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06/01/2018 03:17 pm ET

Pusha T’s Drake Diss Was Incredibly Cruel And Incredibly Brilliant

In a classic hip-hop beef, everything is fair game. That's what Drake ignored, and Pusha never forgot.
Johnny Nunez via Getty Images

Anybody can get touched.

Let’s rewind to May 25 when Pusha T dropped “Daytona,” a seven-track record of which “Infrared” is the only one of interest. In it, the rapper takes multiple jabs at fellow musician Drake, accusing him of being an industry hack who doesn’t write his own rhymes. Drake responded with “Duppy Freestyle” a few hours later, following his usual rap beef blueprint most recently demonstrated in his attacks on Meek Mill. He grabbed his best weapon, Instagram, and posted an invoice for $100,000 addressed to Pusha’s G.O.O.D Music label requesting funds for “career reviving.” Then he dropped a second song from his upcoming album, “I’m Upset,” that takes more subtle shots at Pusha, the following day.

The tracks were exciting enough to land on many a gym playlists, helping us push through a last set of burpees. But both lacked the lyrical cruelty that underlines a true rap beef — think Jay-Z vs. Nas — and focused on older complaints: Drake has a ghostwriter named Quentin Miller and Pusha is embellishing his drug-dealing past.

Yawn.

But on May 29, Pusha continued the Memorial Day weekend escalation of the two rappers’ longstanding beef by releasing “The Story of Adidon.” The multifaceted, deeply layered diss track comes for Drake’s neck in quite a few ways. While this tea isn’t fresh, its packaging is what makes it as effective as a shot of espresso.

Pusha took the most emotionally provocative tidbits of Drake’s life and the struggles of those close to him, and jabbed at the rapper over and over again. It’s incredibly cruel and, honestly, brilliant. Here are some of the points it covers: 

  • Drake’s supposed struggle with his biracial identity.
  • How his parents, Dennis and Sandi Graham, split when he was 5. Pusha then noted how ironic it is to him that Drake scoffs at marriage yet his mother never remarried.
  • His idolization of Dennis and how it highlights Drake’s “deadbeat motherfucker” status with the baby he allegedly had with Sophie Brussaux. (We’ve since learned that the rapper does financially support the child, but as freelancer William Ketchum pointed out, this isn’t about money — it’s about his involvement in his child’s life.)
  • How Drake keeps both Sophie and the baby hidden from the public eye.
  • That Drake was allegedly planning to feature his son in an alleged future collaboration with Adidas.
  • Drake’s longtime producer Noah “40” Shebib’s potentially fatal battle with Multiple Sclerosis. (The track dropped one day before World MS Day and prompted the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to respond.)
  • Drake’s allegedly fucked-up record deal with Young Money, a subsidiary of Cash Money Records, which is run by Birdman and whose parent company is Universal Music Group. Birdman has long been accused of underpaying artists, not paying them at all, and other horrid business practices. (You can read up on this mess here.)
  • Pusha chose to spit his lethal bars over “The Story of OJ” beat, Jay-Z’s award-winning critique of racial self-loathing and disavowing blackness. And, for good measure, the album art is a 2008 photo of Drake in blackface.

Pusha has successfully parlayed surface-level complaints about goofy boy-next-door Drake not writing his own tracks and idolizing his absent father into deeper questions about his true character. He threw Drake, who thrives on pettiness and surface-level insults and picks fights with rappers who don’t have as much mainstream clout as him, out of his element.

And Taryn Finley and Julia Craven are here for it. On this edition of “Run That Back,” the duo is joined by Vibe’s Desire Thompson to discuss Drake’s feelings (is he OK?), how Pusha T has been playing chess for years and, of course, the memes.

Mark Blinch / Reuters

Julia: Drake don’t want this smoke. He don’t.

Taryn: For me, it’s fuck Aubrey and fuck Terrance. I’m here for the jokes.

Julia: Pusha basically said, “I am not Meek Mill.”

Taryn: He really did though! Drake was playing Jenga while Push was shooting craps in a whole different league.

Julia: Drake was playing with Teletubbies and Pusha was playing with guns.

