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Breakdown of Kendrick Lamar’s Drake Diss ‘6:16 in Los Angeles’

Drake’s biggest feat in a rap beef was dropping two back-to-back disses against Meek Mill, absolutely shattering him. He did it again in this beef but without the same effect. Kendrick Lamar, on the other hand, is going for that same kill. Unlike Meek Mill, Drake will likely respond, but with what? 

Image Courtesy of Getty Images

6:16 in LA is a reference to Drake’s timestamp rap series, where he’s known for rapping to the best of his abilities. The titles always have a specific time and place, like 5 AM in Toronto.

Kendrick referenced Back to Back, and how he liked it on Euphoria, so he did hint that he would go back to back with a diss track.

The title of the song is deliberate. 6:16 or rather, June 16th, is Tupac’s birthday and also Father’s Day. These are both things Kendrick dissed Drake using in Euphoria

In Drake’s Taylor Made Freestyle, he references Taylor Swift controlling Kendrick’s music career. In response, Kendrick used Jack Antonoff to produce this track. Jack if you didn’t know, is Taylor Swift’s main producer.

On to the diss track at hand, here is a breakdown.

Kendrick Wants War

The Heart Part 5 / Image Courtesy of Aftermath Records

Off-white Sunseeker at the marina

Fuck a Phantom, I like to buy yachts when I get the fever

Wine cooler spill on my white t-shirt, the sightseer

Trifecta, money, morals, and culture, that’s my leisure

My visa, passport tatted, I show up in Ibiza

Lucalis dwellings in Brooklyn just to book me some pizza

Who could reach us? Only God could teleport this type of

Kendrick employs Drake’s writing style to mock him. He effortlessly writes and raps Drake’s lyrics and flow. Drake is notorious for saying things like this, rapping about the luxuries of his life, especially on his timestamp records.

God, ah

My confession is yours, but

Who am I if I don’t go to war?

There’s opportunity when livin’ with loss

I discover myself when I fall short

Kendrick feels like he has to go with war with Drake, no matter the outcome. Even if he doesn’t win that war, he still feels he’s at his best when he finds out more about himself, even if he loses. It’s worth the risk for him.

Tell me who gon’ stop me? I come from love

Estelle cover my heart, then open me up

Remember when picked up a pen, lyrics that I can trust

Timid soul, stare in the mirror, askin’ where I was from

Often, I know this type of power is gon’ cost

But I live in circadian rhythms of a shooting star

The mannerisms of Raphael, I can heal and give you art

But the industry’s cooked as I pick the carcass apart

Kendrick feels that he makes art. He feels he puts his whole heart into the music he creates hence like a “circadian rhythm” it’s consistent but like a “shooting star” it takes time to make. In heavy contrast, Drake releases quite frequently and recently the critical reception for his projects has not been as great as it used to be.

He thinks hip hop today doesn’t follow the same principals he does so he’s picking “carcass apart” of the industry like he’s doing with Drake showing them his capabilities through his art.

Does Drake Really Have A Red Button?

Cover of Scary Hours 3 which featured Red Button / Image Courtesy of Universal Music Group

Ain’t no brownie points for beating your chest, harassin’ Ant

Fuckin’ with good people make good people go to bat

Conspiracies about Cash, dog? That’s not even the leak

Find the jewels like Kash Doll, I just need you to think

Are you finally ready to play have-you-ever? Let’s see

Ant is Kendrick’s manager, whom Drake trolled on Instagram after his diss track. Drake takes a page out of Drake’s book, Taylor Made Freestyle, where he mocks the other’s approach. Kendrick thinks that Drake doesn’t really have any information on Kendrick. “Play have-you-ever” likely refers to Kendrick not really doing any shitty things in life, unlike how he views Drake. Kendrick thinks Drake is making up stuff in order to diss, like he did with Weekend’s manager in Push Ups.

Are you finally ready to play have-you-ever? Let’s see

Have you ever thought that OVO is workin’ for me?

