It seems just as fast as the feud between Drake and Meek Mill escalated, it fell flat just as quickly. The bout lasted about two rounds with Drake delivering a knockout in the second with “Back to Back.” Meek’s response track quickly became the source of more embarrassment, with most admiration coming for the track’s production from Jahlil Beats rather than the bars — Meek’s punches landed flat.
For the most part, it seems the beef has subsided. While Drake can still be heard sending subtle shots at Meek on his new collaborative EP with Future What a Time to Be Alive, his opponent seems to have bowed out. But there is still an elephant in the room that has yet to be sufficiently publicly acknowledged.
Meek came to hip-hop court with proof and receipts — reference tracks. The Philly rapper backed up his claims of Drake using ghostwriters with concrete evidence. A demo of Drake’s “10 Bands” was Exhibit A — in which Quentin Miller (the ghostwriter responsible for a lot of the lyrics on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late) can be heard rapping most of the bars that later ended up on the album version of the song. It would not be the only reference demo that would ultimately be leaked.
We all know what went down thereafter, but besides the two rappers at the forefront of the beef, there’s a couple more people involved that slid under the cracks. Hot 97’s DJ Funkmaster Flex injected himself into the feud by being vocal about Drake, calling him a “fraud” and premiering the lackluster response track from Meek Mill eventually on air along with playing a few more demos from Quentin Miller. Funkmaster Flex’s intentions could certainly be seen as questionable. But there’s another party involved who actually may be the biggest player in all of this.
Demos are not supposed to be public — especially when it comes to rap. It’s quite amazing that we heard as much as we did. But in order for that to happen, somebody had to make those reference tracks available. DJ Drama, who was in possession of the recording sessions from when Miller recorded the demos, is directly responsible for their release. And somehow, he’s been the least mentioned participant in all of this. And now that the beef seems to be over, the question still remains: why?
Some speculate that Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was supposed to be hosted by DJ Drama as a part of the disc jockey’s Gangsta Grillz mixtape series. The story goes that when Drake decided to release the project on iTunes as a commercial release and opt not to collaborate with DJ Drama the latter became upset which led him to get revenge by leaking the demos. That seems pretty extreme. Even if it’s true, is that really the whole story? And what does it mean for Drama’s reputation?
DJ Drama and Drake have collaborated in the past. Perhaps most notably, Drizzy appeared on “We In This Bitch 1.5,” a song on Drama’s Quality Street Music compilation album. Things must have gone very awry from after that point. While it’s possible that the speculated last-minute ejection of DJ Drama from IYRITL was all it took for Drama to seek revenge, it seems like there would have to be a bit more to the story.
We’ll have to see what the future holds for DJ Drama and Drake’s reputation, as well as any other details about the fallout that may still be on the way. Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and What a Time to Be Alive EP with Future are both available on iTunes now.