Taryn: That’s even more accurate. Zero to 100. Couldn’t even recover from the holiday weekend. Drake should’ve just sat there and ate his food.

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Julia: RT Drake should’ve just sat there and ate his food. But, Desire, we’d like to start at the beginning and walk our way through things with all these layers. So let’s bounce to you. Walk us through this beef which has become very hostile, very fast.

Desire: Where do we start? Push and Drake have had issues since the early aughts when Drake was almost grandfathered into Push’s beef with Baby and Wayne. Drake has been rather sneaky in his responses to Push over the years, but I think the Meek drama put the battery in his back to come as hard as he did in the “Duppy Freestyle.”

People are seeing Push as a bully, but don’t realize Drake and Wayne have also participated in this DECADELONG BEEF. Because hip-hop fans have the attention spans of goldfish, all of that went out the window last weekend when Push called him out on “Infrared.”

Taryn: But did Drake come hard or did he come petty?

Desire: He came in his feelings. *Ella Mai voice* 

Julia: LMAOOOO.

Taryn: Cause I honestly think “Back to Back” was better than “Duppy.”

Desire: Actual factuals.

Julia: Meek is an easier target than Push though. A walking meme. Push will shoot you.

Desire: Drake was honestly surprised Kanye and Push had anything to say about him which is why he sounded so annoyed on “Duppy.”

Taryn: And why he was surprised at the “audacity” on “I’m Upset,” I’m sure.

Desire: But you can’t be a hypocrite and expect people to kiss your ass all the time because of your Billboard hits.

Julia: Not gonna lie, that sigh took me out and still takes me out. But to go back to the bully stuff, I think people forget that this is hip-hop and anything is fair game. Drake opened this door talking about Virginia Williams and Pusha walked on through it.

Taryn: OMG! I forgot about that Pac part. Shit. 

Desire: Pac talked about Queen Faith Evans. This is hip-hop and I lub it smelly much.

Julia: Jay also said he fucked Nas wife and left the condom in his daughter’s car seat. Hip-hop niggas are foul. I love it.

Desire: His mom made him apologize, which is beyond funny to me. But what was the best part of “Adidon,” baby reveal aside?

Julia: I really enjoyed “deadbeat motherfucker, playing border patrol.” 

Desire: I love the part in “Adidon” where Push says, “The M’s count different when Baby divides the pie” since this means Baby is still stealing money from Wayne and Drake.  

Taryn: THAT is the part that got me, Desire. (After the initial shock from the blackface subsided.) Go at that nigga’s fucked-up contract!

Desire: RIGHT!

Taryn: That’s why Drake always on tour. Gotta pay 20 niggas before he sees any profit.

And maybe I’m soft but I still think Push is wrong af for that 40 line. I love a good diss track (“No Vaseline” is prob my fave next to “Hit Em Up”), but damn. And tomorrow is MS Awareness day.

Desire: The MS association put out a statement about it, too. Meh, I don’t think it was that bad.

Julia: It was foul, but it was fair game and nowhere near as bad as Pac starting a track with “I fucked your bitch, you fat motherfucker.”

Desire: That’s like when everyone saw those pics of Jet Li and thought he was dying and it turns out it was just bad lighting.

Taryn: Oh shit LMAO. But the alleged baby ... we all knew, though. Right?

Julia: Oh yeah. Sophie is like, what? The second baby mama?

Desire: I think Sophie is the only baby moms.

Julia: Maybe I’m confusing her with the dancer who said all that stuff about his sex game.

Desire: Sophie’s Instagram page is private now, but they apparently cleaned it up recently since people were going to find out who she was with the baby reveal. Also, I’m not surprised Drake has a baby.

Julia: Drake seems trappable via vagina and via bad record deal, tbh.

Desire: Baby is the evil villian in all of this tbh. He’s the real Thanos.

Taryn: Aubrey means “to trap” in Canadian French.

Julia: Ma’am.

Taryn: Shit. I’d trap Drake, too. You wouldn’t?

Julia: I didn’t say that lmao.

Desire: Pusha T and Quentin have music together as well.

