Congress Weighs In On Kendrick-Drake Feud: Standing Behind American Interests


National hearings are conducted, and legislation is drafted, representing millions of constituents nationwide, making Congress one of the most influential decision-making bodies globally.

This week, a crucial vote took place regarding the potential removal of the government official second in line to the presidency.

Even members of Congress admit to closely monitoring the intense rivalry between Kendrick Lamar and Drake in their leisure time.

“There’s no question that Kendrick is the victor,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) told The Hill on Wednesday. “I mean, he’s the better artist overall. He’s a pillar of the culture.”

Earlier this year, Bowman initiated the Congressional Hip Hop Power and Justice Task Force in collaboration with fellow Democrats. Although its original scope didn’t include addressing rap conflicts, Bowman emphasized its role as a platform for discussions on issues significant to the community.

The ongoing feud between Kendrick and Drake, originating in 2013, escalated recently following the release of Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That,” where Lamar targeted Drake and J. Cole, challenging their status as rap’s “Big Three.”

“Hopefully, it inspires others to keep the culture going in the most in the best ways possible,” Bowman said of the rap battle, which he also said is “bringing attention to the culture” and “showing the creative brilliance of emcees.”

Drake and Cole were among the artists called out by Lamar in his verse on Big Sean’s 2013 track “Control,” alongside others like Big K.R.I.T., Pusha T, and Tyler, the Creator.

“I mean, this is a big part of hip-hop that hasn’t been around in a while,” Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), the first member of Generation Z to join Congress, said in an interview. Frost said he thinks Lamar teed up that “first shot for the culture for hip-hop to bring that back.”

“I think they both brought it to hell, and I think it went somewhere maybe it shouldn’t have. But that’s also part of the nature of this — is they can go that low. So, I think now’s a good time to end,” Frost said.

Regarding the winner, Frost asserts there’s no doubt.

“I’m going to back the American, as a congressman,” Frost said of Lamar, adding that the Toronto-born Drake has “waved the white flag,” as Lamar’s latest diss track, “Not Like Us,” climbs streaming charts.

Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), a member of the hip-hop task force, expressed her partiality towards Lamar in the ongoing rivalry, despite being a Drake admirer. She mentioned colleagues approaching her on the House floor to inquire about her stance, indicating the global interest in the feud.

“This also reminds us, I think, of the power of communication through music and why hip-hop is so important, right?” Ramirez told The Hill on Tuesday, noting how hip-hip discourse has dominated social media in the wake of the battle.

“You’ve got members of Congress in a particular moment, when we’re fighting so many things really asking ourselves, ‘Who is in the right? Is it Kendrick Lamar, or is it Drake?’”

While the congressional deliberations over the rappers have just commenced, devoted fans have debated for over a decade about who among Lamar and Drake deserves the title of the genre’s “GOAT.”

Fans have long compared the two based on factors like lyrical prowess, hit-making ability, and commercial success.

Before releasing his debut album “Thank Me Later” in 2010, Drake had already gained recognition for his acting and his mixtape “So Far Gone” in 2009. Lamar’s debut studio album, “Section.80,” was released in 2011.

Both artists have amassed numerous accolades over the years.

Drake, aged 37, has released eight studio albums, won five Grammys, and achieved chart-topping success with over 13 No. 1 hits and more than 70 songs in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Lamar, aged 36, has released four studio albums, also securing three No. 1 hits and 13 songs in the Top 10, along with winning 17 Grammys and a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his album “Damn.”

In 2016, even former President Barack Obama shared his thoughts on the debate between the two rappers, emphasizing their significance in the genre.

While Obama hasn’t publicly commented on the ongoing feud, resurfaced clips of his previous remarks have garnered significant attention, indicating the endurance of his perspective.

President Biden’s team has also engaged with the feud, incorporating Lamar’s diss track “Euphoria” into a video criticizing former President Trump on various issues.

With rap rivalries now reaching the highest echelons of government, the establishment of a congressional hip-hop task force may seem inevitable.

Hip-hop, marking its 50th anniversary in August, has often served as a platform for Black and brown communities to address issues such as racial injustice and economic disparity. The task force aims to leverage hip-hop as a tool for advancing legislative efforts.

However, the ongoing feud between Lamar and Drake has also sparked discussions on cultural appropriation and misogyny within the genre.

While the recent rivalry has drawn massive attention and streaming numbers, fans have expressed concerns about the allegations of child abuse and domestic violence exchanged between the two artists through their music.

The authenticity of these allegations remains disputed, with a history of rappers exaggerating claims in feuds to undermine their opponents.

Past conflicts between artists have turned violent, exemplified by the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. in the 1990s, highlighting the potential consequences of lyrical confrontations.

Following a shooting outside Drake’s Toronto residence, fans have voiced apprehensions about the safety implications of such feuds.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), arguably the most prominent hip-hop enthusiast in Congress, refrained from taking sides but emphasized the importance of keeping the feud centered on music and lyrical skill. Jeffries, whose district includes much of Biggie’s hometown of Brooklyn, has previously paid tribute to the rapper on the House floor and referenced his lyrics during Trump’s impeachment trial in 2020.

“We’ve seen rap battles in the past — most tragically as it relates to the conflict between Death Row and Bad Boy — spill outside of the musical landscape and onto the streets,” Jeffries said, referring to Tupac and Biggie’s record labels, respectively.

“That’s not something that we want to ever see happen again.”