Drake’s Slaying of Meek Mill: How the Rappers Went From Best of Friends to Best of Enemies
Yes, the Toronto emcee and Philly rapper were once tourmates, and Drake even donated $75,000 to Meek’s high school. Here’s how their relationship gradually went south.
Late Thursday, and after a week of utter silence, Meek Mill emerged from the studio with a diss track aimed at his newfound nemesis Drake. Titled “Wanna Know,” the track premiered during DJ Funkmaster Flex’s radio show and included a sampling of alleged Drake ghostwriter Quentin Miller’s reference track to the Drizzy song “Know Yourself” off his fourth album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, as well as some violent threats against the Toronto rapper:“We the type of n----s tie your mother up / Fuck your sister in the ass and hit your brother up, pussy / You really sweet, I’ll call you Buttercup.”
The track, with its weak rhymes and dubious flow, was met with a collective shrug. After all, Drake had just unleashed not one, but two impressive diss tracks against Nicki Minaj’s boyfriend in the same amount of time it took him to cook up “Wanna Know.” The latter of these, “Back to Back,” took the Internet by storm when it was released early Wednesday, with Drizzy asking Meek, “Is that a world tour, or your girl’s tour?” and claiming that Meek was nothing more than Nicki’s wife. It’s been streamed more than 11 million times since.
Once upon a time, however, Meek Mill and Drake were—seriously—friends.
Or at least they were friendly. Long before Mill went on a Twitter tantrum against Drake, accusing the former Degrassi star-turned-emcee of using a ghostwriter for his raps, the two had a nice enough relationship, collaborating on songs, fighting over girls, and making fun of other people’s wardrobes together.
It started, as all good rap friendships do, with a song.
In May 2012, Drake featured on Mill’s song “Amen,” back when Meek was just a young (if well-liked) upstart.
A couple of weeks later, while Meek was opening for Drake on the latter’s “Club Paradise” tour, the two rappers and Chris Brown got into a three-way Twitter spat over Rihanna, who both Brown and Drake officially dated and Meek was rumored to be dating, with Meek and Drake forming a united front of sorts against Breezy.
Drake showed even more love towards Meek by extending his generosity to Mill’s alma mater, Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia. In October 2013, Drake donated $75,000 to the school, once known for being one of the most dangerous schools in America, to build a recording studio. While that was perhaps less a gesture toward Meek and more toward the students, with Drizzy unveiling the fit during a tour stop in Philly, it was still an act of goodwill. “This is about you. This is about your principal. This is about your future,” Drake said as the students screamed with joy. “I love you. I care about you. I want to see you succeed.”
That sturdy bond between them lasted for quite a while. In April 2014, Drake tweeted about how much he loved Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” intro, calling it “one of the best rap moments of our generation.”
And nothing is a stronger sign of friendship than making fun of someone else together, which is exactly what Meek and Drake did in February of this year. The comedian Kevin Hart posted an Instagram photo of himself wearing a black leather sleeveless shirt, and Drake and Meek both had a ball shaming him for the sartorial gaffe:
Though, to be fair, Drake shouldn’t be making fun of anyone else’s wardrobe choices—just see his Governor’s Ball pants.
Sadly, all these special moments together weren’t enough to save the friendship.
Last month, Mills and Drake collaborated on another song together, “R.I.C.O,” off Meek’s new album Dreams Worth More Than Money. And though the album performed well and spent two weeks in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, Meek was a bit peeved that Drake did not do enough to promote the song. Hence, on July 21, Meek accused Drake of using a ghostwriter, Quentin Miller, to write his lyrics for him.
This was the beginning of an enormous (and ongoing) Internet feud between them, with many hip-hop luminaries taking sides. Rick Ross, who’s collaborated with Drake on numerous tracks yet signed Meek Mill to his Maybach Music Group (MMG) imprint back in 2011, sided with Drake, while longtime Drake nemesis Chris Brown trolled the whole episode, and Azealia Banks seemed to be Team Drizzy:
Meanwhile, longtime Drake collaborator Noah “40” Shebib called BS on the Meek claim, tweeting, “Theres countless number ones and songs drake has written for others never mind himself, thats the funny part lol!” And Meek was put in the awkward position of issuing a very public apology onstage to his girlfriend—and longtime Drake pal/labelmate/rumored paramour—Nicki Minaj:
Radio DJ Funkmaster Flex then butted into the fray, and proceeded to release a series of “reference tracks” by Quentin Miller for the Drake songs “10 Bands,” “Know Yourself,” “Used To,” and his Meek Mill collab “R.I.C.O.” On Monday, Funk Flex also promised a Meek Mill retaliation track to his listeners, but it never came, leading to protesters whipping up a petition to have Flex removed from the airwaves, and fellow radio personality Charlamagne Tha God labeling Flex “Donkey of the Day.”
Even politicians got involved, wtih Toronto City Councillor Norm Kelly entering the fray and defending his fellow countryman Drake by tweeting the following to Meek Mill:
Interestingly enough, Meek chose to start in with Drake right before a series of shows in Toronto this week. He was still allowed into the city (sorry, Norm), though crowds greeted him with a loud chorus of boos.
Drake was initially silent in the press, merely issuing an Instagram DM to rapper Hitman Holla saying, “I signed up for greatness. This comes with it”:
But Drake didn’t remain silent for long.
The 28-year-old rapper went on to release two songs in response to Meek’s accusations, “Charged Up,” which Mills called “baby soft lotion,” and then the much more aggressive “Back to Back.” Drake was pretty direct about who the song was dedicated to, spitting the lyrics, “This for y’all who think that I don’t write enough / They just mad ’cuz I got the midas touch” and “trigger fingers turn to twitter fingers.” The track went viral, collecting over 11 million listens so far, and the #BackToBack trended on Twitter all day Wednesday, along with many, many memes of Drake clowning Meek Mill:
Drake even followed through with one of the lines in the song, sending six bottles of Dom Perignon champagne to Charlamagne Tha God for taking his side against Flex and Meek in the beef.
Aside from his onstage apology to Nicki, Meek’s response to these songs had been relatively quiet, save a 15-second troll track of someone shrieking and a tweet of the letter “Z” when “Back to Back” came out. He explained his silence (somewhat) on Instagram, posting a photo of himself clutching a big pile of money with a caption that said he’s on “the 5 hr ride to Montreal” but he would be “in the studio soon.”Well, Meek finally released his long-awaited response and… it was terribly lame. Just after the retaliation track dropped, someone (Drake?) took it upon him/herself to alter Meek’s Wikipedia page, and it’s a doozy:
And Drake responded on Instagram with the following image: