Kendrick Lamar Has New Taunts For Drake In ‘Rolling Stone’ Cover Story
"I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter"
With Kendrick Lamar’s album DAMN going double platinum and the corresponding tour becoming 2017’s hottest ticket, this has been the year of Kung-Fu Kenny. The latest feather in the Compton rapper’s hat is a cover story feature in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which dubs him “The Greatest Rapper Alive,” a sentiment that many—including Kendrick, and Mass Appeal—have already declared.
More provocative, however, is Kendrick’s thoughts on rappers who use ghostwriters. “I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter,” he says, when asked about his own ghostwriting for Dr. Dre. “If you’re saying you’re a different type of artist and you don’t really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won’t be there.”
Of course Kendrick’s rival Drake has been at the center of his own ghostwriting controversy since Meek Mill tweeted that the 6ix God “don’t write his own raps” back in 2015. While Kendrick doesn’t directly mention Drake, you might imagine he had his Toronto peer—who’s also claimed to be hip-hop’s top spitter—on his mind. They’ve been trading subliminal jab since Kendrick’s name-calling verse on Big Sean’s “Control” in 2014.
When the interviewer asks whether his no. 1 record “Humble” makes him a pop artist, Kendrick says not many can have a hit record and “still have that integrity at the same time.” In case those subs weren’t enough, he adds, “Not many can do it … wink-wink. Still, have them raps going crazy on that album and have a Number One record, wink-wink.”
It’s important to note that despite having an all-time record of 150-plus tracks on the Billboard Hot 100, Drake’s top-five highest charting tracks are sung songs like “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and “Find Your Love.” His highest-charting rap song is the Meek Mill-aimed diss track “Summer Sixteen,” which peaked at No. 6. Meanwhile, Kendrick has hit Billboard’s top spots via straight bars.
Kendrick Lamar closes “Element” with a provocative lyric: “There’s a difference between black artists and wack artists.” He elaborates on the line, defining a “wack artist” as someone who “uses other people’s music for their approval” and “is scared to make their own voice.”
The entire interview is a revealing breakdown of Kendrick’s current life and lyrics. And the Drake jabs come at an appropriate time, as he’s revealed that he’s hard at work on his next album. It’ll be interesting to see what next year brings and if we’ll hear any more subliminal messages fired between these two.