This Sunday, at his Summer Sixteen show in Meek’s hometown of Philadelphia, Drake continued to take shots. “Fuck that boy forever, I forever hold a grudge son,” he rapped over “Trophies.” “Man, you not really from Philly and they can tell,” he later ad-libbed. This isn’t the first time: he’s been dissing Meek all tour.
It’s been a full year now since Drake released “Charged Up” and “Back To Back.” It’s time to move on.
At this point, it’s clear that Drake had Meek Mill outmatched on a strategic level, even if some hip-hop heads would still consider their lyrical contest up for debate. The release schedule of the songs, the dance floor-ready beats and social media-ready punchlines, and a final victory lap complete with memes on the big screen at OVO Fest — it was all mapped out and executed with a chessmaster level of precision. The beef even got him a Grammy nomination. Meanwhile, it was clear that Meek Mill hadn’t thought even one move ahead — he sent his tweet about Drake having a ghostwriter without considering what to do next, and the poor judgment ultimately cost him. It was like watching Gregg Popovich coordinate a gameplan against a rookie head coach.
Drake was always the favorite to win in a battle against Meek Mill: he had the advantage in fans and public support, and even though Meek should have been a great foil because of his street credibility, Drake has the better punchlines. Approaching the beef with the hunger of the underdog is fine, but Drake carrying on like he beat the odds is strange. This isn’t a matter of showing mercy; Drake has already taken out Meek, completely and utterly. OVO Fest should have been the last time we heard from him about this.
What makes the continued shots at Meek Mill so disappointing is that they embody the same criticisms many had of Views: a refusal to take on new material, and a tendency to rest on his laurels. Why not take on any of the other rappers who have taken shots at you, veiled or otherwise? You can ignore Kendrick if you’d like, since his disses at the BET Awards and on “King Kunta” were subliminal shots. But what about Pusha T, who has been throwing rocks at the throne on wax and in interviews? Better yet, Joe Budden has released four scathing diss tracks about him; why not actually battle him on wax instead of the repeated jokes on stage? Ignoring the haters altogether would be fine, but continuing to run a victory lap for a battle you won a year ago — and clearly had the advantage in — reeks of complacency.
Meek Mill should also refuse to engage against Drake completely, any responses just further validates Drake’s incessant dwelling on the beef. It’s already going to be an uphill battle for Meek to earn back his credibility, and dissing Drake will only remind listeners of what sent his career crashing this past summer in the first place. This year, he has already dropped two phenomenal EPs – 4/4 Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 – that were largely ignored, partly because he wanted to finish his dispute with Drake. Hopefully that’s out of his system now, because he may have a fighter’s chance with his Dreamchasers 4 mixtape. Fans have memories and connections with the Dreamchasers series that go back years before this latest loss; if Meek taps into that rawness that made him a star, while showing a complete willingness to move on, he may make it out of this with a career.
When Kendrick Lamar had the music industry going nuts with his verse on “Control,” Drizzy gave a backhanded compliment in his interview with Elliott Wilson on the journalist’s CRWN series. “That verse, he’s giving people moments. That verse was a moment to talk about. … [But] are you listening to it now? At this point? It was real cool for a couple weeks,” Drake said. “When it comes to competition, I’m more worried about consistency, about bodies of work. I’m talking about hit records.” With “Charged Up” and “Back 2 Back,” Drake made a moment that will stick with many people forever. Now it’s time to take his own advice and get back to the music that matters.