By Evan Haynos
“This was my brother. That’s how we started and that’s how we going to finish this shit,” Drake yelled to a packed TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday night.
A few minutes earlier, Meek Mill rose from the luminescent stage to greet the Canadian rapper while “Dreams and Nightmares” played. This wasn’t your usual rapper-bringing-out-another-rapper — this was big. The two had been engaged in rap’s biggest feud, both public and personal, since 2015.
It started when Meek accused Drake of the cardinal sin of true MC’s – having someone else write your raps for you. This ghostwriting accusation spurred a mediocre diss by Drake, “Charged Up” that he quickly followed up with “Back to Back,” a Grammy-nominated missile going after Meek’s manhood and relationship with his then-girlfriend Nicki Minaj.
It didn’t matter whether Meek put out a diss track of his own (which he did); the war had been won by the one from the North.
The beef showed hip-hop fans a new side of Drake, a lethal-with-the-pen side. He sparred with one of the most lyric-driven rappers in the game, and demolished him.
Drake wasn’t the curly-haired, emotional kid who released Take Care, he was a legitimately feared MC. Since 2015, he’s gone on to release three of his biggest projects to date — two No. 1 albums and a No. 1 mixtape — solidifying himself in the minds of many as the king of rap.
Meanwhile, Meek’s reputation took a hit. People questioned him and his ability, and even though he’s dropped two successful full-length albums since then, it felt for a while as if he would never get out of Drake’s shadow. “Back to Back” became known as one of the best diss tracks of all time, at Meek’s expense.
In a tragic way, people seemed to forget about the whole conflict when Meek was sent to prison for a parole violation in 2017. The imprisonment caused waves of support from the rap community, including his former adversary. Drake repeated the “Free Meek Mill” motto at a concert in 2017 and, on the song “Family Feud” with Lil Wayne, seems to voice his support by saying, “I need my paper long like ‘A Milli’ verse/ Or too long like a sentence from a Philly judge/ Fuck is the point of beefing when we really blood?”
The duo responsible for hits like “Amen” and “R.I.C.O” are finally reunited and hopefully rap fans can expect more collaborations soon. In May of this year, Meek hinted at the potential of it during an interview with University of Maryland graduate and Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg.
“Everything is possible. I ain’t got no hate towards him,” he told Rosenberg. “I don’t believe he got hate towards me. “