Def Jam Records

To be honest, I thought “The Story of Adidon” was impossible.

Without much a fight, Drake remained at the top of rap music. Yes, he took a shot or two from Kendrick. Yes, Meek Mill tried to go at him. Jay Z leveled a blow here and there as well. But nothing — not the ghostwriting accusations or his relationships with strippers — were enough to challenge him at the top of the Mt. Kilimanjaro of Rap. He’s Teflon.

Not anymore.

Pusha did something that others couldn’t: get personal.

Portraying Drake as a derelict dad carries a gang of potency. He’s been your girl’s prime inspiration for every IG caption since 2013 (“nice for what to these n*ggas?!”), a rapper whose music is very transparent when it comes to relationships and love lost. Hell, he fast-pitched a liquor bottle toward Chris Brown.

Drake’s image is crafted to be the guy that companies go to when they want hip-hop dollars but not its alleged destructive behavior. He’s safe. Nothing about him says that he would cut off his child emotionally and financially.

Until we found out about it. And Pusha knew that. “The Story of Adidon” is calculated as it is cut throat.

But it is going too far? That’s super contextual.

A few years ago, I wrote about the backlash that Drake — yes, the same Drake — received for “Two Birds, One Stone”. Drake that many found offensive and crude.

You were the Man on the Moon
Now you just go through your phases
Life of the angry and famous

Seems slight. Months prior, Cudi checked himself into a mental health facility for depression and suicidal tendencies. See the low blow? Most chalked it up to rules of “rap beef”. You cut them where it hurts to win, simple as that. It isn’t about playing nice or fair. You say what’s needed for your foe to understand that you refuse to back down.

But others felt that it went too far. Why take jabs at a man who is not fit to respond? Why level that when you took it light at the man who kept coming at your neck in the first place (that would be Pusha T.)?

As I said in that piece, welcome to the world after “condoms and baby seats”:

Jay Z finally responded to Nas with “Superugly”, a hodge-podge attempt to finally take Nas down using the one bullet that Jay knew would hurt: baby moms.

See, it was rumored at the time that Jay Z had a sexual relationship with the mother of Nas’ daughter and that Nas was aware. We weren’t though. So when Jay said “skidded in your jeep, left dirty condoms on your baby seat”, it was like the world stopped. That… that … was ballsy, brazen and definitely uncalled for.

[…]

On “Ether”, Nas never went personal-personal. Gay jokes, ehh… but not that personal. There was a supposed code: you don’t talk about family. Jay decided to mention that he had sex with the mother of Nas’s child in the car that Nas bought for her. That’s low.

But I also came from the same era where Jay’s lyrics about his sexual dalliances with Nas’s girl were — and still are — wrong. It wasn’t okay to air that type of dirty laundry out there, involving people that had nothing to do with it. There was a level of ethics. Screwed-up ethics but still.

But that barometer of acceptable rap beef conduct has changed. And rap has to catch up with that, whether it wants to or not. You can’t make light of suicidal attempts and not get lambasted for it. You can’t pull off an “Ether” in 2016 and get away with it. If Nas — or any rapper now — released something that called every body a ‘f*ggot’, folks would be out of here.

Jay Z’s diss toward Nas still haunts these debates. We can say in retrospect that Jay lost by mentioning that he slept with the mother of Nas’s child. She became an unwilling bystander, bringing attention onto her that she did not deserve. We see that here in both records from Drake and Pusha. Drake mentioned Pusha’s soon-to-be wife by name. Pusha responded by airing out all of Drake’s dirty laundry. Heavyweight fight.

Pusha not only drags baby moms through the mud but he called out Drake’s parents. He even takes shots at the health of OVO40, Drake’s long-time producer, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Every important person to Drake caught a stray in “The Story of Adidon” and we felt it.

It’s beyond super ugly. It’s super personal. And it’s the kind of game play we’ve been used to in rap for decades. Doesn’t mean we’re cool with it all.

Memoirist in spirit and in truth. Christian essayist when both the spirit and truth move me. email: crjtwrites[at]

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