[caption id="attachment_23145" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Drake, a rapper who inspires beef, performing in Las Vegas, January 2012. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images"][/caption]
It's open season on Drake. The cuddly Canadian rapper who's fond of wearing presentable woolen sweaters and making radio-friendly rap is fast discovering that other rappers love to throw mean insults your way when you assail to great heights of wholesome superstardom. The latest and highest-profile rapper looking to bully Drizzy is Common, who's just dropped a scathing dis over Rick Ross's "Stay Schemin'," a song which originally featured Drake. Online rumor-mongering suggests that the tennis player Serena Williams is at the heart of Com's attack -- both he and Drizzy dated her -- and keeping things mature and classy Common also demonstrated his intermediate Photoshop skills by altering his foe's name in the songs credits to "That Hoe Ass N****." With the world wondering how Drake's going to respond, it's good to know why rappers like to beef with Drake in the first place. He's so lovable, right?
1. Hashtag Rap Beef: Ludacris, "History Lesson"/"Bada Boom"
A beef that mixes up rap nerdery with pure pettiness, Atlanta's crass king of the punchlines took offense at Drake claiming that either himself or Kanye West's lil' pal Big Sean invented the hashtag style of rap. (In short, it involves leaving out the word "like" when using a simile.) So Luda ran back to his rap encyclopedia and highlighted prior examples of rappers using the style for "History Lesson," with Q-Tip, on A Tribe Called Quest's "Buggin' Out," getting the earliest mention for his "Minds get flooded ... ejaculation" lyric back in '91. Then Luda followed the track with "Bada Boom," during which he claimed, "Counterfeit rappers say I'm stealing they flows/ But I can't steal what you never made up, bitch!" [Listen here.]
2. Sweater Beef: Pusha T, "Sweet (Freestyle)"
The origin of the Clipse man's alleged beef with Drake is still cloudy, but while spitting over the Canuck's "Dreams Money Can Buy" production he dropped the barb "the swag don't match the sweaters." It was a slight taken by most to relate to Drake's status as hip-hop's foremost chunky-knit aficionado. (The song also references Oracene, the mother of the Williams' sisters.) That was back in September; for an early Christmas gift Pusha blessed the world with "Sweet (Freestyle)," which is coyly kicked over Common's track of the same name. Feel free to flagrantly join up the dissing dots… [Listen here.]
3. Jay-Z Association beef: Beanie Sigel
"I will smack the shit outta Drake's bitch ass!" So threatened one-time Roc-A-Fella soldier Beanie Sigel during an interview segment on the Halfway House street DVD series. As with most of Beanie's beefs, the origin of this one harks back to his unfulfilling time under Jay-Z's label; earlier in the interview he explained how this was beef-by-association, with Jay-Z having appeared on Drake's "Light Up" track. "I know that faggot shit you poppin' on them Drake records, them lil' slurs," he explained quite charmingly. "I'm a tell you niggas something: If you feature artists who dis me on your records, I'm a start coming at y'all lil' niggas." With Beanie's real life rap sheet taking in a charge of attempted murder, this is one beef Drake is wise to avoid. [Listen here.]
4. Passive-aggressive beef: Royce Da 5' 9", "Over (Freestyle)"
In which Eminem's favorite member of the Slaughterhouse crew drops a freestyle on top of Drake's "Over" beat, whips up a small storm of online speculation about whether or not he was making a dis move, and then denies it all via his Twitter account. Although threats like "I blow your kneecap off" and lines about how "I don't really have to go against actors" seem quite openly Drake-related, what with the rapper having a dodgy knee and a former life a teen thespian on Degrassi: The Next Generation. [Listen here.]
More beef-by-association, the Notorious B.I.G.'s one-time tryst is well known for her dislike of Young Money's female gem Nicki Minaj. So after warning Ms. Minaj that she'll "Fedex beef straight to your front door," Kim extends her message of ill-will to the crew's male star: "This 'hood shit, you and Drake ain't built for." Still, the last laugh with this one goes to the youthful Young Money duo who are clocking up platinum plaques while middle-aged Kim still struggles to reignite her career. [Listen here.]