Taryn: Ooooh. Give me a receipt, sis.

Julia: Wait, they do?

Desire: Yess. Push talked about it on the Breakfast Club. They put out a song in 2015 right when the ghostwriting thing was happening. 

Julia: Pusha been out here playing chess.

Taryn: Plot thicker than an opossum with the mumps.

Desire: PUSH IS A GENIUS. This isn’t tea. This is hearty stew.

Julia: I just peeped that the song before Infrared is “What Would Meek Do?” Jesus. 

Taryn: SHIT!

Desire: The opener is “When You Know You Know.” OH HE KNEW ALRIGHT!

Julia: This is mac n cheese. This is collards. This is fried chicken. Soul food beef. Oxtails.

Taryn: So, let me slow my praise of Push, because it’s still fuck him and Kanye for that disrespectful ass album cover. They need to go to Whitney’s grave and beg for forgiveness before I play that album. But the nigga still won this one.

Desire: Yep. There could’ve been another way to speak on his craft than paying $85,000 for that photo.

Julia: The album cover was bad. Very bad. It was unthoughtful, unoriginal, unprovocative trash.

Taryn: Drake be taking L’s but not like this.

Desire: Terrible and the way Kanye threw pink over it was some lame Microsoft Paint shit. Drake hasn’t had a L like this since Rihanna exposed him. And that was literally five mins ago lol.

Taryn: Literally. That’s where he went wrong. He got on Ri’s bad side. When she unfriends you, the world does, too.

Desire: All of this is happening and no one cares about the following: Kanye’s album is coming Friday, Bow Wow is walking around in a straitjacket and ASAP Rocky’s new album.

Taryn: All of the above can miss me, tbh.

Julia: That Bow Wow photo still has me in tears. His TL is a goldmine of bullshit.

Desire: Issa fail.

Taryn: Shad really won’t leave us alone.

Desire: What can Drake do get back on our good side?

Julia: I wanna circle back to the fact that Pusha called Drake a tragic mulatto with daddy issues at some point.

Desire: Maybe he can give away a bunch of money to people in need? Oh, he did that already.

Taryn: Drop an album, tbh. Capriccio sangria papi is never gonna fall completely.

Julia: I don’t think Drake bounces back from this. He has to take his L.

Desire: Julia, as a biracial butterfly, I gotta say the identify issues part took a feeling from me.

Taryn: I still need an explanation for that. That was literally the most bizarre part about this to me and left the ugliest taste in my mouth, especially given Drake’s proximity to whiteness.

Julia: I doubt you’d be outchea in blackface though!

Desire: They were trying to do some Spike Lee Bamboozled shit, but it was not thought-out well at all. You’re not taking power from blackface by wearing blackface. You’re just wearing blackface and wypipo will love it and use it as point of reference in any argument about black culture. 

Julia: Exactly! And if nothing else, Drake has to explain that. And the fact that Pusha rapped over “The Story of OJ,” which is about black self-loathing and disavowing your blackness ...

Desire: That’s another fave aspect of this track. The layers are amazing. Also, I think Kanye was the one who shared all the Adidas deets with Push. Pero like, your neighbor (they live next to each other in Calabasas) just exposed all your skeletons.

Julia: Adidon being a play on Adonis and Adidas blew my mind. Now when you search for it though, the track comes up. He ruined Drake’s line before it dropped. Chess.

Desire: It was perfect.

Taryn: I’m honestly still trying to wrap my mind around it all. Like Push really ethered this man on so many levels. It’s disrespectful. How upset are you now, Drizzy? Cause I’m appalled for you.

Desire: He was thinking wayyyy ahead and that’s what rap beefs are supposed to do after all.

I’m so appalled. *Kanye voice*

Taryn: That’s why he took three days to respond rather than the microwave Stouffer’s quality shit Drake gave (which was tasty enough but not a home-cooked meal).

Julia: Drake has to drop an IG pic with the “Focusing on me” caption and disappear.

Desire:  Drake should just gather his minions and have a meeting about the next move. Kanye was also supposed to a have a verse on “Nice For What” but it was scrapped. I bet it was terrible.

