Round Two: Drake’s “Summer Sixteen” vs. Meek Mill’s “War Pains”

The rematch is here. Last summer, the hip hop world was emboldened by a new rap beef: the struggle over legitimacy between Young Money’s resident sadboy Drake, and Maybach Music mogul Meek Mill. Like many conflicts between rhymers these days, the origins of the Drake and Meek beef started with a Twitter post (or lack thereof), when an angry Meek exclaimed, “He don’t write his own raps!” As fans found out more about the argument, it became clear that Meek was upset at Drake for not tweeting about his second studio effort, Dreams Worth More Than Money.

The “beef” between Drake and Meek Mill continues (Photos obtained via Facebook)
The “beef” between Drake and Meek Mill continues
(Photos obtained via Facebook)

meek mill
What we ended up learning was that Meek wasn’t entirely incorrect in his accusation. It’s been frequently noted that the likes of Quentin Miller, a virtually unknown Canadian rapper, had created “reference tracks” for many popular Drake songs, including “Know Yourself” and “Used To.”

But Drake was able to circumvent this rather scathing discovery by putting out two of the most memorable diss tracks in recent times: “Charged Up” and “Back to Back,” which were both released before Meek could even put out a single response with “Wanna Know,” a song that was almost universally panned by critics. Meek begrudgingly took the L, and the beef faded away.

But last week Drake decided to reignite the rivalry with “Summer Sixteen,” the first single from his long-awaited Views from the 6, to be released this summer. The song opens with some swelling guitar chord loops before we hear the Drake’s quintessential crooning of “looking for revenge.” It was a fast-paced song targeting not only Meek, but also Tory Lanez, other artists from the so-called New Toronto movement, and a slight swipe at Kendrick Lamar with “Tell Obama that my verses are just like the whips he in/ They bulletproof,” referring to Lamar’s meeting with the President just last month. The song features a “Know Yourself”-esque beat change, which provides more energy to the track. Overall, “Summer Sixteen” manages to target Drake’s enemies just before his much-hyped album release, but something about the track seems stale and rushed; a little underwhelming for a Drake single.

After all, Drizzy has never been the best rapper. Rather, his strengths are in songwriting and catchy hooks—something “Summer Sixteen” is sorely lacking.

However, in a wild turn of events, Meek Mill put out “War Pains” on the same exact day, taking to Instagram to say, “The writers told me!” In other words, Meek is outing Drake’s ghostwriter-deploying reputation in a much more tangible way, releasing a diss just minutes after Drake’s song. “War Pains” sounds like the song Meek should have originally put out. The beat is hard-hitting, featuring some trebly guitar samples and scarce, slow drums. Meek is out to finally prove to the world that Drake can hire a ghostwriter anytime, responding to lines from “Summer Sixteen” throughout the song: “Are you claiming you HOV now?/ Why you state that ****?”

“War Pain” is exactly what Meek needed to combat Drake’s newest offenses, and he seems to have exceeded the momentum of “Summer Sixteen.”

Whereas Drake put out a somewhat underwhelming re-ignition of last summer’s most famous beef, Meek regained his faltering respect with “War Pains.” It almost makes one wonder why Drake decided to spark up the beef again. It may not go as well for him this