This morning I stumbled on a tweet calling for Funkmaster Flex to step down from his position at Hot 97. What could he have possibly done to warrant a petition? And why was everyone cracking so many Meek Mill jokes? It was obvious I had missed something in the unfolding Drake vs. Meek Mill "beef" and could have really used a recap of the situation. So you know what they say, be the change you wish to see in the world. Let's run through a timeline of this "beef" to see how we got to where we are, and where we might be going from here.
Meek Sets it Off
The beef began just one week ago, though in Internet time it might as well have been a decade. The Philly native was in the wake of a very successful album release for Dreams Worth More Than Money. The album's third single, which many would argue is the LP's standout track, just so happens to be "R.I.C.O." a collaboration with Toronto superstar and by all accounts Meek-pal Drake. Sales were high, opinions were favorable and it seemed everything was gravy... except for a lack of social support for the album by Drake. Then Meek took to Twitter and all hell broke loose.
In the span of about an hour, Meek managed to ignite the entire rap community, call out arguably the most popular non-Eminem hip-hop artist of our time and bring "lol" back into the national spotlight. In the only genre where respect is handed out on the basis of writing your own lyrics, Meek accused Drake of blasphemy. Though he didn't technically use the term "ghostwriter," #RapTwitter and the Internet as a whole began arguing the point of view of the artist they liked more speculating what this meant for not just Drake's portions of "R.I.C.O." but the remainder of his catalogue as well. Meek claims if he had known Drake didn't write his own verse, he would have not included it on his album, and that the reason Drake didn't support his album socially was because he (Drake) found out that Meek had found out it was someone else's words. Then, Meek dropped another bomb (not a Flex bomb, we'll get there), and gave us the name of Drake's alleged "ghostwriter."
For those unfamiliar with Quentin Miller, he is a rapper from Atlanta, and also happens to be present in the songwriting credits on a host of tracks off of Drake's last project, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, which we'll get to in a second.
Though Drake didn't take to Twitter to voice his thoughts, the Internet was given a screenshot of an Instagram DM conversation where he may have addressed the situation. In very Drake-esque fashion, we were left with just the vague statement, "I signed up for greatness. This comes with it.”
The World Centers in on Quentin Miller and Ghostwriting
In the following days, hip-hop fans argued over what these allegations meant for Drake's career and status, and Quentin Miller's name blew up as the world questioned the extent of his involvement in Drake's creative process. Twitter exploded. Rick Ross, head of Meek's MMG label, commented in what was either a joke, a hack or an unfortunate misunderstanding of how the greater-than symbol works. Lupe got into the mix with a very thoughtful point of view on ghostwriting in hip-hop. As for Quentin, he's worked in the past with OG Maco, who also took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the matter. Pictures of Quentin Miller and OVO associates surfaced, in addition to (already available) snapshots of his name in IYRTITL credits.
Toronto City Councilor Norm Kelly Gets Involved
In a surprising turn of events, city councilor of Toronto and Twitter funny-guy Norm Kelly jumped into the situation headfirst, telling Meek he was no longer welcome in he (and Drake's) hometown. Meek was not happy, but then again Norm was a man on a mission.
Funkmaster Flex Gets Involved
Eager to throw his own name into the mix, Hot 97's legendary radio personality and explosion aficionado Funkmaster Flex let loose an apparent reference track that Quentin Miller had recorded for Drake's "10 Bands" on Wednesday night of last week. Flex had previously taken to Instagram to voice his displeasure with the situation and claimed that not only was Miller on retainer for $5k a month but that he had received the reference track leak from someone in Drake's camp. The leak proved considerably similar, though I think many would agree Quentin's lacked a certain feel that Drake brought to his, and Miller's name was definitely included in the song's credits. Also, it's interesting that Hot 97 would lead the charge, as apparently Meek hadn't been too happy with them either.
40 Gets Involved
As the world continued to wait for public comments from either Drake or Quentin, the former's longtime collaborator took to Twitter to respond to the - at this point massive - amount of conversation surrounding the controversy. In a rant of his own, he refutes Meek's claims, touches on his (brief) working relationship with Quentin Miller, defends Drake's creative process and manages to sneak in a well-placed "lol" of his own.
Quentin Miller Finally Speaks
It took days, but the alleged "ghostwriter" finally broke his silence on the subject by way of a Tumblr post (which I covered quite exhaustively). In it, he details the working relationship that him and Drake (apparently briefly) shared and flat-out denies his "ghostwriter" status. You can read his full comments below, but the emphasis here is the fact that he could never take credit for anything... anything except the few songs they worked on together. LOL.
