Drake’s brand-new Nothing Was the Same is not only musically rich, it’s lyrically dense. And we know that OVO diehards have been hitting the rewind button, catching quotables and clever one-liners. But there are quite a few rappers that should probably be taking second- and even third listens to Drake’s latest album too. Some receive praise and adoration, while others may have gotten the subliminal end of the dis stick. Let’s see who’s who:
Prodigy: Sometimes it feels like the Mobb Deep MC doesn’t get enough credit for delivering some of the best murder music ever. Drake has clearly been influenced though. On the intro to NWTS, he borrows bars from Prodigy’s first solo single, “Keep It Thoro.”
“Heavy airplay all day, with no chorus, we keep it thorough, n—a/ Rap like this for all of my borough, n—as,” Drizzy spits as if he was flowing over an Alchemist beat.
Pusha T: The VA rapper and Lil Wayne have had something of a cold war going on, and that’s been documented. But Pusha’s never been the biggest Drake fan either: Who can forget “the swag don’t match the sweaters” line from his “Don’t F— With Me” freestyle? It’s hard to tell with all of the subliminals being flung back and forth, but a few of Drizzy’s “Tuscan Leather” bars could have been aimed at the G.O.O.D. Music MC.
“I’m just as famous as my mentor, but that’s still the boss, don’t get sent for/ Get hyper on tracks and jump in front of a bullet you wasn’t meant for,” Drizzy rhymes before delivering a few more jabs. “Here’s a reason for n—as that’s hatin’ without one/ That always let their mouth run/ Bench n—as talkin’ like starters, I hate it/ Started from the bottom, now we here, n—a, we made it.”
Nicki Minaj: How much more time are we going to spend on the intro? Well, it’s not our fault Drake gave us so much to digest on the opening track. By this time we’re sure Nicki has heard the lyric: “Not even talkin’ to Nicki, communication is breakin’/ I dropped the ball on some personal sh–, I need to embrace it.”
Jay Z And Every Other Rapper Who Thinks They’re The G.O.A.T.: Every rapper should feel like he’s the best right? So why should Drake be any different? On his third album (fourth if you count So Far Gone as an album), Aubrey lets everyone know he’s no longer the little homey.
“Like I should fall in line, like I should alert n—as/ When I’m ’bout to drop something crazy and say I’m not the greatest,” he moans on “Paris Morton Music 2.”
Kendrick Lamar: Drake isn’t into naming names. (Remember when he went head-to-head with Common on Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin’ “? His response was stern but subtle.) But there’s no way the nimble lyricist was going to let Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse go unchecked, right?
“F— any n—a that’s talkin’ that sh– just to get a reaction/ F— going platinum, I looked at my wrist and it’s already platinum,” Drizzy spits on “The Language,” a possible reference to K-Dot’s platinum-selling good kid, m.A.A.d city.
Bun B and Paul Wall: Drake’s love for Houston is well documented. On “Too Much,” he reminisces about H-Town and waiting backstage at the famed Warehouse for Bun B to show up: “Met a lot of girls in my time there, word to Paul Wall, not one fronted.”
Ma$e: In December, the Harlem rap vet told MTV News the only artists he would ever sign to now was Kanye West or Drake. We haven’t heard of any deals, but Drizzy must have heard the message loud and clear. Not only did he invite M-A-Dollar Sign to his OVO Fest, he paid homage to the former Bad Boy’s “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” verse, on “Worst Behavior.” Who’s hot? Who’s not?
Wu-Tang Clan: Some Wu-Fanatics were outraged when Drake drew comparisons to the almighty Clan on “Wu-Tang Forever,” but the odes to Shaolin’s finest don’t end on track #4. The Toronto MC listens to Cappadonna on “Tuscan Leather”; shouts out O.D.B. on “Worst Behaviour”; and makes way for Timbaland to spit the hook to Wu’s 1993 classic “C.R.E.A.M” on “Pound Cake.”
Lil Wayne: Turns out Drake and Weezy had already crossed paths before the Young Money boss flew him out to Houston to join him on tour in 2008. Drizzy recalls their first a run-in on “Paris Morton Music 2.” “He walked right past in the hallway/ Three months later, I’m his artist,” Drake reveals, though he speculates Tunechi probably doesn’t recall it.
Birdman: Rumors of Drake jumping off the YMCMB ship are a regular thing and they always get fans talking. While the NWTS star has always denied those reports, he once again puts the rumors to rest. “They know I come right every summer/ Cash Money Records forever, I’m always Big-Tyming, bitch/ I came up right under Stunna,” he spits on “The Language.”