Pusha T’s Daytona is upon us, and with it comes the scathing album closer “Infrared.” While largely finding Pusha spitting calculated bars over a chilling instrumental, the Clipse rapper made sure to save some time for longstanding rival Drake. “Your hooks did it, the lyrics pennin' equals to Trump's winning',” raps Pusha, “the bigger question is how the Russians did it, it was written like Nas but it came from Quentin." Naturally, the incendiary line once again reignited a long-dormant beef; once again, the name Quentin Miller has emerged to pester the Scorpion.
Admittedly Drizzy’s reputation reads as lover, not fighter, that is not to say he is entirely adverse to the smoke. Though plenty have fired shots in his direction, he largely opts to engage in the tried and true silent treatment. Perhaps, should one truly draw his ire, a subliminal may be prepared and dispatched. In truth, he is simply too ubiquitous to wade into lesser frays. While that never stopped Eminem from tangling with Benzino, Ja Rule, and Irv Gotti, Drake understands the importance of what’s at stake. The capo is hardly suited to tangle with middlemen, and Drake moves according to ancient tradition.
Pusha T is far from a middleman. In fact, he all but encapsulates the archetypical capo, crafting a legacy on the strength of his cinematic mafioso narratives. Not to mention, his status as the acting president of GOOD Music imbues him with a certain gravitas. In many ways, an artist of Drake’s stature simply cannot sit idly by while King Push takes his shots. Not in a world where ego is so dominant. It’s likely that Pusha’s latest diss will indeed leave Drake perturbed, and with Scorpion on the way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 6ix God once again set his sights on his longtime foe.
You might be wondering where this all went left.
DUNCE CAPPIN' & KAZOOIN'
In 2006, Clipse and Lil Wayne found themselves embroiled in a war of words, largely propagated by the act of perceived swagger-jacking. Wayne’s cover story on VIBE found Tunechi adorned in BAPE apparel, the garments favored by Clipse and longstanding producer Pharrell Williams. This led to Malice sending subs at Wayne on “Mister Mr. Too,” rapping “wanna know the time? Better clock us, n***as bite the style from the shoes to the watches.” As the video featured several poser-types rocking BAPE, it wasn’t long before the shots caught Wayne’s attention.
In an Interview with Complex in 2007, Wayne seemed to be particularly heated. Upon being asked about the Virginia duo, Weezy sounded off. “I don’t see no fuckin’ Clipse. Come on man. Weezy, man. They had to do a song with us to get hot, B.” Naturally, this was enough to prompt an open rebuttal from Clipse, who addressed Wayne in an interview with Laced Magazine, as documented here.
“You can’t kiss other men, you can’t wobble dee-wobble dee, and and you can’t bite styles. You can’t bite everybody’s styles,” said Pusha, addressing Wayne’s notorious father-son kiss. “You can’t try to rap like Jay-Z, dress like the Clipse, become a coke dealer after 5 albums, and now dress like Jim Jones. You can’t do all that and be a legend. You have to be a trendsetter and he ain’t setting any trends.” The open disdain continued throughout the years, with barbs largely limited to interviews. Eventually, the heat tempered, until Pusha reignited the feud on wax with his 2011 drop “Don’t Fuck With Me.” While he went on record denying it, the general consensus seemed to feel that Pusha was targeting both Drizzy and Wayne alike.
Pusha T - "Exodus 23:1"
Pusha continued the assault, delivering “Exodus 23:1” The lyrics, which appeared to be aimed at Weezy and Drizzy alike, were far less disputable than its predecessor. “Contract all fucked, I guess that means you all fucked up,” raps Pusha, “you signed to one n***a that signed to another n***a / That’s signed to three n***as, now that’s bad luck.” Anybody familiar with Wayne’s tumultuous label situation with Birdman can figure that one out. To nobody’s surprise, the track prompted Wayne to fire back with a surprisingly non-deleted Tweet: “fuck pusha t and anybody that love em.”
Naturally, loyal-to-a-fault Drake didn’t take kindly to the disrespect of his mentor Lil Wayne. While the beef never seemed to merit an all out war of the “Takeover”/”Ether” variety, it most certainly spawned a sea of subliminals, fodder for the more analytical fans. One such response seemed to arrive on Nothing Was The Same opener “Tuscan Leather,” which found Drake firing veiled threats in Pusha’s direction. “"I'm just as famous as my mentor, but that's still the boss, don't get sent for,” he raps, “get hyper on tracks and jump in front of a bullet you wasn't meant for.”
As they say, better late than never. In 2016, Pusha T dropped “H.G.T.V,” and proceeded to keep the animosity alive. “The talk don’t match the leather,” he raps, alluding to the aforementioned “Tuscan” joint. “The swag don’t match the sweater.” He continues, throwing shade at Drake’s Far Gone motif in the process. “It’s too far gone when the realest ain’t real, I walk amongst the clouds, so your ceilings ain’t real,” he raps. “These n***s Call of Duty ’cause they killings ain’t real, with a questionable pen so the feeling ain’t real.” And thus, Pusha emerged with his sights on Drake’s Achilles Heel, a spot he would go on to revisit two years later.
Pusha T - "H.G.T.V"
In 2017, Drake came through with his most confident response yet, the More Life selection “Two Birds, One Stone.” Proving that he can, indeed, handle himself against a genuine top-tier lyricist, Drizzy took aim at Pusha’s storied reputation, questioning the veracity of his namesake while bolstering his own oft-disputed authenticity:
“Fuck the rap game, it’s all lies and it’s all filthy
Two percent of us rich
And the rest of these n***as are all milky
Got two of my n****s off on the not guilty
Gave back to the city and never said it
If I didn’t live it but still they try to tell you I’m not the realest
Like I’m some privileged kid
And never sat through a prison visit
Like it was handed to me, top of the ribbon
I never worked to get it
But really it’s you with all the drug dealer stories
That’s gotta stop, though
You made a couple chops and now you think you Chapo
If you ask me though you ain’t lining in the trunk with kilos
You bagging weed watching Pacino with all your n****s
Like “this is what we need to be on,” but never went live
You middleman in this shit, you were never those guys
I can tell cause I look most of you dead in your eyes
And you be trying to tell that story for the rest of your lives”
This was last year. Following “2 Birds,” Pusha failed to issue a response. At least, until now. As stated earlier, the Daytona listening party revealed a gleeful Push rapping along to his own bars, openly invoking the bane of Drake’s existence. Quentin Miller, the Stormy Daniels to Drizzy’s Trump.
In a recent interview with Angie Martinez, Push doubled down on his stance, reflecting on hearing "2 Birds 1 Stone." "I heard it, I felt like, okay. I can't have an argument about how real I am," says Pusha. "Let's not do that. If it's rap, let's let it be that. And I'm just speaking my truth, on this. I don't think it's anything disputable." For now, the beef continues to live on, as neither party seems willing to back down. Conversely, neither seems particularly interesting in bringing things to the next level. It's hardly deeper than rap, but the animosity remains undeniable. If history truly does repeat itself, expect a response from Drake in approximately two years time.