It was the most one-sided rap beef since 50 Cent took on Ja Rule.
Back in mid-July, the Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, best known as the arm candy to pop superstar Nicki Minaj, launched a Twitter tirade against Drake.
Meek, who’d benefitted from a Drake co-sign early on in his career—with the Toronto rapper appearing on Meek’s mixtape Dreamchasers 2, and allowing Meek to open for him on his Club Paradise tour—claimed that Drake used a ghostwriter on their recent song “R.I.C.O.” off Meek’s album Dreams Worth More Than Money.
The song—and the album, for that matter—were in Meek’s eyes underselling, so he became incensed that Drake had failed to promote the track on his various social media channels. A full-fledged feud ensued, with various rappers taking sides—Rick Ross (Meek Mill’s boss) and Azealia Banks sided with Drizzy, while DJ Funkmaster Flex went hard for Team Meek, releasing a series of source tracks allegedly composed by Drake’s co-writer Quentin Miller.
You’re probably familiar with the rest. Drake went on to release the hits “Charged Up” and “Back to Back Freestyle,” with the latter diss track racking up over 10 million streams in its first day and ushering in a flurry of Meek-trolling memes on social media. “Is that a world tour, or your girl’s tour?” quickly made its way into the rap diss lexicon, and the song has apparently become a favorite of Selena Gomez. Meek released a weak response that largely fell on deaf ears.
Well, in a new interview with The Fader, Drake has opened up about the ghostwriting allegations and his beef with Meek Mill for the first time.
“I need, sometimes, individuals to spark an idea so that I can take off running,” said Drake of the Miller source tracks. “I don’t mind that. And those recordings—they are what they are. And you can use your own judgment on what they mean to you...If I have to be the vessel for this conversation to be brought up—you know, God forbid we start talking about writing and references and who takes what from where—I’m OK with it being me... It’s just, music at times can be a collaborative process, you know? Who came up with this, who came up with that—for me, it’s like, I know that it takes me to execute every single thing that I’ve done up until this point. And I’m not ashamed.”
Then Drake got into his beef with Meek Mill, and his first reaction to the ghostwriter allegations made on Twitter.
“I’m just gonna bring it up ’cause it’s important to me,” he said. “I was at a charity kickball game—which we won, by the way—and my brother called me. He was just like, ‘I don’t know if you’re aware, but, yo, they’re trying to end us out here. They’re just spreading, like, propaganda. Where are you? You need to come here.’ So we all circled up at the studio, and sat there as Flex went on the air, and these guys flip-flopped [about how] they were gonna do this, that, and the third.”
Later in the interview, Drake opened up about the genesis of “Back to Back Freestyle” and why he decided to record a second Meek diss track: “I was like, ‘I’m gonna probably just finish this.’ And I know how I have to finish it. This has to literally become the song that people want to hear every single night, and it’s gonna be tough to exist during this summer when everybody wants to hear [this] song that isn’t necessarily in your favor.”
Drake also said he was taken aback by Meek’s lack of preparedness in the feud, and how it took Meek a week to release a rebuttal to “Charged Up.”
“This is a discussion about music, and no one’s putting forth any music?... Nobody told you that this was a bad idea, to engage in this and not have something?... It was weighing heavy on me. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get how there was no strategy on the opposite end. I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand it because that’s just not how we operate.”
The interview was in part pegged to Drake’s new mixtape with the Atlanta rapper Future, What a Time to Be Alive, and the former Mr. Ciara gave Drizzy his seal of approval, saying, “Drake is my brother. We have a cool personal relationship, but we have an even better relationship musically.”Also, no Drake interview is complete without the ex-Degrassi star opening up about how his music is influenced by his inherent vulnerability and his openness to mining the emo boy within.
“Not being vulnerable is never gonna be my thing,” said Drake. “I’m always going to share with you what’s going on in my life...Vulnerability, to me, sometimes comes in the form of being naïve about where I am in the pecking order of all this. So I think I realize where I’m at now. And I think I realize that I’m gonna have to be OK with not having that many friends that are peers.”