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“Big Three” Beef: Whose Side are You on?

Kingpins of the rap industry, the “big three” refers to a group of rappers: J. Cole, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar, who’ve developed a friendly rivalry to determine who is the best rapper in the game. In a recent album by Metro Boomin and Future, Kendrick Lamar was featured on a song titled “Like That.” In Lamar’s verse, he sang, “Motherf*** the big three…it’s just big me.” The song reached #1 on billboard charts and gained lots of attention from hip-hop fans for the rap beef that has only escalated over the last decade.

Although Lamar exacerbated the situation with this line, this beef has existed for years. In 2013, Lamar called out Drake and J. Cole, saying he has love for them but wants to murder them, on the song, “Control.” Drake then responded saying the diss was just an “ambitious thought” and that Kendrick had no plans of murdering him. Fans and press then made their own interpretations for the next decade on what they thought were “disses” from the rappers on each other, including Lamar’s 2015 track, “King Kunta,” where he commented on rappers who used ghostwriters. Fans thought this was a shot at Drake, though Drake has denied ever using ghost writers. J. Cole said on a feature in Drake’s album, For All The Dogs that Drake, Lamar, and himself were the “big three” of rap, which led to Kendrick’s recent diss on Metro Boomin and Future’s album that dropped on March 22, 2024.

On April 4, J. Cole responded to Kendrick with a surprise album called Might Delete Later that shocked the world. The last song of the album, “7 Minute Drill” was three minutes of dissing Kendrick Lamar. He mentioned how Lamar “fell off” and is begging for attention. J. Cole in the past has not been the type of rapper to make a song of this variety, which is why this had stunned most of all of his listeners.

Rap enthusiast, Axell Wilson, has a fairly even liking of all three of these artists, but slightly favors Kendrick. “I think Kendrick did the right thing. This has been going back and forth for the last few years and Kendrick is just dissing them back. It’s not fair to think this is Kendrick’s fault when he’s just defending his honor.” Wilson loves this group of talented rappers and wishes this beef would be put to bed.

Tessa de Albergaria, a ride-or-die J. Cole fan, finds Kendrick’s diss very crazy. “I love Kendrick, but J. Cole literally said in ‘First Person Shooter’ that they were the big 3 of rap, which is a compliment to [Kendrick]. I’m glad Cole stood on business and dissed him as well.” De Albergaria is discontent with this beef and also hopes it ends.

At Dreamville Fest, on April 6 and 7, J. Cole publicly apologized for his diss, saying it was the lamest thing he’s ever done in his life. He claims he is proud of the project but regrets “7 Minute Drill” calling it the “goofiest sh*t”. He tried to keep it “friendly,” but realized after listening to it that it seemed disrespectful.

As of now, nobody is sure of who is in the wrong or how this will resolve. Rap lovers are hoping the big three can work this out because they are some of the most beloved rappers, and people love to see them get along and collaborate. Hopefully, a resolution can be found and the artists continue improving the rap game for years to come.

J Cole’s surprise album dropped on April 4. Image Courtesy of J. Cole.


  • Carter Battle

    Carter Battle is a sophomore at Santa Barbara High School, and he is a writer for The Forge newspaper. He is on the varsity basketball team and the track team as well. He wants to spread positivity and knowledge through his thoughts and writing. He also enjoys spending time with his family, and going on fun adventures with his friends.

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