The opening salvo in the latest petty piss-off between rap millionaires was fired by Pusha T, whose track “Infrared,” the closing number off his latest album Daytona, threw shade at fellow rhymesmith Drake.
“Your hooks did it / The lyrics pennin’ equals to Trump’s winnin’ / The bigger question is how the Russians did it / It was written like Nas but it came from Quentin,” rapped Pusha.
That subliminal from Virginia Beach’s finest was a knock at Quentin Miller, Drake’s co-writer—and rumored ghostwriter—whose name was originally invoked by Meek Mill during his disastrous war of words with the 6 God. (The “equals to Trump’s winnin’” bit is a little more confusing, given how Pusha’s album was entirely produced by the MAGA maniac himself, Kanye West.)
Even though Daytona dropped the morning of May 25, Drake managed to shoot back with a full-blown diss track that very evening. Don’t mess with the man when he’s in album mode.
Titled “Duppy Freestyle,” a play on Skepta’s 2006 track aimed at fellow U.K. grime rapper Megaman, it sees Drizzy dropping rapid-fire rhymes over a jazzy, laissez-faire instrumental.
And they’re pretty brutal.
After some truly hilarious posturing—“I’m in shock… The nerve! The audacity!”—“Duppy” kicks into gear with lines that take on both West and Pusha.
“So if you rebuke me for working with someone else on a couple of Vs / What do you really think of the nigga that’s making your beats? / I’ve done things for him I thought that he never would need / Father had to stretch his hands out and get it from me / I pop style for 30 hours, then let him repeat / Now, you popping up with the jokes, I’m dead, I’m asleep,” rapped Drake, referencing a pair of West tracks off The Life of Pablo that he helped pen in “Father Stretch My Hands” and “30 Hours,” as well as their team-up “Pop Style” (the Pablo track “Facts” also samples the Drake and Future tune “Jumpman”).
There are other verbal jabs sprinkled throughout, with Drake poking fun at West’s label G.O.O.D. Music, of which Pusha serves as president (“You’re not even top 5, as far as your label talent goes”); Pusha’s alleged cocaine-pushing background (“You might’ve sold some college kids some Nikes and Mercedes / But you act like you sold drugs for Escobar in the ’80s”); and accusing the duo of creatively stifling Virgil Abloh (“I could never have a Virgil in my circle and hold him back ’cause he makes me nervous / I wanna see my brothers flourish to their higher purpose / You niggas leeches and serpents / I think it’s good that now the teachers are learning”).
Of course, the claim that West and Pusha held back Virgil Abloh, who now serves as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection—and was a virtual unknown before working with West—seems pretty absurd coming from Drake, who snatched four tracks from The Weeknd for his sophomore LP Take Care, thus pillaging his protégé’s major-label debut (RIP OVOXO).
Drake’s track ends with yet another West slam: “Tell ‘Ye we got an invoice comin’ to you / Considering we just sold another 20 for you.”
Pusha responded to the song with a tweet-demand: “Send the invoice for the extra 20…”
And then Drake, not to be outdone, posted an invoice to Instagram for $100,000 addressed to G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam, with the reference line: “Promotional assistance and career reviving.”
To be fair, Kanye West has shepherded many more artists to success than Drake; then again, West himself admitted back in 2014 that Drake had stolen the rap crown off his head.
Things have certainly escalated since the days when these two were dissing each other’s pool size.