On one of his new songs this year, Drake declared himself "The Petty King" and if you dig through his discography you'll see he has a point. The 6 God loves to diss his foes, either by outright saying their name or -- more often than not -- sneakily sending shots at them without revealing their identity, leaving them and all his fans to figure it out themselves.
Drake loves a subliminal diss, even a kind of obvious one, and follows in his idol Jay Z's footsteps in that fashion. He's dissed a ton of people throughout his career, so here are some of the best subliminal disses from Drake, and just who he was taking aim at.
Song: Fireworks (2010)
While they've never really confirmed any relationship, it's all but public knowledge that Drake and Rihanna dated at some point or points. Nobody really knows what happened, but Drake decided the opening track to his debut album was the perfect place to clear the smoke in the air about the situation. Now, you might be asking, was this a diss? Well, since he sounded as scorned as could be, saying stuff like "I could tell it wasn't love" I'm going to go ahead and say it was.
Song: 0 to 100 / The Catch Up (2014)
Look, Kanye is going to be on this list a few times. Drake clearly has a few bones to pick with Ye, over his pool and who knows whatever other reasons. At the time, it may have sounded like Drake was taking aim at Jay Z when he said "Don't make me kill one of the GOATs for it," with everything that's happened since then it's become more and more clear that he's going at Kanye all over this loose track that became a bit of a hit. "Yeah, I mean you already wrote for us / Damn, n--, what's one more quote for us?" is about as direct as it gets, but there's more Kanye disses to be revealed over time.
Song: 6PM In New York (2015)
Nobody really knows why Tyga decided to tell VIBE Magazine that he doesn't like Drake, but thankfully he did because it got us all another timestamp song and four minutes of fire from the 6 God. "You need to act your age and not your girl's age," was the spiciest of the bars he sent at Tyga, but that came at the end of a four bar sequence and was really just the icing on top. Ouch.
Song: 4PM In Calabasas (2016)
Drake's beef with Diddy is a back and forth thing, and at the end of the day these living legends probably respect each other more than anything. But sometimes the town is too small for two sheriffs, and that appears to be the story here. Drake and Diddy even got physical at one point, supposedly, with Diddy maybe getting the upper hand. It didn't slow down Drake's success, and he finally addressed it all on another timestamp track that interpolates a few Diddy bars to make it clearer who he's aiming at here. "Even had the OG's tryna press me, ha-ha-ha, ha," he says at one point, mocking Puff's laugh before adding "No way out 'cause I'm already in it."
Song: No Shopping (2016)
Everybody thought he was crazy when he claimed Drake was dissing him secretly, but it turns out Joe Budden was right. When French Montana released his yearly summer smash back in 2016. On "No Shopping," Drake took an extended verse as a chance to send a few stray shots Budden's way, reminding him he's a one-hit wonder and even mocking his one hit, "Pump It Up."
Song: Two Birds, One Stone (2016)
This diss isn't exactly hidden so much as it's clever and nameless. Yes, Drake was clearly going at Cudi when he quipped "You were the man on the moon now you just go through your phases,” but by never saying Cudi's name he allowed himself to have plausible deniability. But the whole world knew Drake was shading Cudi on the track, including Cudi himself, who responded with a brief Twitter rant during a stay in rehab.
Song: Do Not Disturb (2017)
Much like Kanye, fellow Toronto native Tory is a constant target of Drake's secret attacks. This one on the final song of More Life isn't completely covert though, if you know what you're looking for. Drake had a nice play on words when he inserted Tory's real name, Daystar, into the track, saying "You overnight celebrity, you one day star / Swear I told you that I'm in this b-- for eternity / I am a reflection of all of your insecurities.” They've squashed the beef since then and even went on tour together, but that doesn't take the sting out of the bars completely.
Song: Jaded (2018)
Much like with Rihanna and "Fireworks," every Drake diss isn't directed at another rapper, or even another man. Last year the whole internet was convinced that Drake aired out his fling with British singer Jorja Smith, in a woe is me anthem, "Jaded." Whether it's truly about her is unknown, but what's hilarious is even in mid scorned rant, Drake stops to tell Jorja "Lord knows you still look amazing." We've all been there.
Song: Free Smoke (2017)
Drake had already claimed victory over Meek Mill by the time he decided to circle back for a victory lap on More Life, and he did so in style. "Free Smoke" was an exciting opener to the lengthy "playlist" of an album, and he spent the entire song letting everybody know he had free smoke for any opposition, he waited until the very last bar to poke Meek's corpse with a stick. "How you let the kid fighting ghostwriting rumors turn you to a ghost?" he asked, basically laughing at the entire controversy.
