Kendrick Lamar’s newest track “euphoria” is a sparring match that’s been brewing for years — one that solidifies his status as a masterful lyricist through slick wordplay, rapidly-changing flows and a fiery performance firing at hip-hop superstar Drake. 

While Lamar first started taking shots at Drake in his 2013 feature on Big Sean’s “Control,” the singers’ beef was thrust into the spotlight March 22 when hip-hop artists Future and Metro Boomin’ released their album We Don’t Trust You

In his punchy feature on “Like That,” Lamar seemingly targets Drake and 2014 Forest Hills Drive artist J. Cole with lyrics such as “Motherfuck the big three” and “it’s just big me” — a reference to an October song where the two crowned themselves as “the big three” alongside Lamar. 

J. Cole made a half-hearted response soon after in his surprise April mixtape, which he later apologized for and removed from streaming services. But Drake’s rebuttal in the April 19 “Push Ups” generated some buzz, especially among his fanbase, who fueled the feud between the hip-hop stars. 

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That was, until “euphoria” dropped on Tuesday. 

Lamar’s latest release isn’t merely a diss track — it’s a searing diatribe that lays out exactly why he hates the Canadian hip-hop artist and quashes any fire drummed up by Drake’s loyal listeners. Although this is the rapper’s first full-fledged diss track, the lyricism and performance skills that have earned him the reputation of one of this generation’s best artists make up for any lack of experience. 

The six-minute song wastes no time spewing quips at Drake, piling insults on top of one another in clever references to the artists’ otherwise vapid career pitfalls. Lamar rhymes his way through a rumor about the authenticity of Drake’s abs and his lack of a perceived classic album when he says, “Yeah, my first one like my last one, it’s a classic, you don’t have one / Let your core audience stomach that, then tell ’em where you get your abs from.” 

He uses another double entendre when referencing hip-hop artists Gunna and Pusha T, the latter of which feuded with Drake in 2018. He references Gunna’s hit song “Pushin’ P” with the lyrics, “I don’t like you poppin’ shit at Pharrell, I inherit the beef / Yeah, fuck all the pushin’ P, let me see you push a T.”

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The strongest section of the song is a rhythmic repetition where Lamar skips the metaphors and cuts straight to the point with the lyrics, “I hate the way that you walk, the way that you talk, I hate the way that you dress.” The rapid-fire assertions magnify the song’s tone of distaste, even as Lamar remarks, “We ain’t gotta get personal, this a friendly fade, you should keep it that way”. 

Near the end of the track, Lamar seems to transition into a Toronto accent mockery, slipping in “crodie,” regional slang meaning brother or friend, and a reference to New Ho King, a popular late-night Chinese restaurant in the Canadian city. He even alleges that Drake tried to file a cease and desist on “Like That” before trying to make amends with him and offering a “feature request.” 

While “euphoria” is undoubtedly less polished than his other work, it hits all the right points and cements Lamar as an artist residing at an entirely different playing field than other hip-hop superstars, including Drake.