Every Time Kendrick Lamar Took Shots At Drake

BYWyatt Westlake12.6K Views
Link Copied to Clipboard!
Screenshot 2024-03-28 at 12.02.30 PM
(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Turner), (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

With hip hop in a frenzy over his latest guest verse, we are looking at every time Kendrick Lamar took shots at Drake throughout the years.

Kendrick Lamar recently shook the hip hop community with his vicious verse on Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That.” His bars dismissed the notion of him, J. Cole, and Drake as “The Big Three.” Lamar’s lyrics also sent direct shots at Drake despite not mentioning him by name. Many were caught off guard by the disses against his former collaborator. However, Kendrick and Drake have been subliminally dissing one another throughout the past decade. Some lyrics were more direct than others, but the two have been aiming bars at each other for quite some time. 

Kendrick Lamar and Drake first teamed up in 2011 for Take Care’s “Buried Alive Interlude” before collaborating on “Poetic Justice.” They also both appeared on A$AP Rocky’s “F*ckin’ Problems.” They even toured together in 2012, with Kendrick opening for Drake on his Club Paradise Tour. With hip hop in a frenzy over his latest guest verse, we are examining at every time Kendrick Lamar took shots at Drake throughout the years. Take a look at the direct and subliminal disses.

“Control” (2013)

Kendrick Lamar and Drake’s relationship shifted dramatically following Lamar’s earth-shattering “Control” verse alongside Big Sean and Jay Electronica. The most viral moment in the song was when Kendrick rattled off the names of his contemporaries. He raps, “I'm usually homeboys with the same n*ggas I'm rhymin' with. But this is hip-hop, and them n*ggas should know what time it is.” Among these names were Sean, Jay, and many others, including Drake. While no beef officially ensued, Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse led to a series of subliminal disses and responses throughout the following decade. 

“BET Hip Hop Awards - TDE Cypher” (2013)

Drake later responded to the “Control” verse during an interview with Elliott Wilson while promoting Nothing Was The Same. He praised Kendrick's lyricism while saying that he “lost respect for the sentiment of the verse.” He also specified that he does not see him as competition. Kendrick later fired back in the TDE Cypher during the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards. He raps in the verse, “Nothing been the same since they dropped ‘Control’ and tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes.” 

Referencing Drake’s album title, he speaks to the effect of “Control” on hip hop and Drake’s attitude towards the song. Going further, he calls himself “bulletproof” to any fired shots. He raps, “Pin a tail on the donkey, boy, you been a fake. I got my thumb on hip-hop and my foot in the back of your ass,” essentially saying that he is making an “ass” of himself with his response. Kendrick’s “you over-owe us” lyric can also be interpreted as a dig at Drake for its resemblance to Drizzy’s OVO label. 

“Pay For It” (2014)

Kendrick Lamar continued the momentum of his show-stopping 2013 verses just a year later on Jay Rock’s “Pay For It.” He begins his verse, "I tell 'em all to hail King Kendrick, resurrectin' my vengeance / Been dissectin' your motormouth, 'til I break down the engine.” The line triples down on his “Control” verse while nodding to Drake’s verse on “The Language,” which declared himself as “the kid with the motor mouth.” Speaking about their former working relationship, Kendrick raps, “Endin' our friendship, baby, I'd rather die alone." He finishes his verse by telling Drake, “You can never live in my shoes.” Fans interpreted this line as a reference to a lyric about shoes fitting on “0 to 100.” Still not mentioning Drake by name, Kendrick’s messaging made it quite clear who he was rapping about.

Kendrick Lamar’s Subliminal Disses On Compton (2015)

Both of Kendrick’s guest appearances on Dr. Dre’s Compton album can be seen as subliminal disses aimed at Drake. On “Darkside/Gone,” he raps, “But still, I got enemies giving me energy / I wanna fight now. Subliminal, sending me all of this hate / I thought I was holding the mic down.” One can interpret these lyrics as a response to Drake’s sneak diss at Kendrick on “100.” Kendrick also references Drake’s song “Energy.” Fans pointed to another line on “Deep Water” where Kendrick raps, “They liable to bury him, they nominated six to carry him.” He observes Drake’s beef with Meek Mill: “The beef is on his breath / Inheriting the drama better than a great white, n***a, this is life in my aquarium.” The lyricism is very coded, but Kendrick clearly took shots at Drake. 

“The Heart Part 4” (2017)

Upon the release of “The Heart Part 4” in 2017, many speculated that Kendrick was dissing either Big Sean or Drake. “My fans can't wait for me to son ya punk-ass and crush ya whole lil' sh*t. I'll Big Pun ya punk-ass, you a scared lil' b*tch. Tiptoein' around my name, n*gga, you lame,” he barked in reference to their subliminal exchanges. Kendrick even references the aquatic theme of his “Deep Water” verse. Whether or not these lines were actually aimed at Drake, “The Heart Part 4” carried their history of covert jabs.

“ELEMENT.” (2017)

On “ELEMENT.” from 2017’s DAMN, Kendrick Lamar continued to call out his competition. The song’s third verse directly speaks to rappers afraid to see him in real life. Kendrick raps, “Most of y'all ain't real, most of y'all gon' squeal / Most of y'all just envy, but jealousy get you killed / Most of y'all throw rocks and try to hide your hand / Just say his name and I promise that you'll see Candyman.” A stern warning to those who speak ill of him behind his back, many assumed that Kendrick was throwing shots at Drake due to their history of sneak disses. Last year, a supposed leak of an early version of “ELEMENT.” fired direct shots at Drake, Big Sean, and Jay Electronica. Following DAMN, the alleged beef between the two rap stars remained dormant. 

“Like That” (2014)

Kendrick Lamar reignited his feud with Drake in what is his most direct diss at the rapper since “Control.” On Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That,” he continues to warn those who diss him despite being unfazed by any threats. Choosing lyrical violence, Kendrick disapproves of Drake and J. Cole’s alliance on “First Person Shooter,” referencing OVO producer 40. He does not shy away from dissing respected legends, including Melle Mel. 

The most jarring lyric on “Like That” is when he raps, “Motherf*ck The Big Three, n*gga, it's just Big Me.” Destroying the idea of Drake, Cole, and himself as hip hop’s “Big Three” on “First Person Shooter,” Kendrick doubles down on his position but specifically aims shots at Drake. He raps, “Your best work is a light pack / N***a, Prince outlived Mike Jack.” Referencing Drake likening himself to Michael Jackson, Kendrick takes the side of Prince, expressing that he will outlast Drake. He finishes his lethal verse with another Drake diss, weaving in a scheme about “‘Fore all your dogs getting buried” in the “Pet Sematary.” While Drake is not worried about any threats, he and Kendrick appear to have taken their supposed beef to the next level.


About The Author
Wyatt Westlake is a writer from Somerville, MA. He has been writing about hip hop, RnB, and beyond for almost a decade, joining the HNHH team in 2023. Majoring in Communication Studies, he is currently finishing his BA at Temple University. Wyatt is also a radio presenter, hosting his own shows and curating eclectic playlists since 2019. An avid concert-goer, one all-time moment for him was when Dave brought him onstage to perform “Thiago Silva” in front of a sold-out crowd.