Fake bully, I hate bullies, you must be a terrible person

Everyone inside your team is whispering that you deserve it

Can’t toosie slide up outta this one, it’s just gon’ resurface

Every dog gotta have his day, now live in your purpose

It was fun until you started to put money in the streets

Then lost money ’cause they came back with no receipts

I’m sorry that I live a boring life, I love peace

But war-ready if the world is ready to see you bleed”

Kendrick again alludes to the fact that Drake is paying money and calling people to get information on him. The bigger reveal is that Drake has leaks in the ship which the Weeknd also claimed, but Kendrick takes it a step further.

He says there’s a lot of people from Drake’s team leaking information to him because he “deserves it.” Indicating there is more to Drake than meets the eye in how the people around him view him. 

Kendrick feels he’s a good person with no dirt out there on his life because he doesn’t lead a life like that. He leads a peaceful, boring life but he’s ready to get dirty in this war because he wants to see Drake suffer. 

Drake is playing a losing battle paying for leaks because there’s nothing there so he’s losing money. Drake has been claiming he has a massive nuke for Kendrick that he’ll reveal when he responds. Kendrick doesn’t think he has anything on him and it’s all a bluff. It’s unclear if Drake does have anything, but it doesn’t seem like Kendrick is scared.

Kendrick assures Drake there’s no “toosie sliding” out of this one, and he’s got to respond. This is in the same vein of what Drake did in Taylor Made Freestyle. If he wasn’t before, Drake is definitely on the clock to respond now.

The Mental Warfare of this Beef

Image Courtesy of Prince Williams/ Wireimage

The Elohim, KTW

Know you can’t sleep, these images trouble you

Know the wires in your circle should puzzle you

If you were street-smart, then you woulda caught that your entourage is only to hustle you

A hundred n***** that you got on salary

And twenty of ’em want you as a casualty

And one of them is actually next to you

And two of them is practically tired of your lifestyle

Just don’t got the audacity to tell you

Kendrick feels that Drake is struggling with this beef and that it’s keeping him up at night. Drake apparently employs a hundred people and twenty of them are willing to leak to Kendrick because they hate how Drake operates. The bigger reveal may be that one person that is even very close to Drake hates him and is helping Kendrick. 

This is mental warfare and Kendrick is killing Drake because if what he’s saying is the truth then Drake has bigger issues at hand. Even if Kendrick is overexaggerating, he’s getting into Drake’s head by making these claims making him doubt himself. 

But let me tell you some game ’cause I can see you, my lil’ homie

You playin’ dirty with propaganda, it blow up on ya

You’re playin’ nerdy with Zack Bia and Twitter bots

But your reality can’t hide behind wifi

Your lil’ memes is losin’ steam, they figured you out

The forced opinions is not convincin’, y’all need a new route

It’s time that you look around on who’s around you

Before you figure that you’re not alone, ask what Mike would do

Kendrick again mocks Drake for being an internet warrior. He thinks that Drake is using the internet to fuel this beef and his own self esteem but it’s not working because people will see past it. Drake has been posting memes for a while now about the beef which Kendrick finds isn’t working and how all these opinions of the people around him are fake. 

Kendrick keeps blatantly saying that Drake has been lying about people in his raps and once again reiterates that here with how Drake is “playing dirty with propaganda” which will backfire eventually.

He wants Drake to re-evaluate the people around him because they’re sinking the ship. Kendrick references Michael Jackson, a constant theme in these diss tracks to end it off and tells Drake to think of what Mike would do to reflect on himself.

If you want to know more about this beef, check out Part 1: The Backstory, Part 2: Drake’s Push Ups, Part 3: Drake’s Tupac and Snoop AI diss track, and Part 4: A breakdown of Euphoria

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An aspiring screenwriter based in California obsessed with the inner and outer workings of Film and TV. Vishu serves as an editorial writer for Film, Music and TV.