It’s inevitable. Flush from his bludgeoning of Meek Mill, it’s only a matter of time before Drake makes his move to clean house. Godfather fans will recognize immediately the fact that Michael Corleone had to kill all the old dons before he could become Capo di tutti capi.
Some of y’all have no idea what I’m talking about. For you, I’ll try to write slower.
So who’s left? Who’s the one man standing between Drake and total legitimacy; total control? Who’s the one rancid, unburied corpse of an MC that, until he’s properly disposed of, will always haunt the rap game with his presence and his lousy stuck-in-the-past fans?
Flabby, sick, old and weird, Jay-Z will have to answer the call. And the call’s coming.
And we should have known better than to believe Drake. We should have known that his cutesy “Diss me/you’ll never hear a reply for it” was too perfect; too promising.
Could this guy really be? Were we finally seeing the ushering in of a new era filled with the potential for something like the unity or at least restraint we so could have used when Pac and Big were still with us?
Then there was a bunch of other subliminals with a bunch of other inconsequential MCs. “Don’t do it Drake”, we were thinking. “Don’t sink to that level, you were supposed to be a better guy.”
Then, finally, the thing with Meek Mills and what’s worse, the response to the thing with Meek Mills.
If, as was claimed in the movie Whiplash, the worst thing you can tell an artist is “good job”, then certainly the worst thing you can tell an MC is “you murdered that nigga!” It leaves them with a taste for blood. It makes them embrace their inner vampire.
On Jay’s side, the road to the top was rocky but his reign has been unprecedented. The fact that now, almost 20 years after his debut album, he’s still gotta be in your Top 5, beats the next longest tenured rap king by 17 years.
Still, Nas’ “Ether” remains the best ever hip hop diss song not because, like 50’s “Back Down“, which effectively ended Jah Rule’s career, “Ether” threw Hov’s future into question: Hov was, by that point too deeply entrenched into hip hop and, unlike Jah Rule who’d only ever been “hot”, Jay had been focused, determined and proficient.
No, “Ether” was the best hip hop diss song ever because, unlike Pac’s “Against All Odds” which is second best and effectively declared one man’s single-handed war against everybody, “Ether” worked in reverse, severing important Jay-Z relationships; both professional and personal. Jay’s fall outs with both Beanie Sigel and Jaz-O can be traced to “Ether”.
“It’s like Hov can’t drop bars these days without at least four art references,” Drake once told Rolling Stone. “I would love to collect [art] at some point, but I think the whole Rap/art world thing is getting kind of corny.”
Hov fired back on that stupid DJ Khaled song. Called Drake “Miss Drizzy”. You get the feeling however, that if hip hop were a basketball game, Jay would have pointed to his own chest the way that star players do when they’ve taken a bad or unnecessary shot.
Still, the fact that Hov would even respond to something stupid said in hubris by a young clown is a staggering lapse in maturity.
Drake didn’t have enough hair on his chest at the time to come right back. Now he’s nailed one coffin shut and he’s starting to look around.
Hov sampled “The Ecstasy of Gold” from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly on his “Blueprint 2” Nas diss and his core fans are probably hoping that this thing’s going to play out a little more like Unforgiven, with Hov in the Bill Munny role.
Or it could end like The Godfather II, with Michael not so much sad that he had to kill so many men, as wondering how things ever got so far gone.