The hip-hop world was rocked to its core over the past few weeks with a slew of traded diss tracks between two of the industry’s most iconic names: Kendrick Lamar, a virtuosic lyricist, and Drake, a moody, chronic hitmaker.

At opposite ends of the rap spectrum and with two vastly distinct styles, this diss-trading feud has cemented the two rappers in pop culture history in a high-stakes back-and-forth that reads like a musical smear campaign.

On Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That,” released in March, a surprise feature from Lamar touched on the beef when he vitriolically rejected the notion of a “big three” consisting of himself, Drake and J. Cole. “It’s just big me,” he asserted.

After a brief entry into the feud from J. Cole, which he quickly rescinded in what now reads as a psychically savvy move, the track-swapping heated up with Drake’s “Push Ups” and reached scorching temperatures last week with Lamar’s release of “euphoria” — a thorough, segmented attack on Drake’s character. Lamar followed up with “6:16 in LA,” released on Instagram, featuring a title littered with hidden layers: June 16 is Father’s Day in the U.S., Tupac’s birthday and the premiere date of the high school drama “Euphoria,” which Drake produces.

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Drake’s “Family Matters” dropped May 3, turning the pen against Lamar’s character, even alleging abuse in his relationship with longtime partner Whitney Alford.

In response came “meet the grahams,” in which Lamar addresses members of Drake’s family, starting with his young son Adonis and eventually making his way to addressing Drake directly with scathing, spiteful lyrics matched by an increasingly dramatic delivery.

The most explosive moment on this track comes when Lamar raps: “Dear baby girl / I’m sorry that your father not active inside your world,” accusing Drake of having a daughter that he’s abandoned. This lyric caused hip-hop fans to harken back to Drake’s beef with rapper Pusha T, whose 2018 track “The Story of Adidon” exposed Drake for hiding his son Adonis.

Most recently, Drake released “THE HEART PART 6,” a nod to Lamar’s “The Heart” series of songs. Drake denied allegations of having a secret daughter and Lamar’s implication that he’s had relationships with underage women. He makes a clumsy rebuttal to the latter claim, implying he’s too famous to get away with sexual misconduct.

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Throughout the diss-trading, Lamar has capitalized on his lyrical strengths and ability to weave metaphors into his vitriolic lyrics — even if he ironically claims to not have a “hatin’ bone” in his body.

And to Drake’s credit, it seems that the battle has brought out a stronger rap-oriented version of the artist who has often been drawn to moodier R&B-focused music.

But ultimately, a distinct winner is less important than the implications of this ongoing battle. These two have potentially ushered in a new era of rap that will draw on the animosity that gave us some of the most memorable classics in the genre. “meet the grahams” may sit alongside Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” and Nas’ “Ether” in rap canon as the disdain these two have for each other doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon.

Regardless of a victor, this is music history in the making. Fans can continue to watch from a front-row seat as the beef escalates beyond normality and into something of a cultural reckoning.