What is an actor-turned-rapper to do for some well-earned respect?
Not only is Drake hiding a child, he’s hiding a song. Apparently the self-proclaimed 6 God - after getting knocked down a peg or thirty last week - has his much-anticipated rebuttal in the tuck; however, in the wake of Kanye West and J Prince’s equally sanctimonious decrees proclaiming the rap beef "over," he’s supposedly thrown his response into the fireplace, along with his signed Pusha T mic.
This is all, of course, coming from the notorious CEO of Rap-A-Lot Records, and longtime friend of Drake, whom his son, Jas Prince, discovered after the rapper on Myspace during his Degrassi days. Over the past 48 hours or so, J Prince - whose past is filled with more gravely obscure hip-hop fables than any other iconic figure in the culture - has been on a radio tour, ostensibly for his upcoming memoir: The Art and Science of Respect: A Memoir by James Prince.
So far, he’s gone on shows such as Sway In The Morning and The Breakfast Club to defend why he advised Drake to stop focusing his energy on Kanye West. The reasoning seems to ring hollow for many fans of both artists; basically, “The Story of Adidon” was too much and, apparently, after speaking with Kanye and seeing that Drake’s sitting on something nuclear, he spoke out.
However pure their intentions, Kanye and Prince have effectively just turned this into a full blown Cold War. While both of them promise peace to the public, the power struggles behind the scenes seem to be getting tenser. But it’s not Prince’s fault - he’s plugging holes that Drake has created. As for Kanye, his recent actions for album promo bring with them their own slew of indictments. It’s not as easy to call him innocent, especially considering he let Pusha bait Drake over his beats, sent his own shots on ye and waited until after first-week numbers were in for both albums to dead the beef.
Drake is currently being pressed harder than ever. His overall character is being questioned. His money, his power, his family is being attacked. And while it’s fair to allow him a second to regroup, this current wave of damage control can’t be spun into good optic by even the most seasoned of PR managers. Framing this as Drake having more to lose than Pusha T and the rest of the GOOD Music camp is disingenuous, even if it isn’t outwardly false. Because while “Infrared” was bait, “Duppy Freestyle” could also be seen as a lure of sorts; in some sense, the latter was Drake merely acknowledging the slights to his name before casting a wide net of his own. In a rare moment, Drake was directly airing his grievances instead of subtweeting through his raps.
One thing this beef has done is legitimize the chip on Drake’s shoulder. For the first time since maybe Nothing Was The Same, he has some real substance to fuel his upcoming album. On his all too brief freestyle, he highlighted hypocrisy in Pusha’s rebukes, went for Ye’s throat and delivered a clever little song full of battle rap ready #BARS. This was clearly the Drake that takes time to stand besides Organik at the King of the Dot, or the one that has a pseudo-faceoff with Mook. But if “The Story Of Adidon” cut too deeply - if it was indeed a Ginsu blade in a knife fight - then the battle-scarred must have something to say, right? And now that J Prince is insulating Drake is sitting on something that could “end” Kanye West, the stakes for Scorpion have reached monumental status.
So, the lines have been drawn and damage control is underway, but the fans are still waiting to figure out what “Your demise will be televised” was supposed to mean. Is Kanye really the puppet master behind all this recent tension, or was Drake’s alleged $100K not enough to dig up dirt on Pusha Terrance?
On “God’s Plan”, a stoic Drake muses: “...bad things/It's a lot of bad things that they wishin' and wishin' and wishin' and wishin'/They wishin' on me.” It used to be super fun to sing along to, you know, before Pusha stripped it of all of its innocence. So what’s Scorpion going to be about? Given ye’s polarizing reception, it would not be difficult for Drake to double down on his anti-West sentiments - but what could he say that’s worse than “slavery was a choice”? Both of these men used to be influences for Drake at some point in his career - how could things have gotten this messy in Calabasas?
Photo credits in poll:
Yes - Kevin Winter/Getty Images
No - Scott Halleran/Getty Images