Charged Up: The Art Of War

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The Dog Days of Summer. If you’ve ever lived in the inner city during the hottest months of the year, then you can attest to knowing that its a time of restless (and at times reckless) energy. In the summer of 2015, those in tuned to Hip-Hop aren’t discussing who has the dopest album of the season or who currently has the banger that’s sizzling throughout the clubs, but it’s the unexpected “beef” between Philly emcee Meek Mill and Toronto’s Drake.

There was a time where I’d be able to foresee collisions between rappers. Memphis Bleek threw a jab on 2000’s DJ Clue Presents Backstage track “My Mind Right” (And only a few fit in, your lifestyle’s written
So who you supposed to be, play your position) that would lead to the clashing of two of our most beloved emcees Jay-Z and Nas. Though I was too young to really grasp what transpired between Biggie and 2Pac, I can say that we haven’t seen anything come close to that in terms of that disastrous result and as much as some of you “rap fans” hype up that kind of bullshit, I’m glad that history hasn’t repeated itself since then.

To be honest, Meek vs Drake is laughable and Social media is it’s only accelerant. Ask yourselves, do you REALLY want to see a battle between MMG’s current breadwinner and October’s Very Own? Not likely as this battle has nothing to really offer the culture.  I’ll say this before I go any further, though I am from Philly, I’ll only support an artist from here if I like the music with that being said I’m not the biggest fan of Meek Mill’s music thus far. I enjoy “House Party” with Young Chris but “I’m A Boss” and “2Pac Back” and whatever else he’s released thus far don’t really do anything for me. As far as Drake goes, his music is more of what I’d prefer and it’s more so album cuts than singles. So it goes without saying that I don’t think Meek’s pen and can hold a candle to his current rival.

Didn’t the “cool” rap beefs begin with diss tracks? All of my favorite rap battles started off with a rapper talking slick on a record. KRS-One pioneered the approach with “South Bronx” which was his response to MC Shan’s “The Bridge”, a track that many assumed claimed Queensbridge as the birth of Hip-Hop. I could mention LL Cool J and Kool Moe Dee’s battle,  Common vs Ice Cube, and Canibus’s “2nd Round K.O.” to LL, but Meek vs Drake?! Not at all. And to think that it all started on Twitter. Meek’s rant materialized without provocation and he accused Drake of not writing his material. No one knows what brought this about and to mention that Drake didn’t “tweet” his album seemed more like a cry for attention than anything of merit (Did he NOT go through this with his current label mate Wale?). We waited for a response via Instagram, Twitter, a radio interview yet Drake stayed silent. Though he sent a message to known battle rapper and Wild N’Out cast member Hitman Holla stating that “he signed up for greatness. This comes with it”, the rest of the world (including myself) waited eagerly for a reply.

Yesterday, on OVO Sound’s radio show via Beats 1 radio, Drake released “Charged Up”, the long awaited response to Meek’s accusations and Funkmaster Flex’s out-of-the-blue instigations. In my opinion, Drake handled this situation strategically. This song is nothing more than a statement; A warning shot to Meek and anyone else that may assume that he isn’t who he appears to be. If you listen to rap, as in really listen to what’s being said and then you’ll understand why this is a fantastic chess move. There’s nothing aggressive here, no derogatory names were said, nor were the names of Meek or Flex mentioned but the guilty parties exposed themselves with their reactions. Some may not respect the subliminal direction that Drake chose but it was very effective. Even if Meek tried to downplay Drake’s response by calling it “Baby Lotion Soft“, it looks like he’s planning to release a response of his own tomorrow at 7PM. In the Art of War, if you can successfully bait your opponents then you’ve won half the battle.

“Charged Up” has received a mixture of responses. Some are in favor of it and see it for what it is while others were expecting “more”. I’ve seen “critics” (Facebook friends and Twitter geniuses alike) state that it was ok but wasn’t good enough to be a diss track but they’re missing the point. This ISN’T a traditional diss track, it’s an answer to criticisms that he’s received.  It’s a notification to his detractors that he’s aware of what’s going on and that he isn’t afraid of the competition. Game’s on and I’m placing bets on OVO.

“Cops are killing people with their arms up,And your main focus is tryna harm us?”Drake

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