Ghost in the Machine: Drake vs. Meek Mill

What's Beef?
By    July 27, 2015


MobbDeen is never gon lose.

Given the state rap has been in for the last decade or so, I was fairly confident that I wouldn’t have to write about the latest drama engulfing our Twitter timelines. After all, rap beef is “lame” and “corny” and everyone just needs to relax and “make money” or whatever. As if rap hasn’t always been a competitive sport.

But with the aid of his ghostwriters/writing help, producers, engineers, rabid fan base, and approximately 84 hours, Drake actually responded to Meek Mill’s allegations concerning his use of ghostwriters. Real quick for those of you who either live under a rock or strictly reside on Facebook: last Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, Meek Mill went on a Twitter rant during which he alleged that Drake uses ghostwriters. He even went as far as to name one, a rapper out of Atlanta named Quentin Miller. Given Beige Gawd’s current chokehold of sorts on the rap game, Meek’s tweets essentially ripped a hole in the rap space-time continuum, or more accurately, Drake’s fans did that in their fervent and admirable efforts to defend their patron over the last few days.

To be honest, there’s really no point in rehashing every development, since a seeming majority of rap fans have decided to treat Drake as if he is Bank of America or Citigroup in 2008. It’s as if the industry and fans alike have decide that the muthacanucker is ‘too big to fail’ and they’ve decided to employ bailout strategies ranging from revisionist history and citing Drake’s commercial achievements to extremely cynical analyses and flawed analogies designed to make the guy look good, despite the evidence on offer.

Simply put, if you’re supposedly the best out, the least you can do is write your own lyrics. Obviously, there’s more to being a great rapper than being able to write great lyrics but writing your own lyrics is still an essential part of being considered a great rapper. You can still be a great rap artist without writing your own lyrics (for instance, Dr. Dre, Puffy and the GOAT in that category, Kanye West) but if you’re claiming the crown that’s been worn by elite MCs, then you should write your own shit or at least have management that’s smart enough to make sure we don’t find out that you don’t write your own shit.

To be fair, some of the greatest MCs, including my personal favorite, have been dogged by ghostwriting allegations, but in the absence of any proof backing those claims up, rap fans have continued to rest easy. In any case, I hate that I have to explain that shit, but it’s 2015 and I sadly realize that some of you think that’s too high of a standard to hold rappers to.

In Drake’s case, between the rumors I’ve personally heard for a while, scanning his album credits and most damning of all, hearing a reference track for one of the songs off Drake’s last project, I think it’s safe to say that he’s been getting help with his pen game for a minute. I mean, some guy is credited as an engineer on Drake’s debut album and then the same guy pops up on Take Care with 10 writing credits. That oughta make folks wonder. When you realize that the same guy is part of Drake’s posse and goes by the moniker “HUSH,” you stop wondering and start chuckling to yourself whenever anyone praises Drake in your presence. This Quentin Miller stuff is just bonus shit.

But back to Taupe Lawd’s response. Ya mans hopped on his Jimmy Iovine sponsored OVO Sound program on Beats One Radio and dropped a new track called “Charged Up.” If I say nothing else about this song, I have to admit that Drake simultaneously dropped the most Drakey diss possible and made the first ever diss song in the history of the genre that could fit comfortably on an Easy Listening radio format. I mean, this shit is calm as fuck. I’ll give him that.

Easy Listening notwithstanding, I have to give Drake all the credit in the world for actually taking this shit to wax. Granted, we can’t ever be sure again that he actually writes anything we hear, but he’s actually rapping instead of taking the whole “maybe if I ignore Meek, this shit will blow over” approach and that deserves a ton of credit in this age of rap. Because let’s face it: a smooth 85% of the people on my Twitter timeline and at a dinner party I attended on Friday all think that Scream Mill’s accusations, even if they’re true (which they are), are pointless since Drake isn’t going anywhere. However, almost every jab he throws at Meek is rebuttable and one would hope that an MC forged in the competitive Philly battle rap scene thinks the same, so I’ll save the spoilers in favor of some other potentially awesome shit.

The most intriguing aspect of this brouhaha is that Drake seemingly took something one could easily interpret as a shot at Nicki Minaj on “Charged Up”: “rumor has it I either fucked her or never could.” Now I dunno about you muthafuckas but where I’m from, gentlemen don’t kiss and tell, or even worse, lie on their dicks. It might not be the most egregious of shots but folks have started static for way less. If the gloves are off, then I’d really be interested in Nicki Minaj letting Meek drop a track or two to assuage his ego, then getting involved in the beef under her own auspices.

Bear with me and think this through. Nicki basically has nothing to lose by dropping a competent diss towards Drake. She can set the record straight (one way or the other) about her and Drake’s relationship if she wants to, and more importantly, she can eviscerate the top rapper in the game today on some historical shit. All she has to do is challenge his manhood a few times and use inside information she surely has. Even if the diss ain’t all that, she’d gain a ton of points for chutzpah alone. Besides, she already has the support of a wide swath of rap fans (I’m guessing around 50% by default) and there’s no way in hell Drake or any other male rapper looks good while attempting to battle a woman, especially a really good one. Best case scenario, he looks petty as hell and worst case, he looks like a disrespectful bully and that could cost him money. This shit could be colossal. To my recollection, a female MC has never taken on the arguable top dog in the game at the height of his reign. All that Roxanne shit back in the 80s wasn’t it and Lauryn Hill’s collection of acoustic soundtracked subtweets were directed at Wyclef, as opposed to a decent rapper.

Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon amused by how quickly peanut gallery chatter went from Meek Mill having support for finally dropping a decent album and not being ashamed to be open about his affection for his woman, to him being a “lame,” “cornball” and “ashy nigga” for pointing out the truth about an alleged elite MC. Probably because he was upset that he paid for a Drake verse and got a Quentin Miller verse instead. Or maybe because he scrolled through Nicki’s iPhone and found Drake’s nudes. Who the fuck knows?

The point is that dude told a truth we were all too busy ignoring for various reasons, and he’s getting mostly killed for it — because you all can’t admit that you just love Drake too much to do what should be done. Or maybe it’s because Meek isn’t actually likable enough to garner your support anyway. Maybe someone like J. Cole or Kendrick or again, NICKI, can pick up the baton later and we’ll see where your loyalties truly lie.

However, Drake* did the right thing and did it competently enough — if he wrote the shit (that’s his new name here now: Drake with an asterisk). Even though he didn’t have to do it. So I guess the next move is Meek’s. Or maybe Nicki’s? Either way, there’s really only one true winner in this whole mess: we the fans. Isn’t this exciting? Don’t you feel… *puts shades on* CHARGED UP?

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