Winter 2014… I was just another guy working a job he hated with a passion for music…. And somehow found myself on the phone with One of my idols..
i told him i worked in a bakery and his exact words were “Fuck that, your destined for greatness"…
Hearing that from someone that I’ve been studying since 2009, bar for bar…. Theres no way to describe that..
Most of the project was done before i came in the picture.. i remember him playing it for me for the first time thinking "Why am I here?” like.. what does he need me for??
The answer is.. Nothing…
I watched this man piece together words in front of me…
I watched him write/ replace bars 2- 3 at a time on 6pm in NY.. I witnessed him light up, go in and freestyle madonna….
I took notes from the best in the game….
I remember him Showing me the thank you notes in NY before the album dropped.. Showing me the QM, telling me they put me on the credits (Ghostwritter???) … He attached my name to something that touched the world..
When nobody would pay attention, drake saw something in me and reached out… Of all people… drizzy..
Two artist in exact opposite spaces in their career.. We came together and made something special..
I am not and never will be a “ghostwriter” for drake.. Im proud to say that we’ve collaborated .. but i could never take credit for anything other than the few songs we worked on together ..
Thats all i have to say on it.. back to this 1317 shit…
Drake Unleashes His Diss Track
Much of the social discussion around the Drake/Meek beef centered around when either of the two were going to take their threats to wax. As emcee beef is best handled when backed by an instrumental and when you actually hear some rapping, the people were anticipating some damn good diss tracks. During Drake's OVO Sound show on Apple Music's Beats 1 radio, he debuted "Charged Up," which may be the only diss record in history that would sound at home on a playlist you would make to help your girlfriend fall asleep. Despite the calm, atmospheric vibe and the lack of names, "Charged Up" was full of shots at Meek ("Come live all your dreams out at OVO," "Done doing favors for people/Cause it ain’t like I need the money I make off a feature/I see you niggas having trouble going gold/Turning into some so and so’s that no one knows") and even Funk Flex ("Need DJ Clue to drop a bomb on it").
Meek Speaks Again
Meek took an opportunity to again speak out on Drake while performing in Virginia on his boo's Pinkprint tour after briefly apologizing to Nicki for his tweets. As Billboard reported, Meek said,"I was doing my album and I asked [Drake] to give me a verse for my album, but [Drake] gave me a verse that he didn't write, that another wrote" and said that “Charged Up” was “very soft, baby lotion soft." Nicki also spoke out, to remind the crowd that she wrote all of her own verses. Oddly enough, despite being the impetus for the entire situation, Meek finished by saying, "Shout-out to Drake, let him be great ... but I'm still the realest n**** in this bitch."
Funkmaster Flex Gets Involved... Again
Still with me? I'm barely with me at this point. We've heard from Meek, Drake, Quentin Miller, 40, a Toronto city councilor, Funkmaster Flex, OG Maco, Nicki Minaj, Lupe Fiasco, Yoh, myself and basically every person with a Twitter account, but we have not yet heard a Meek Mill diss/response track. This wait was set to end last night at 7pm, when Funkmaster Flex teased that he would be premiering the much-anticipated response.
And... nothing. It seems all of the hype was for naught, as Flex did not play a new Meek Mill diss track, and people are fucking pissed. So pissed, in fact, that a petition has been started with the aim of having Funk Flex step down from his role at Hot 97. A petition such as this does not simply materialize out of the blue, as many have been asking for some time now, but last night's disappointment was the last straw. As the petition so bluntly puts it, "This fraud of a DJ decided to lie to everyone for ratings and downloads of the Hot 97 app that Meek Mill would be on tonight to release a diss track to Drake to no avail. No one has given Hot 97 two hours of listening time since Biggie was alive, and it's a crime to have taken that from us. The people have spoken and it is time for Funk Flex to step down." The petition has passed 8k supporters at the time that this was written, and you can sign yourself via change.org. If not, I encourage you to at least head there and laugh at the ridiculous responses concerning why people chose to sign. For what it's worth, Meek took it upon himself to release something via Twitter, but it was a joke. A painfully obvious joke.
