Tory Lanez and Drake have a history of petty beef that now stretches back years, seemingly trading subliminal shot after subliminal shot without ever putting a name to their punchlines. Lanez said he would smack, "some actor nigga boy," prompting Drake to hit back with "All you boys in the new Toronto want to be me a little" lines on "Summer Sixteen," setting up Lanez for yet another response on "Line Up."
There are a few more tweets and comments piled on top of that lean beef burger, but you get the point. When asked directly, Lanez has insisted that he's only coming for Drake's spot in the spirit of hip-hop competition. Well if that's true, Lanez has recently decided that the best way to compete with Drake is to sound exactly like him.
First, he dropped a remix to "Controlla," which for anyone else would be standard issue—the point of a remix is to reap the exposure of an already hugely popular song - but remixing a song from someone you'd publicly taken shots at seemed oddly passive-aggressive. Even the remix' artwork seemed to suggest something about riding waves or extinguishing them.
But fine, one remix does not a statement make. And then I heard his new joint, "August 19th," which could only be described by any rational, objective hip-hop lover as a remix of a Drake song like "Tuscan Leather" without the title and a different beat.
Drake certainly doesn't own the exclusive trademark over five minute hook-less songs over soul-sample beats about both your greatness and the forces conspiring against that greatness, but come on now. If you had told me these were Drake lyrics I would have believed you in a heartbeat. Or maybe they're just using the same ghostwriter:
Yeah I swear I'm feelin' like my greatest ever / Niggas like a cuban link the way we stay together
Shoutout all my ex's y'all just made me better / I had a couple of your friends rock my favorite sweaters
I have far too much confidence in Lanez' musical intelligence to assume this is a coincidence. He clearly seems to be pursuing some sort of "Do Drake's music better than Drake" plan, and if that's true it's a short-sighted strategy. Success is the sweetest revenge, but long-lasting success only comes for those married to originality. Here's to hoping Lanez' next release is one that only exactly and precisely sounds like Tory Lanez.