Why Drake's #BackToBack Is Good For Hip-Hop, But May Hurt His Career
We all woke up this morning to hear the "6 God" drop another diss record toward rapper Meek Mill.
This track, affectionally entitled "Back To Back" is Drake at his best.
The wittiness of his quick punchlines are enough to make any response from Meek Mill seem timid at best.
This time around, Drake is more personal, and it seems he is talking directly to Meek Mill.
But although the record is clever, timely and has an air of charm to it, this is the second time in less than a week that Drake has released a diss record without specially naming Meek Mill.
And I believe I know why.
The truth of the matter is, Drake is not a street dude.
He has ascended to the top of his sport (the rap game) by being original, cunning with his bars and moving in a very Jay Z-like manner.
Yet, this apparent beef with Meek Mill is the first time Drake has stepped out of his comfort zone and done something I didn't think was in his nature: question his own pen game.
Back in September 2013, Drake sat down with radio personality Angie Martinez, and he stated the following in regard to rap beef:
“There’s a reason why they don’t call my name. I’m not the guy. I’m not the one. I don’t like confrontation, but I’m also not the guy, especially when it comes to rap. I’m ready.”
(I won't include his feud with Chris Brown because Brown is technically not a rapper.)
In both situations, Drake dropped classic bars (verse on "Stay Schemin'" feat. Rick Ross and French Montana, and "6PM in New York" off If You're Reading This It's Too Late), and then moved on with his career.
This time, things are different. This time, the beef stems from a rapper questioning Drake's credibility as a rapper.
Let's focus on some very revealing lines off of "Back To Back" (which, at the time of this writing, is the number one trending topic in the United States):
"When I look back I might be mad that I gave this attention. Yeah, but it's weighin' heavy on my conscience"
So, Drake is admitting this isn't his usual response to rappers taking shots at him, but it makes us ask the question, why is this weighing heavy on his conscience?
Is it because Meek Mill has some credibility in saying Drake doesn't write his own raps?
Is it because Meek hasn't released a diss record back yet?
Why is this beef different from Drake's pervious beefs? All these questions will have to be answered sooner rather than later.
"I waited four days, n*gga, where y'all at? I drove here in the Wraith playin' AR-AB"
This lyric bothers me simply because it demystifies the omnipresent aura surrounding Drake as being the "6 God" to some extent.
He, like the rest of us, is watching the blogs and checking his Twitter feed to see when this Meek Mill diss record is going to drop.
Also AR-AB (aka King Ab) is a gangster rapper from Philadelphia, so this is a subtle shout out to Meek Mill's hometown.
"I'm not sure what it was that really made y'all mad. But I guess this is what I gotta do to make y'all rap"
Drake, you do know what made Meek Mill mad. We all know why he called your name out.
It's because he claims you don't write your own rhymes, which to be quite frank, you still haven't addressed.
And this is the second record in which you don't mention him by name.
"This for y'all to think that I don't write enough. They just mad cause I got the Midas touch"
This is clever line. It addresses the ghostwriting issue for a quick second, but the Midas touch line is a reach.
Drake, is it because you have a team of writers who help you pen all of these great hits that you have the "Midas touch?" Again, the fire is only fueled by not specifically acknowledging the allegations.
"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"
Drake, for the second time, sh*ts on the Meek Mill and Nicki Minaj relationship. These four bars look like they will stand the test of time as far as rap battles are concerned.
"Yeah, trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers. You gettin' bodied by a singin' n*gga"
It's a beautiful jab. The verse is well-written and probably the most effective line within the whole record.
"I didn't wanna do it, gave me every reason. The point I'm tryna make is I don't ever need 'em. Seen what you'd do for fame or what you'd do for freedom. Please, check 'em for a wire or a earpiece"
These bars bothered me because they took away from Drake's ability to "only spit facts," and they headed into a world of silliness.
Does Drake really believe that Meek Mill is an informant? That he's working for the feds?
I think these lines were just straight out lazy and uncharacteristic of Drizzy.
And reiterating that he "don't need 'em" makes the claim less effective, since he's just repeating himself.
"I took a break from Views, now it's back to that, n*gga"
Drake finishes his freestyle with this lyric, and for me, it shows that the man is not as unbothered by this beef as we all once thought.
Meek Mill's tweets forced him to step into the booth twice in the matter of four days.
If (and when) Meek releases his own diss record, will Drake have another record ready? This is my problem with Drake's strategy. This move was completely emotional and not strategic whatsoever.
He listened to the Internet world claiming his first effort was weak, so he put out another diss song before his opponent had the opportunity to respond to the first one.
I recently penned an article about how strategic Drake was when he dropped his "Charged Up" diss record.
Yet, this second diss record, though grittier than the first, is way out of character for the Toronto rapper.
It seems like he's saying his first response wasn't good enough (a sentiment expressed by many individuals online), so he went back in the booth and dropped part two.
Also, Drake sounds a bit desperate in trying to tell the world he's still the rap game's numero uno, which I think he already solidified with "Charged Up."
This "Back To Back" seems like it should have come after a response from Meek Mill.
If "Charged Up" was a 7 out of 10, then "Back To Back" is only an 8 out of 10. It's a great record in itself, but it only proves that Meek Mill did indeed get under the "6 God's" skin.
And this isn't the greatest thing for Drake's rap career.
Although this is great for the sport and the culture of rap, Drake's response is sort of like Michael Jordan coming out of retirement for the second time.
He's listening to the fans instead of his brand. Some things are just better left undone.