kendrick lamar diss drake j cole like that

The Great Debate: Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Drake – The Real Big Three of Hip Hop

In hip hop history, subtle disses have always played an essential role in maintaining the competitive spirit alive within the culture. Kendrick Lamar has never shied away from expressing his thoughts about fellow rappers through cleverly crafted lyrics, even if they appear to be friendly collaborations. One example is his verse in “Like That,” featuring TDE labelmate Jay Rock, which some fans believe contains hidden jabs at artists like Drake and J. Cole. This analysis delves into the intricacies of Kendrick’s bars and their potential targets.

Future & Metro Boomin ft. Kendrick Lamar – Like That (Drake & J. Cole Diss)

Verse Breakdown

“I done wore black leather pants twice (Two times)”

This line seems innocent enough but might reference the time Drake infamously sported all-black clothing during his “Hotline Bling” music video. Wearing black leather pants may seem trivial; however, this fashion choice was panned by critics and mocked online. By acknowledging he’s worn them only twice, Kendrick implies that imitating others isn’t part of his artistic ethos.

“Straight up from Compton to Congress, yeah”

Although both Drake and J. Cole hail from disadvantaged backgrounds – Toronto and Fayetteville, respectively – neither faces similar challenges related to gang violence and social inequality experienced daily by residents of cities like Compton. With these lines, Kendrick emphasizes how far he’s come despite growing up amidst poverty and crime.

“But still will reverse a U-ey to catch a vibe, uh

While many interpret this line as referring to Drake reversing course regarding beef between him and Meek Mill, it could also signify Kendrick being cautious around those who don’t share his values or dedication to authenticity. He maintains focus on his goals while keeping tabs on anyone trying to undermine him.

“When I pull up (Woo), give me head like a brainiac”

Some listeners suggest that this lyric takes aim at J. Cole due to perceived tension surrounding Kendrick’s absence from J. Cole’s 2016 album “4 Your Eyez Only.” While no direct conflict exists between the two artists, Kendrick asserting himself as someone worthy of respect shows confidence and perhaps slight dismissiveness towards peers attempting to claim equal status.

Kendrick Lamar – A Compton Prodigy

Early Beginnings & Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012)

Born and raised in Compton, California, Kendrick Lamar has always been open about his tumultuous upbringing and experiences growing up amidst gang violence and socioeconomic hardships. His breakthrough album,¬†Good Kid, M.A.A.D City¬†(GKMC), released under Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), solidified him as a force to reckon with, earning widespread critical acclaim and commercial success. GKMC showcases Lamar’s ability to seamlessly blend vivid storytelling with introspective themes while paying homage to both classic West Coast aesthetics and progressive sonic landscapes.

To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) & Untitled Unmastered (2016)

Lamar continued pushing artistic envelopes with the release of¬†To Pimp a Butterfly, which explores topics related to race relations, politics, and mental health over unconventional jazz instrumentals. With its thought-provoking subject matter and intricate production style, TPAB garnered universal praise from critics and fans alike, cementing Kendrick’s status as a visionary auteur in modern hip hop. Additionally, TDE surprised listeners by releasing¬†Untitled Unmastered¬†later that year, comprising eight previously unreleased tracks recorded during the TPAB sessions, demonstrating Lamar’s prolific creativity and commitment to musical innovation.

Damn. (2017) & Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (2022)

Following the success of TPAB, Kendrick returned to more traditional song structures on¬†Damn.¬†without sacrificing lyrical depth or emotional resonance. Boasting chart-topping singles like “HUMBLE.” and “LOYALTY.”, Damn. became Lamar’s first number-one album on Billboard 200, further broadening his appeal beyond core rap audiences. Most recently, Lamar released¬†Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,¬†which continues exploring complex themes through personal narratives and experimental soundscapes.

J. Cole – An Introspective Lyricist

The Come Up (2007) & Friday Night Lights (2010)

North Carolina native Jermaine Lamarr Cole began making waves in the underground circuit with mixtapes like¬†The Come Up¬†and critically lauded EP¬†Friday Night Lights. These early works introduced listeners to Cole’s poignant storytelling abilities and knack for crafting memorable hooks over soulful productions, setting the stage for his eventual ascension to mainstream prominence.

Born Sinner (2013) & Forest Hills Drive (2014)

Cole’s major label debut,¬†Born Sinner, went head-to-head against Kanye West’s Yeezus upon its initial release date but ultimately proved itself worthy competition thanks to standout cuts like “Power Trip” featuring Miguel and “Crooked Smile” alongside TLC’s Chilli. However, it was J. Cole’s third studio effort,¬†Forest Hills Drive, that truly catapulted him into superstar territory. Inspired by his childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, this concept album earned platinum certification without any features‚ÄĒan impressive feat achieved only by a few artists before him.

4 Your Eyez Only (2016) & KOD (2018)

Continuing his streak of successful releases, J. Cole delivered another certified platinum project with¬†4 Your Eyez Only, followed by the equally triumphant¬†KOD. Both albums tackled heavy subjects ranging from addiction and depression to societal issues faced by Black communities across America, solidifying Cole’s reputation as a conscientious rapper unafraid to address uncomfortable truths.

Drake – The Pop Icon

So Far Gone (2009) & Thank Me Later (2010)

Toronto-born Aubrey Graham started his journey towards global domination as Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation before transitioning to music full time. Releasing his seminal mixtape¬†So Far Gone¬†in 2009, Drake quickly established himself as a versatile artist adept at blending singing and rapping styles over inventive productions courtesy of Noah “40” Shebib. After signing with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment imprint, Drizzy dropped his official debut LP¬†Thank Me Later¬†in 2010, securing his place amongst hip hop’s elite ranks.

Take Care (2011) & Nothing Was the Same (2013)

Further expanding on his unique approach to pop-infused R&B-rap hybrids, Drake gifted us with two masterpieces‚ÄĒTake Care¬†(2011) and¬†Nothing Was the Same¬†(2013). The former featured iconic collaborations with fellow Canadian Weeknd (“Crew Love”) and Rihanna (“Take Care”), along with introspective bangers like “Marvin’s Room,” while NWTS boasted braggadocious anthems such as “Started From the Bottom” and vulnerable ballads √† la “Too Much.”

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (2015) & More Life (2017)

Between 2015 and 2017, Drake kept busy dropping back-to-back projects that demonstrated his staying power in an ever-evolving industry. First came¬†If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, initially marketed as a mixtape but eventually classified as an official album due to its overwhelming popularity and sales figures. Following suit was¬†More Life, dubbed a “playlist project” rather than a conventional record; it presented an eclectic mix of genres spanning dancehall, grime, Afrobeats, trap, and R&B.

Scorpion (2018) & Certified Lover Boy (2021)

Never resting on his laurels, Drake continued breaking records with double-disc opus¬†Scorpion¬†(2018), generating four Hot 100 number-ones including “God’s Plan,” “Nice For What,” “Nonstop,” and “In My Feelings.” He then capped off a wildly successful decade run with¬†Certified Lover Boy¬†(2021), featuring guest appearances from Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Future, and others. Despite facing criticism for alleged ghostwriting allegations throughout his career, Drake remains undeterred, consistently churning out hits that endure long after their respective eras have passed.

Conclusion

While many debates regarding the “best” rapper between Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Drake will persist ad infinitum, one thing remains indisputable‚ÄĒthey collectively represent the vanguard of modern hip hop, shaping its current landscape through innovative approaches to songcraft, storytelling techniques, and engaging performances. As such, they rightfully earn recognition as the real Big Three of our generation, leaving lasting legacies that future generations shall aspire to emulate.

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