Joe Budden theorizes that Kendrick Lamar was actually gunning for Drake rather than Kanye in his “family ties” verse.
Towards the end of his verse, Kung Fu Kenny raps, “Smokin’ on top fives/Motherfuck that album, fuck that single/Burn that hard drive (Burn that shit)” before directly mentioning the Donda artist by saying, “Yeah, Kanye changed his life/But me, I’m still an old school Gemini (Lil’ bitch).” Many fans and critics have assumed that Kendrick was shading Kanye West and his antic-fueled rollout for his latest album. However, Joe Budden has come through with a surprising hot take about what Kendrick Lamar was really saying on “family ties.”
As Joe Budden sees it, Kendrick isn’t worried about Kanye West, he’s solely fixated on competing with Drake, and he argues that when Kendrick mentions “top fives,” he’s actually shading the Certified Lover Boy artist.
“Who’s in everybody’s top five?” Joe Budden asks when introducing his argument. “Are there five consistent names in everyone’s top five? Or are there more like two and three consistent names? You know when Hov said, ‘Who’s the best emcee— Biggie, Jay-Z, or Nas?’ He probably was really talking about a top five. He just didn’t want to tell y’all nobody gives a fuck about four and five in the top five.”
“You’re falling for the consumer Kendrick trick,” the Joe Budden Podcast host continues. “And that trick is going to allow him to have a crutch, so when he’s asked about it in interviews, he can give us that same bullshit that he gave us with ‘Control’: ‘Oh, that’s to whoever, take it how you want.’ No, no, no.”
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“Kendrick don’t care about none of these niggas. It is a facade. It is a trick,” Joe reiterates. When Ice asks him what Kendrick is actually saying when he raps, “Smokin’ on top fives,” Joe replies, “‘I have a hybrid strain of Drake and J. Cole a little bit in there. But this is a Toronto mansion, Degrassi special strain. Smoking on this, you’d love this. Gonna smoke more of this when I unlock more flows to come.’ He told you that. You thought he was telling that to who?”
Basically, Joe Budden feels all but certain that Kendrick Lamar and Drake are finally going to go head-to-head like rap enthusiasts have been wanting them to for years. “This is happening. Armageddon is here. Finally. It’s time. Top can’t save it. Punch can’t save it. SZA can’t save it. Keem can’t save it. They have to collide.”
Check out the full segment from The Joe Budden Podcast in which they discuss the rumored tension between Drake and Kendrick Lamar below.