out for occasional photo ops. I’m in the day-to-day grind of raising a man. You aren’t. Raising children is truly important life work, far more so than making hip-hop songs. This is one of the most demeaning things you can say about Drake. This line of attack is, in large part, why Pusha T won his battle with Drake but in Kendrick’s mouth, it’s about more than trying to win a battle. It’s about saying you’re not a real man because you’re not a real father.  

3. Kendrick says he needs to aim down.

“The very first time I shot me a drac [a Draco pistol] the homie had told me that ‘Aim it this way.’ I didn’t point down enough. Today I show you I learn from those mistakes.” This is a poetic, visual and artful way of saying I am above you and for me to shoot you I need to aim downward. It’s also a way of saying I have actually shot guns. Have you? No? Oh.

4. Kendrick says I am your father.

Kendrick’s line on “Like That” — “Prince outlived Mike Jack” — was answered by Drake on “Push Ups” with “What’s a Prince to a King? A son.” Now K has one-upped Drake with “Got a Benjamin and a Jackson all in my house like I’m Joe, OK.” Like he’s Joe Jackson. Drake loves to call himself the Michael Jackson of hip-hop. Joe Jackson was M.J.’s father. This is powerful because the meaning of the line — I’m sonning you — is matched by the intelligence we see in the line. Kendrick takes Drake’s retort and retorts in a smarter way. Drake really isn’t built for a battle like this. He really ain’t.

5. Kendrick hates Drake.

“I hate the way that you walk, the way that you talk. I hate the way that you dress.” 

The raw loathing is a lot. 

This song is witty, catchy, powerful, and far beyond Drake’s lyrical capability. And it’s a song laced with real hatred. This ain’t a game. Drake should lay down his pen and walk away before it gets worse.

Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.

Source link

&description=" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-save="true">

Leave a Reply