This is not the face anyone ever thought would be running victory laps in a rap battle. But fast forward to 2015, and Aubrey Graham has sonned one of the game’s hottest names, Meek Mill with two diss records that feel like effortless fly swats at a weeklong opponent, to beats girls can twerk to.
He’s a half Black, half Jewish suburban kid off the mean streets of Toronto, who got his famous start as a wheelchair-bound high schooler on Degrassi. A teen show. This was not supposed to happen.
But I can tell you how it did, why it did, and how it was executed perfectly. Before his lyrics graced the back of a Sprite can, Drake, my friends was a nerd. Not a kid who was completely cool in high school, and now complains of being “washed” like it’s a great thing if they’re home watching Netflix on a Saturday night. In reality, nerds are home watching Netflix every Saturday night. This is not a game. Drake won this for the real ones, and he did it using the nerd playbook, and executed it flawlessly.
1. Analyze the situation at hand.
Meek Mill blasted a series of tweets last week accusing Drake of using a ghostwriter, and even called out young OVO member Quentin Miller as the guy behind the rhymes. As Twitter reeled over the possibility, fans waited for some word from Drizzy. Aside from a comment on another OVO affiliate’s Instagram, Drake stayed mum on the accusations. He waited four days before dropping a response in the form of “Charged Up,” cutting his opponent with bars rather than quick quips in 140 characters or less.
2. Write a handwritten note. It’s the polite thing to do.
So this play is completely taken from John Green’s teen novel, Paper Towns. And I know this because I’m a nerd and I’m currently reading this while everyone’s at Hennypalooza having big fun. Drake rhymed, “You gon’ make me buy bottles for Charlamagne” on his second diss track, “Back to Back,” and Champagne Papi literally delivered.
Later today, Charlamagne shared a video of Drake’s special delivery on Instagram.
Aubrey, like Margot Roth Spiegelman, protagonist of Paper Towns, left a note with the gift: “Let’s be friends- Aubrey.” While Hot 97 and Funkmaster Flex are trying to come back after the botched premiere of Meek’s diss track to Drake’s initial diss record, our boy is delivering gifts to the competition. Ain’t no coincidence.
3. Philanthropy, at the expense of your opponent, has a glorious domino effect.
Now this one’s gonna sting, Philly. Back in March, Drake donated $75K to renovate an old recording studio at Strawberry Mansion High School. Meek Mill’s alma mater. You have to understand. Nerds spent an inordinate amount of time in high school as members of Amnesty International, and logged numerous hours of community outreach at the local Boys & Girls Club, reading to kindergartners and knitting at nursing homes, out of the goodness of our hearts, and to look like well-rounded citizens for the Ivy set. The irony and the tragedy. Not lost on the nerds, former and current.
4. Use your words, your big words, when and where it counts.
The introverted crew is not ever known to rant or shoot subliminals on Twitter. We’re also not known to make any move that isn’t completely well planned. We think before we speak, look before we jump, and analyze every probable outcome (see lesson 1). In a rare moment of bravado, you may see an obscure Radiohead lyric that “so describes our lives right now.” Drake used what he’s good at, laying a verse to a track, to sting Meek, who perhaps thought jabs at character on Instagram would knock out the Graham. But Drake took four days to think it through methodically, and this is why he keeps generating wins every single time he’s at bat.
5. When it’s about a girl, showing is better than telling.
Meek spat allegations of Drake’s ghostwriter in a 24-tweet tirade, instead of saving his street cred, and increasingly his manhood, by laying acidic heat on his bars. And let’s face it. This has a lot to do with a girl. Meek may be on tour with his girlfriend, Nicki Minaj, but let’s not forget this happened. Scratch that― is constantly happening.
And when relationships fizzle, girls always confide in the friendzone guy. So essentially, Drake isn’t going anywhere.
Can Meek come back from this? I’m not counting him out. Twitter is as fickle as a toddler’s tantrum, so he could win this in the last round. But the TKO is unlikely thanks to Drake’s calculations. Well played, good sir.
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