Drake Goes "Back To Back"
In the wake of Drake’s “Charged Up,” all ears were on Meek and his (hopefully) inevitable response. Well, another diss track emerged in the predawn fog of early this morning, but it wasn’t from Meek. No, instead it was Drake firing off for the second time on a “Back To Back Freestyle” and sheeeeeeeeesh, he went in. While we still didn’t hear Meek’s name spoken, lines like “Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?” and “trigger fingers turn to twitter fingers/You getting’ bodied by a singin’ n*gga” are full-force haymakers aimed at the Philly rapper. Even the artwork is a nod to Drake’s hometown besting Meek’s hometown in the 1993 World Series, thus winning “back to back” titles. Meek has to respond at this point, and quickly, right?
Making things even more interesting, Drake referenced buying bottles for Power 105.1's Charlemagne on the record. Though the two have feuded for years, this beef is such that Drake is willing to put that behind him in order to gain further allies in the beef against Meek, Hot 97 and Funk Flex (who Charlemagne has also been very critical of for his involvement in the situation). Proving that Drake is a man of his word and that this beef becomes more epic with every new development, he had six bottles of Dom P delivered to Charlemagne the morning the record was released, along with a note that simply read "Let's be friends, Aubrey Graham."
Joe Carter, the hero from the 1993 World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays who is pictured in the freestyle artwork, later reached out to Drizzy to thank him for using the famous walk-off homerun photo.
Meek Finally Responds
It seemed like it took years (at least in terms of Internet time), but Meek finally took to responding with "Wanna Know," a brand new record uploaded to the
SoundCloud in the late hours of July 30. With the ominous sounds of the entrance music for professional wrestler The Undertaker setting the stage, Meek launched into his verbal assault against Drake, sampling Quentin Miller's reference track and touching on the ghostwriting allegations, complete with cover art that displayed some (poor) Photoshop-ing of Drake into the body of one of the notorious Milli Vanilli frauds. After all the boasting and shots fired, anticipation for the record was huge, and yet in the eyes (and ears) of many, the track just did not live up to the hype. The world was ready for Meek to present his case, and the finished product was low quality. The lyrics were a little difficult to decipher and the track seemed unneccesarily cluttered with dialogue and production switches. Judging from the public's reaction, "Wanna Know" was a complete backfire.
Drake's Instagram post, made after "Wanna Know" was made public, accurately summed up his thoughts on the response.
In the days after "Wanna Know" made its way to the 'net, the hip-hop world spoke out on the ongoing beef. Was it over? Did Drake win? Did Meek win? We shared our view on the ongoing battle. The public seemed to favor Drizzy as champ, but the question still remained on whether or not we'd hear from either artist again, and whether there was more to come.
Then OVO Fest happened...
At Drake's annual concert/celebration, not only did Drake call to arms a collection of some of the hottest artists in the genre at the moment, he proved that the situation between him and Meek is far from over... at least until tonight. Apparently caught wearing a "Free Meek Mill" shirt prior to the show, the fashion choice turned out to only be the start of a bad night for Meek. Drake kicked off his set by saying "You did it to yourself boy, I'd never let nobody disrespect my city and everything that we stand for," along with performances of "Charged Up" and "Back To Back" as a slideshow of Meek Mill memes cycled on the screen behind him. A SLIDESHOW. This performance alone elevated the beef to biblical proportions, sending Twitter into a firestorm of savagery and forcing even 50 Cent, the man who Ja Ruled Ja Rule, to weighin via Instagram.
Drake, though he may have been dressed as a Power Ranger, then proceeded to bring out Skepta, Future, Kanye West, Travi$ Scott and Pharrell. Even with a lineup like that (or maybe especially with a lineup like that), all the focus was on Meek, who happened to be getting his teeth cleaned. Meek did suggest in the video that he wasn't finished, and was prepared to "talk dirty" in response to the OVO outing, which continued on to see Drake perform "Know Yourself" as a mass of people mobbed on stage and "Back To Back" one more time just for good measure before closing out the night.
Hopefully this gives you a full recap of the Drake/Meek beef to current day. If not, hopefully this filled in some gaps in the road that started with Meek calling out Drake and moved on to multiple diss records and an epic OVO Fest. As for where we go from here, it's not looking good for Meek (to put it lightly). We're not sure there's any coming back from what's already transpired and Drake seems to have the public's back as the victor in the situation. For all the entertainment, and especially the memes, we can only hope it's not yet over. We'll continue to update this beef as additional facts come into play. One thing is certain though, Norm Kelly remains charged up.
[By Brendan Varan. He needs DJ Clue to drop a bomb on it. Follow him on Twitter.]