Drake "Taylor Made" Freestyle: Did He Cross A Line With AI Tupac & Snoop Dogg?

BYDemi Phillips2.7K Views
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2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival - Night 1 - Show
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 23: Recording artist Drake performs onstage at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Are there suddenly rules when it comes to diss tracks?

It’s been a hell of a time for fans of Hip Hop. The number of diss tracks that have emerged in 2024 has been quite a lot. Not that we’re complaining, though. The shake-up has led to some of the most exciting disses in a while, and we’ve had to grasp every single detail about a ton of rapper feuds. The crazy thing, however, is that they all seem to have broken out all at once within the industry.  However, while most of these feuds have been met with praise, Drake’s latest effort, “Taylor Made Freestyle,” hasn’t been warmly received. And this boils down to his use of AI on the track

In The Beginning…

The spark that ignited the rap beef was J. Cole's mention of Kendrick Lamar in "The Big Three" on the track "First Person Shooter." Kendrick subsequently dropped a surprise verse as a response on Future and Metro Boomin’s "Like That.” J. Cole continued the diss by discrediting Lamar's discography on “7 Minute Drill.” However, in a surprising feat, he eventually retracted the track from streaming platforms, but what stood out the most was that J. Cole subsequently issued an apology to Lamar.

Not one to let things go, however, Drake released "Push Ups" as his own response. Although “Push Ups” was widely successful, public opinion still remains that Drake lyrically hit the ball out of the park. However, a follow-up diss track was released on April 19th—Drake's "Taylor Made Freestyle.” But unlike “Push Ups,” this was way more controversial. Why? Because Drake addresses Kendrick Lamar using AI vocals of Hip Hop legends Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg.

Snoop Dogg's Reaction

Unlike Pac, who died in 1996, Snoop Dogg is very much alive to witness Drake's shenanigans. Snoop seems to have been as shocked by the stunt as everyone else. In a hilarious Instagram post, he expressed his surprise: "They did what? When? How? Are you sure? [Sigh] Y’all have a good night. Why is everybody calling my phone, blowing me up? What the f— what happened? What’s going on? I’m going back to bed. Good night.” It’s safe to say that Snoop wasn’t all about that mess. 

Is “Taylor Made” A Calculated Move From Drake?

“Taylor Made” is certifiably a stellar track, as far as diss tracks go. For one, it is most likely a show-off to the public allegations that “Push Ups” was an AI track. Secondly, and perhaps most interestingly, is how Drake attempts to undermine Kendrick Lamar. Overall, this is a calculated strategy to belittle status as a heavyweight in the game. His use of AI seems to be a conscious effort to draw out a response from K-Dot.

Drake (as Tupac) addresses Kendrick Lamar on “Taylor Made,” saying: “Kendrick we need ya, the West Coast savior / Engraving your name in some hip-hop history… Call him a b*tch for me / Talk about him liking young girls as a gift for me.” While urging him to respond and engrave his name in “some Hip Hop history,” Drake also attempts to poke holes in perhaps all of Kendrick's likely talking points for a diss track. These include the fact that he is Canadian and light-skinned. 

As most are aware, Kendrick Lamar has often been compared to Tupac Shakur. In fact, Kendrick himself has admitted to carrying on Tupac's legacy. With these (and the following lines), Drake’s Tupac starts to question just how capable Kendrick is of taking on Tupac's identity, if he can't even stand the heat of facing him like Tupac did Biggie with “Hit ‘em Up,” one of the greatest diss tracks to ever exist. It’s important to note that Kendrick’s silence hasn’t sat well with fans. Many have clamored for him to issue a response to Drake, not just for “Taylor Made,” but also for “Push Ups.”

Drake Is Ready To Go To Rap War

Following his Tupac stint, Drake switches to Snoop Dogg's vocals to speak to Lamar. He references Snoop “passing on the torch” to Kendrick Lamar at the House of Blues in 2011. Just like AI Tupac, AI Snoop also seems to also be disappointed in Kendrick's silence. The elephant in the room is why Kendrick remains quiet after being challenged by someone like Drake. “World is watching this chess game, but oh you out of moves Dot / You know that the OG never f*cking doubted you / But right now it seem like you posted up without a clue / Or what the f*ck you ’bout to do.”

Eventually,  Drake finally switches to his own voice. However, he also makes it known that both “Taylor Made" and “Push Ups” were light work for him. He also claims he's more than capable of going a few more rounds against Kendrick. Finally, he ascribes Kendrick's silence to Taylor Swift's new album The Tortured Poets Department, which is sure to top the charts.

But now we gotta wait a f*cking week ’cause Taylor Swift is your new top  (referencing Lamar’s former record label Top Dawg Entertainment) / And if you ’bout to drop, she gotta approve / This girl really ’bout to make you act like you not in a feud.

Is This A Misguided Effort?

Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur (Photo by Kevin Mazur Archive/WireImage)

For all its bravado and swagger, Drake's “Taylor Made” is not without its pitfalls. By invoking Tupac's name and legacy, Drake risks inviting comparisons that may ultimately work to Lamar's advantage. There's also the fact that AI use is still considered a major taboo in music. Drake lavishly utilizing it can easily be seen as a heavily misguided idea. After all, he is using it without the consent of the people in question. Particularly, one of the artists is dead and cannot speak for themselves. Therefore, it’s quite easy to see why many consider this as Drake crossing a line. Nonetheless, on the flip side, many could argue that there are no rules regarding diss tracks. Take Chris Brown, who recently referenced the passing of Takeoff in his diss track for Quavo.

Also, while it is obviously impressive to use up all the ammo that Kendrick Lamar could use on him, it still is pretty weird to describe himself as “liking younger women.” This attempted 8 Mile move, unfortunately, doesn’t hit quite as hard. While it's commendable to poke fun at oneself, there’s obviously some things to consider. It’s pretty evident that Drake isn’t interested in that, though. 

Conclusion

Altogether, there is no one way to look at Drake's “Taylor Made” diss track. It is both a divisive and creative moment in the ongoing saga of his rivalry with Kendrick Lamar. Another thing to note is that Drake seeks to be in a hurry to assert his dominance over Lamar. While this works in his favor, as he continues to earn public recognition, many have begun to sense it as a desperate move. Evidently, his campaign to reaffirm his status as king of “the big three” of Hip Hop is still very much alive. Regardless, whether or not he succeeds in this endeavor remains to be seen. One thing is certain: the feud between Drake and Kendrick Lamar shows no signs of abating, and Hip Hop is all the richer for it.

About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and RnB, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.