Kanye West and Drake: The History of Their Feud, Explained

Chris Barilla - Author

Aug. 25 2021, Updated 5:06 p.m. ET

Kanye West, Drake
Source: Getty

Odds are that if you're a fan of Kanye West, Drake, or both, you're very aware of the beef between the two that has boiled throughout the last few years. Whether it be subliminal disses in songs, directly addressing one another on social media, or the slew of other ways the two have come at each other, one thing is for certain: There is some bad blood between two of rap's biggest superstars.

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Now, with Kanye gearing up to release his next studio album, "Donda," and Drake seemingly doing the same with his next project, "Certified Lover Boy," the beef has been reignited — and, for better or worse, it's producing some pretty wild results already. So, why exactly are the two beefing? Here's a breakdown.

Kanye West, Drake
Source: Getty Images
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Kanye West's involvement in the beef with Drake began in 2018 thanks to the latter's ongoing feud with Pusha T.

Drake and Pusha T's beef has been long documented, extending as far back as 2011, but Kanye's involvement in it all can be traced to the release of "Infrared," a track from Pusha that doubled down on all of his negative claims about Drake over the years.

The Canadian superstar decided to begin taking aim at Kanye at this time as well, releasing "Duppy Freestyle" and "I'm Upset" as a response to "Infrared," both of which referenced Kanye and Pusha and his grievances with them.

Then came "The Story of Adidon" on May 28, 2018, Pusha's response track to Drake, which claimed Drake hid his son from the world, as well as attacked Drake's family and associates. This release raised questions about who could have given Pusha such sensitive information.

Many fingers were pointed at frequent collaborator Kanye, who was close with Drake for years prior to Drake and Pusha's beef. Although this was never confirmed, it set the tone for their relationship going forward.

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The beef became fairly tame for a while, but then the 'Donda' rollout began.

Aside from a few subliminal messages during feature verses as well as some since-deleted tweets from Kanye, the beef largely went quiet for a while after that. Little was heard of their feud between 2019 and 2020, and as 2021 unrolled, things seemingly shifted toward friendliness. Industry insider Karen Civil tweeted that the duo actually made amends.

However, the peace was short-lived, and the beef hit the public consciousness again right after Kanye's first listening party for "Donda."

Kanye West and Steven Smith
Source: Getty Images

Kanye West and Steven Smith

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Frequent Kanye collaborator Consequence tweeted, "We looking for @Drake drop date. @THEREALSWIZZZ Line It Up!!! #DropYaLo," seemingly insinuating that Kanye was looking to line his release up with "Certified Lover Boy."

Six days later on July 30, 2021, Drake seemingly responded to this, saying during his radio show, "'Certified Lover Boy' on the way, and that’s for anyone in the way."

Things only became more heated from there. Kanye seemingly responded to Drake's claims on "Donda," teased during his second listening party, rapping, "Move out of the way of my release / Tryna get me off my Qs and Ps / Why can’t losers never lose in peace?"

A few days later, members of both artists' camps got into it in the comments of an Instagram post, with another Kanye collaborator, Don C, calling Drake's new shoes "Plan B," causing Drake's friend Chubbs to respond with, "See us outside."

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The true boiling point of the current iteration of their beef emerged on August 21, 2021, when Drake's feature on Trippie Redd's new album was shared to streaming platforms and the rapper took aim at Kanye again. This time, Drake quipped "All these fools I’m beefin’ that I barely know / Forty-five, forty-four (Burned out), let it go / Ye ain’t changin’ s--t for me, it’s set in stone" on the song "Betrayal," which seemingly set Kanye off.

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The "Jesus is King" rapper didn't take this lightly, responding via a since-deleted Instagram post featuring a text thread allegedly aimed at Drake, which shows Kanye's text reading as follows: "I live for this. I’ve been f----d with by nerd ass jock n----s like you my whole life. You will never recover. I promise you."

He then followed that up with another since-deleted post in which he exposed what appeared to be Drake's home address, taking the beef to a level it has never reached before.

Rick Ross offered his take on the situation as well: "I understand the genius to both of these artists."

During an August 2021 interview with SiriusXM channel Urban View’s The Mike Muse Show, fellow rapper and frequent collaborator with both Kanye and Drake, Rick Ross, gave some insight into the beef from an impartial standpoint.

"I love it," he explained. "I spoke with Drake last night. I love it. And when we spoke, after we got off the phone, he sent me a text and it was so powerful. He said, 'Everything is unfolding. I'm about to be as free as a bird.' And he put the caption with the owl."

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Rick continued by adding, "I couldn't do nothing but put 'hahahaha' because to me, I understand the genius to both of these artists, and I understand this is nothing personal to them. This is two levels of creativity inspiring each other. Because they both are right now thinking of the artwork, thinking of the credits, where do we place, what color is this, and to me, it only makes the game that much more genius, that much more valuable."

Given that context, it's unclear how the beef will go forward from here, but taking into account Kanye's most recent deleted posts, it appears as though the gloves are off and things are becoming more intense than ever. Now, it seems that all fans can do is tune in to "Donda" and "Certified Lover Boy" upon their respective releases as well as each artist's social media channels to see if either mentions the other any further.

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