Hip-Hop legends Pusha T and Drake have ignited the internet with their battle of the bars.
Drake and Pusha T have found themselves at the center of the hip-hop universe; accusations of made-up drug stories, illegitimate children, and ghostwritten lyrics are filling the audiowaves and peaking our interests. Both artists have dedicated followings and expansive bodies of work and both are well respected within the hip-hop game. This hip-hop beef might seem random to casual hip-hop fans, but the direct confrontation between Drake and Pusha T can be traced back to 2012.
Pusha T gained his initial popularity as one half of the rap group Clipse. Clipse’s song with Birdman “What Happened to That Boy” became an instant hip-hop classic and helped propel the group into the national spotlight back in the early 2000s.
However, things seemed to sour afterwords as Clipse began throwing subtle lyrical shots at Birdman, Lil’ Wayne and their Cash Money Records cohort. Conflict between Clipse and Cash Money came to a head in 2006 when Clipse released “Mr. Me Too” as a response to Lil’ Wanye allegedly copying their style.
Drake was affiliated with Young Money Records at the time. Young Money Entertainment is a subsidiary company of Cash Money Records, so it was only a matter of time before No Malice and Pusha T of Clipse mentioned his name as part of their Cash Money assault.
In 2012, Pusha T released the single “Exodus 23:1”. This song is the first documented instance of Pusha T directly singling out Drake by questioning his position within the Cash Money Records family tree:
Contract all fucked up/
I guess that means you all fucked up /
You signed to one n**** that signed to another n**** /
That’s signed to three n****s, now that’s bad luck.
Drake responded with “Tuscan Leather”, a song found on his 2013 album “Nothing Was the Same“. In his response, Drake defended his status as a hip-hop front-runner and reinforced his ties with Young Money Entertainment.
I’m just as famous as my mentor/
But that’s still the boss, don’t get sent for/
Get hype on tracks and jump in front of a bullet you wasn’t meant for.
Pusha T came for Drake again in 2016 during a freestyle. Pusha T raised suspicion of the authenticity of Drake’s lyrics, questioning if Drake can be considered “real” if it is true that he uses ghostwriters to pen his songs:
It’s too far gone when the realest ain’t real/
I walk amongst the clouds so your ceilings ain’t real/
These n****s Call of Duty ’cause their killings ain’t real/
With a questionable pen so the feelin’ ain’t real.
Drake’s response in 2017 brought sturdy accusations of fake street credibility and made up stories. These lines can be found on “Two Birds, One Stone”, a song on the 2017 Drake project “More Life“:
But really it’s you with all the drug dealer stories/
That’s gotta stop, though/
You made a couple chops and now you think you Chapo.
You middle man in this shit, boy, you was never them guys/
I can tell, ’cause I look most of you dead in your eyes/
And you’ll be tryna sell that story for the rest of your lives.
That brings us to the 2018 back and forth between these long-time rivals. Years of back-and-forth over diss tracks has now come to a head.
Pusha T – Infrared
Oh, now it’s okay to kill Baby/
Niggas looked at me crazy like I really killed a baby/
Salute Ross ’cause the message was pure/
He see what I see when you see Wayne on tour/
Flash without the fire/
Another multi-platinum rapper trapped and can’t retire/
Niggas get exposed, I see the cracks and I’m the liar?/
Shit I’ve been exposed, I took the crack and built the wire/
Now who do you admire? Your rap songs is all tryin’ my patience/
Them prices ain’t real without inflation.
Pusha T’s album DAYTONA was produced by Kanye West and contained a handful of subtle shots at Drake. Infrared, a track on DAYTONA, brought the Pusha T/Clipse & Drake/Young Money back into the spotlight. On this track, Pusha T seems to give himself credit for being one of the first to diss Birdman and Cash Money Records.
Pusha T later went on The Breakfast Club to explain the intentions of some of his lines on Infrared. You can watch this portion of the interview below:
Drake – Duppy (freestyle)
So if you rebuke me for workin’ with someone else on a couple of Vs/
What do you really think of the nigga that’s makin’ your beats?/
I’ve done things for him I thought that he never would need/
Father had to stretch his hands out and get it from me/
I pop style for 30 hours, then let him repeat/
Now, you poppin’ up with the jokes, I’m dead, I’m asleep/
I just left from over by y’all puttin’ pen to the sheets/
Tired of sittin’ quiet, and helpin’ my enemies eat/
Keep gettin’ temperature checks, they know that my head overheats.
Drake’s response brought Kanye West into the fold. This freestyle addresses the fact the Drake has worked with Kanye West. Drake even implies that he has ghostwritten for Kanye West (Kanye has previously thanked Drake for his help on songs Father Stretch My Hands & 30 Hours).
Drake knows that rappers are more than willing to test his lyrical ability. His comeuppance as a rapper/singer has not sat well with those who prefer a more traditional hip-hop style. Drake alludes to this when he mentions “temperature checks”, reminding the world of his spat with Meek Mill in 2015.
Pusha T – The Story of Adidon
Since you name-dropped my fiancée/
Let ’em know who you chose as your Beyoncé/
Sophie knows better, ask your baby mother/
Cleaned her up for IG, but the stench is on her/
A baby’s involved, it’s deeper than rap/
We talkin’ character, let me keep with the facts/
You are hiding a child, let that boy come home/
Deadbeat mothafucka, playin’ border patrol, ooh.
Pusha T’s diss track “The Story of Adidon” leaves no stone unturned. Pusha throws salt on the wound that is Drake’s relationship with his father, alleges Drake has a child with a stripper that is being kept secret, and reminds Drake that his friend OVO 40 is dying of an autoimmune disease. The track speaks for itself – listen to reactions from The Breakfast Club’s live callers bellow:
Drake vs. Pusha T
Pusha T’s viciousness, disregard for Drake’s feelings, and lyrical cunning gives him the win by a significant margin.