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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | Kendrick Lamar is out for blood on new single ‘Euphoria’

In response to Drake’s song “Push Ups,” Kendrick Lamar fired right back with authority and little mercy.
Dave Creaney/For Austin American
Kendrick Lamar performs Oct. 13, 2023, on the American Express stage during Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park.

An all-out rhetorical war has swept across the world of hip-hop in recent months, headlined by Kendrick Lamar’s heated exchanges with J. Cole and Drake.

Kendrick surprise dropped his highly anticipated response to Drake’s diss track “Push Ups,” titled “Euphoria” on Tuesday.

The juxtaposition of the two songs confirms that, as a rapper, artist, and man, Drake is to Kendrick what your 8-year-old son’s youth football team is to the Kansas City Chiefs: incomparable.

It’s hard to describe the magnitude of the war we are seeing right now, which all started when J. Cole referred to himself, Drake, and Kendrick as the “big 3” on the song “First Person Shooter,” released on Oct. 6, 2023.

The song wasn’t considered to be throwing shade at Kendrick, which made it all the more surprising when Kendrick ignited the war with his feature on Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That,” released on March 22. His line “Motherf*** the big 3, it’s just big me” made hip-hop history.

Drake’s response, “Push Ups,” was released on April 19. After J. Cole bowed out of the battle, Drake established that he would be making no such retreat.

On the track, Drake goes after Kendrick’s 5-foot 6-inch stature, his features on Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift songs, his latest album, and his record deal, in which he allegedly gave up 50 percent of his masters to his record label.

“Push Ups” wasn’t all bad, but it proved that Drake doesn’t have that much to say about Kendrick. Talking about his height, income, and past features is a pretty light conversation for a feud as intense as this.

Conversely, on “Euphoria,” Kendrick covered all the bases with blistering speed. Over a sweet and quiet instrumental, he begins the track by letting Drake know he didn’t come to play, wrapping up the intro with the warning “Don’t tell no lie about me, and I won’t tell truths about you.”

From there, it’s pedal to the metal. Kendrick references Drake’s infamous beef with Pusha T, which he clearly lost when Pusha revealed to the world that Drake had a secret child with the brutal diss track “The Story of Adidon.” He discusses Drake’s insecurity about his Blackness: “How many more Black features ’til you finally feel that you Black enough?

He even uses Drake’s “The Boy” nickname against him, spitting “I’m knowin’ they call you The Boy, but where is a man? ‘Cause I ain’t seen him yet.”

Clocking in at six and a half minutes — each second is stuffed with content to analyze — Kendrick reminds the world just how powerful and ruthless he can be. Though he is normally known for his quiet demeanor and private life, these last few months have revealed that it’s best not to poke a sleeping bear.

Drake’s diss track wasn’t all bad, but his significantly weaker subject matter and a multitude of controversies tarnished his reputation, setting him up for failure. “Euphoria” was simply the nail in the coffin for Drake. Calling Kendrick short doesn’t compare to Kendrick flaming Drake’s entire life and identity.

Drake’s fan service was cute, but Kendrick isn’t as concerned with getting his fanboys hyped as he is demolishing his target. After all, isn’t that what a good diss track should do?

All in all, little doubt is left as to who the smarter, more calculated, more skilled, and more capable artist is here. Drake can talk all he wants about Kendrick’s size seven shoes — he’s not even fit to shine them. “Euphoria” did everything it meant to do, and then some.

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About the Contributor
Evan Weidl
Evan Weidl, Opinions Editor
Evan Weidl is a senior majoring in political science. He previously worked in the opinions section as a columnist.