Last night, a week after he began a feud with popular rapper Drake on Twitter, lesser-known lyricist Meek Mill of Philadelphia released a much-anticipated but largely underwhelming diss track, "Wanna Know." The song title trended on Twitter for hours as hip-hop aficionados mostly clowned Meek for taking so long to produce a song so terrible.
The memes in response said it all, particularly this one:
Meek's Thursday-evening offering is in response to the two well-received songs, "Charged Up" and "Back to Back," which Drake directed at Meek earlier this week. The latter song included the memorable line "Is that a world tour or your girl's tour?"—a reference to Meek's performance as an opening act for his far-better-known (and wealthier) girlfriend, hip-pop star (and Drake's labelmate) Nicki Minaj. Rolling Stone described the song as Drake "demolishing" his in-over-his-head competitor.
If you are confused at all as to why two grown-ass men are engaged in a public war of words, I assure you that even rap fans who have been following this since the start are also perplexed. I'm warning you now, the explanation will not make sense, but allow me to explain from the beginning anyway. May we go back?
On June 29 Meek released an album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, that made it to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The album included a song that featured Drake. Yes, the same Drake that Meek attacked last night, but first on Twitter.
About a week ago, Meek went on a late-night rant accusing Drake of not writing his own lyrics. "Stop comparing Drake to me too … " Meek began on Twitter. "He don't write his own raps! That's why he ain't tweet my album because we found out!"
He added, later, "[Drake] ain't even write that verse on my album. And if I woulda knew I woulda took it off my album … I don't trick my fans!"
There was warranted confusion as to whether Meek was actually upset that Drake allegedly used a ghostwriter, a man named Quentin Miller, who has publicly denied being Drake's ghostwriter. "I'm proud to say that we've collaborated," Miller wrote on his Tumblr page. "But I could never take credit for anything other than the few songs we worked on together."
Or was Meek in his feelings because Drake failed to promote Meek's album to his nearly 25 million Twitter followers? If that sounds like a ridiculous assumption, it isn't. Earlier in July, Meek publicly attacked his own labelmate Wale for the same thing.
Until this point, Drake had done nothing to bother Meek. Drake has spent the better part of the summer getting sexy in the gym, growing out his beard, attending tennis matches and occasionally performing. Oh, and working on his next album, Views From the 6. By his own account, he is not a guy who looks for trouble.
"I am a nice guy," he once said in 2013 interview with Angie Martinez on Hot 97. "That's how I was raised. I'm a cordial, very nice guy. I don't like confrontation, but I'm also not 'the' guy. Especially when it comes to rap. I'm ready."
And he proved that to be true on, not one, but two diss records aimed at Meek. "Charged Up" was measured and restrained. After hearing it, Meek called it "baby soft." Four days later, when Meek had failed to respond with a song in kind, Drake dropped "Back to Back" just before sunset on the East Coast. It was lethal.
Fans waited nearly a week, an eternity in hip-hop time, for a response record from Meek. In short, Meek sampled the entrance music for WWE's "The Undertaker," included a snippet of Miller singing a popular Drake song, referred to Drake as "butter cup" and made a shocking allegation that a friend of T.I.'s once urinated on Drake in a movie theater. The nicest thing that many listeners had to say was that they liked the song's beat.
At least he tried. Or, as a popular meme put it:
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. Follow her on Twitter.