Taryn: Kanye and “Nice for What” need to never be in the same sentence. I’m still disgusted by Kanye, tbh, and he doesn’t need to ruin one of my fave summer 2018 songs.

Desire: Same.

Julia: Same. Drake should have seen this coming though, right? He kept tryna be hard and look what happened.

Desire: I don’t think he predicted Push to get that personal. He has a very “untouchable” vibe about him, which I get. He’s done a lot in his career but you aren’t above GETTING THIS SMOKE BOI.

Julia: Anybody can get touched. Drake forgot that.  

Desire: They all did. Kanye, Nicki, etc.

Taryn: You know who Drake knew not to test, though? Hov. Drake used to be strategic about who he’d respond to but he got cocky and underestimated Push. Now look what happened.

Julia: Nicki? Who’s that? 🌚

Desire: LOL — Of course he’s not going to try Hov.

Julia: Drake also knows not to try Kendrick.

Taryn: That too!

Desire: HE WOULD NEVER! Cornrow Kenny would body him in the first bar.

Julia: “And nothing was the same since they dropped control and tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes.” 🌚Kendrick said that bar was about Papoose but I don’t believe that.

Desire: Drake has been tight about “Control” for so long.

Taryn: Shit, I felt like Kendrick was taking shots at ME on “Control.”

Desire: I too, felt personally victimized by “Control.”

Desire: Do you all think there is a winner in this beef? I think hip-hop wins tbh. We get a reminder of what bar for bar rap is.

Taryn: Look, I love rap beef so I feel like the winner here.

Desire: And kids are taught what life was like before internet rap beef.

Taryn: Actually, the internet won. Cause these jokes folks are getting off are better than the actual beef, tbh.

Julia: Actually, Funkmaster Flex won. Now before you drag me, let me explain.

Desire: jgherjhlsrhgr

Taryn: LMAOjnhtefjnvefug MA’AM !

Julia: 🗣AIN’T NOBODY LISTENED TO FLEX LIKE THAT SINCE THE INTERNET GOT POPPIN EIGHT YEARS AGO, BUT WE ALL TUNED IN LAST NIGHT AIN’T WE?

Desire: I agree with you, Julia. Flex got his revenge. OMG remember when Drake was freestyling from his phone on Hot 97?! Another layer in Pusha Teaaa rollout. 

Taryn: Damn. You right, though. All them damn bombs. I be ducking every time I listen to his show. Heart racing.

Julia: He talks so much.

Desire: So much empty passion. Like, chill out my guy.

Julia: My bf called me and was like, “Turn on Hot 97 right now.” And I’m like ... “Why in the fuck is he telling me to listen to Hot 97 during Flex’s 100 hour block in the 2018th year of our Lord?”

Desire: I heard it on Soundcloud so I’m glad I missed the bomb.

Julia: It was bomb after bomb after bomb.

Desire: I wonder what he does if that button doesn’t work.

Taryn: Shit, that makes me wanna creep up in their studio and fuck up the button.

Desire: Or switch it to another sound — like the sound you hear when you call someone’s disconnected phone.

Taryn: You think it’s big and red like the ones they sell at Staples?

Desire: LOL maybe!

Twitter

Desire: Terrance Killmonger.

Julia: THE MEMES, THE TWEETS, THE INTERNET.

Desire 

Julia: dsjfckldsjfdsfudsehfljr

Taryn: HOLLERING ! WHOOOO PHOTOSHOPPED THIS BABY IN HIS HAND?

Twitter

Desire: I just wanna know whose baby is that in that pic. 

Julia: I love how this became an instantly meme-able moment. 

Taryn: I mean, yo fave rapper got a secret son, too, but they were just smart about hiding him. Allegedly. 🌚

Julia: I want this to be ugly.

Desire: Everyone got secret babies.

Taryn: All yo faves secretly with child.

Desire:

Julia: On that note, I am leaving lmao. I don’t have anything else to say!

Taryn: I don’t have anything else to say either.

Desire: Thanks for having me ladies, this was fun! AND THEY SAY THERE ARE NO WOMEN COVERING HIP-HOP.

*insert permanent smirk*

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