Today we’re talking about a beef that’s so old you should have to pay $1,000 to order it from Japan. Yes — we’re talking about Drake and Pusha T.
On May 25th, Pusha T released his third solo studio album, Daytona, to critical acclaim. The whole album was produced by Kanye West and contains some of his signature skills. The final track on the album, however, ‘Infrared’, takes some veiled shots at Drake, who Pusha T has accused of using a ghostwriter for his raps. The line, “It was written like Nas but it came from Quentin”, is a reference to Quentin Miller from the rap duo Wedding Crashers, who’s been rumored to have written many of Drake’s verses. Quentin Miller responded with his own freestyle, ‘Destiny’, where he basically says he wants to be left out of the whole thing.
Later in ‘Infrared’, Pusha T delivers another punch. “How could you ever right these wrongs when you don’t even write your songs?” is unmistakably a shot at Drake, who responded the day of Daytona’s release, with a diss track titled ‘Duppy Freestyle’. In the track, Drake defends his use of other writers on some tracks, and pushes back that he helped Kanye on several tracks from 2016’s ‘The Life of Pablo’. He also castigated Pusha T for pushing him while he’s in “album mode”, and said he’s not even top 5 as far his label’s talent goes.
Pusha T tweeted:
Send the invoice for the extra 20… https://t.co/41rd4OJeMF
— King Push (@PUSHA_T) May 25, 2018
Which, Drake actually did:
So, up until this point, this might still seem to be all in good fun. But, Pusha T’s next move has taken it to another level. He recently released ‘The Story of Adidon’, the image for which features a photo of Drake in actual blackface. Now, there’s a lot we have to break down about this. Pusha T wrote on Twitter:
Please stop referring to this picture as “artwork”…I’m not an internet baby, I don’t edit images…this is a REAL picture…these are his truths, see for yourself https://t.co/gd6vRS3HM8 pic.twitter.com/2el58HEZ8F
— King Push (@PUSHA_T) May 30, 2018
The photographer of the images, David Leyes, said the photos were Drake’s idea, but that he was “proud to be part of a strong statement made by a black man about the fucked up culture he is living in.”
Based on the shirt Drake’s wearing in the photo, it’s possible that these were promotional images for a 2008 line of clothing called “Jim Crow Couture”, by the brand Too Black Guys, as part of their ongoing attempts to “represent the black experience in an unapologetic way.” Regardless of the intent, the image has inspired strong discussions in both the rap world and the social justice world.
Buzzfeed star and actress Quinta Brunson wrote:
Drake in blackface might’ve put a nail in the coffin for lightskins this summer. I don’t make the rules.
— Quinta (@quintabrunson) May 30, 2018
And NinerNation53 wrote:
You all went absolutely WILD when Kanye posted a picture in a MAGA hat now Drake your king has a picture of him in blackface circulating and you’re suddenly very quiet
Let’s have a dialogue
— “Niners” (@Ninernation53) May 30, 2018
Leyes tweeted at Pusha T’s manager asking him to take down the photo, and Instagram eventually removed the image after it was reported by a third party. As for the track itself, it utilizes the music from Jay-Z’s ‘The Story of OJ’ and takes shots at Drake’s personal life. Pusha name drops Sophie Brussaux, a former adult actress who Drake is rumored to have fathered a child with, and calls Drake out for not being there for his son.
It also looks like Pusha T might have tripped himself up a bit on this track — he makes reference to Drake’s producer, Noah “40” Shebib, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and Shebib even tweeted that coincidentally, May 30th is World MS Day. So, unsurprisingly, some people are not too happy with Pusha T.
This Pusha T diss is mad problematic. Respectability politics, women and children mentioned by name, clowning 40's multiple sclerosis, etc. Really ugly stuff. But Drake asked for it, namedropping Pusha's fiancee. This is war. And I can't front, this shit is giving me goosebumps.
— William Ketchum III (@WEKetchum) May 30, 2018
Even the National MS Society responded. Their senior director Eileen Curran wrote:
“It’s troubling to hear that a person’s disability would be made fun of by others. Multiple sclerosis, which affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide, is an often misunderstood disease. People living with MS face many challenges every day, which is why it’s so important to continue to raise awareness for MS so others can better understand those challenges.”
And, of course, May 30th is World MS Day, so go to NationalMSSociety.com if you want to learn more about the disease.
So, that’s just all the stuff that happened in this beef this week. This goes all the way back to 2006, and if you want a complete primer on the Pusha T/Drake feud, Billboard.com has a really comprehensive analysis.
Are you Team Drake or Team Pusha T? Let us know in the comments below.
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