At 4:33am on Wednesday morning, the rapper Drake tweeted out a SoundCloud link that caused the Internet to nearly implode.
The song? “Back To Back Freestyle.” The artwork? A symbolic celebratory shot from Toronto’s win against Philadelphia in the 1993 World Series (their second consecutive championship, back-to-back). The verse? A scathing response to detractors everywhere, especially one in particular.
The diss track is the latest in an ongoing beef between rappers Drake and Meek Mill, of Toronto and Philadelphia, respectively. It all started over a week ago when Meek tweeted allegations about Drake ghostwriting his “R.I.C.O.” feature on Meek’s just-released album.
(Former top adviser to President Obama gave Meek props on this “brilliant marketing”)
And just like that, a mere 125 characters sparked a firestorm across the Internet and in the media questioning both Drake’s rapping abilities and the authenticity of MC's across the industry.
Meek followed up his statement with a tweetstorm, including the following highlights:
Apparently, the call-out came about because Drake didn't tweet support for Meek Mill's new album Dreams Worth More Than Money which hit #1 on the Billboard 200 (Meek called out Wale for this reason earlier in the week). Not to mention, Drake’s current ubiquity in the culture made him a prime target. The Toronto MC has certainly seen his share of recent successes; even Kanye West admitted that Drake is currently the “hottest rapper in the game.” After releasing a surprise mixtape in February that immediately shot to #1 (and spawned countless hits), hopping onto others’ tracks with features and viral remixes that subsequently became hip-hop radio hits, and headlining the summer festival circuit, Drake is undoubtedly at the top of his game.
Once the headlines began popping up in response to Meek Mill’s ghostwriting allegations, it looked like Drake’s crown might be under question. The initial response across the web was mixed, with questions swirling around Drake’s legitimacy, fellow rappers coming to his defense, and others pointing to a history of ghostwriting in hip-hop.
Drake himself was silent on the issue (apart from an alleged Instagram comment to a fan) until Sunday when he responded in the best way he could — with a diss rap called "Charged Up." In grand fashion, Drake dropped the track on his Beats 1 “OVO SOUND” global radio show where he played the song four times in a row.
The song was seemingly tame but, as we now know, it was only a taste of what was to come. Several days passed with rumblings of a Meek response track that never materialized. Meek, however, did share his thoughts on "Charged Up" via Twitter.
Early on Tuesday morning, Drake was back with more. He dropped “Back To Back Freestyle” after a late night in the studio.
Among other things, Drake called out Meek's opening act on his girlfriend Nicki Minaj’s tour: “Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?” He responded to the ghostwriting allegations with: “This for y’all that think that I don’t write enough / They just mad ‘cause I got the Midas touch.” And on.
The Internet erupted.
Complex Magazine summarized it best: Drake is playing a game of chess and he has Meek Mill in check.
When and how will Meek Mill respond? His latest post on Instagram suggests something is in the works.
[via @meekmill on Instagram: Right now I'm on the road still cashing out ..... Ima b in the studio soon....]
On Thursday night, Meek Mill released his own diss track called "Wanna Know" featuring Quentin Miller, Drake's alleged ghost-writer.
The Internet, once again, erupted. Reactions to the track varied, but the overwhelming sentiment on Twitter was not impressed. Some said that Meek took too long to respond, while others said that they expected more from the Philly rapper who grew up participating in street rap battles.
Drake took to Instagram to respond, posting a caption-less photo that garnered over 775,000 likes.
Does Drake have an unfair advantage in this beef thanks to his position in popular music? Was the entire back-and-forth a deliberate publicity stunt sparked by Meek Mill? How will the saga end? Only time will tell.