Song: The Language (2013)
While we never got a full on battle between Kendrick Lamar and Drake, there were plenty of little jabs between the two sprinkled into their music. It seems to mostly just be in the spirit of competition, and just a silent battle over the No. 1 spot and Drake had to launch a little attack on this banger. "I don't know why they been lyin' / But your s-- is not that inspirin'" he said to open the track, before offering "N-- downplayin' the money / But that's what you do when the money down" later on. It seemed to be a response to Kendrick's epic "Control" verse and was just one of many slights towards the rapper he gave an entire interlude to on his second album, Take Care.
Song: I'm On One (2011)
Much like Kendrick, Jay Z is another rapper Drake has seemingly always had a little war of words with over the years, and for mostly the same reasons. The top of the game is a small space, and guys get ornery there and don't like to share the limelight. So, when Drake said he thought "the throne" was for the taking, shortly after Jay and Kanye dropped Watch The Throne, it wasn't all that shocking. In fact, it was exciting because you just knew Jay would respond in kind.
Song: 8 Out Of 10 (2018)
When Drake and Pusha T had their own little battle, it was clear who Drake's real issue was with: Kanye West. So when he launched his subliminal attack on Scorpion, Kanye took the brunt of the damage while Drake mixed in some shots at Push. Between telling him "you just got rich again" and teasing that even Kanye's wife Kim Kardashian enjoyed Drake's music, he really pulled no punches.
Song: The Ride (2011)
This is kind of funny, considering Jay was on Drake's debut album just a year earlier, but things happen fast so I get it. In that year's time, Drake became the biggest act in music and when he said he sees "no threat in Yoda," it was clear he was letting Hov know he isn't worried about the competition anymore.
Song: Sh*t (Remix) (2013)
Once again, Drake found a chance in 2013 to throw some shade at Kendrick Lamar, all while Kendrick was fresh off the success of good kid, m.A.A.d city. "I hear you talk about your city like you run that," Drake rapped in his scene-stealing verse to start the track, before adding "And I brought my tour to your city, you my son there." It was just a quick reminder to Kendrick that even though he was hot at the moment, he still had a ways to go before he was on Drake's level, as far as fame goes at least.
Song: 6PM In New York (2015)
Yeah, Tyga wasn't the only one to get flamed on this timestamp track, Drake found time to shoot a few strays at Kanye as well. He waited until let in the track to let Kanye know "I'm never scared to get some blood on my leaves," a play on the title of Kanye's song, "Blood On The Leaves." The Calabasas duo wouldn't have full on beef for another couple of years, but it's clear their feud has been festering for a long time.
Song: 100 (2015)
Dissing a guy in his own city, on a song with one of his friends? Yeah, Drake really is The Petty King. Drake used The Game's single to let Kendrick know "I would have all of your fans If I didn't go pop and stayed on some conscious s--." Now, that's debatable, but Drake did have a pop turn after some more modest and conscious beginnings.
Song: Stay Schemin' (2012)
Drake has never fully confirmed that his verse on this Rick Ross track is for Common, but the timing and the personal digs here just about confirm it. This came after Common admittedly dissed Drake on "Sweet," and Drake claimed a quick victory thanks to bars like "Back when if a n-- reached it was for the weapon / Nowadays n-- reach just to sell they record." The track also became iconic for "B-- you wasn't with me shooting in the gym," a bar that got so popular Kobe had to eventually come forward and say that yes, his wife was with him shooting in the gym, along with being busy raising their kids.
Song: Over My Dead Body (2011)
Big Sean and Drake seem friendly for the most part, and even made a few dope songs together, including "Blessings," which went multi-platinum. But that doesn't make Sean exempt from Drake's wrath, and he got his dose on the opening track to Take Care. "Yeah, don't make me take your life apart, boy," he rapped, with emphasis on the word "boy" like Sean is known to do from time to time. Drake even found room to send a stray at Kanye in the exchange, adding "You and whoever the f-- gave you your start boy."
Song: Summer Sixteen (2016)
Compared to the haymakers he sent at him all over "Do Not Disturb," this was light and just a quick couple of bars from Drake to remind Tory that he's his son. "All you boys from the new Toronto wanna be me a little," probably stung the most because of how true it is. Drake's influence is clearly written all over Tory's music, and he's an admitted fan. Sometimes you just have to remind people who you are though, I guess.
Song: 5AM In Toronto (2013)
A lot has changed since 2013, so it's kind of hard to believe that somebody as massive as The Weeknd could be considered a "nobody," but that's exactly how Drake felt at the time. Supposedly a planned business partnership with his fellow Toronto native went left, and Drake responded with a few choice bars on this incredible timestamp track. "I show love, never get the same" Drake rapped. "Guess it's funny how money can make change outta n-- / For real, some nobody started feelin' himself." This feud was eventually squashed and they went on to make some more amazing music together, but the 6 God was clearly miffed at the time.
Song: Diplomatic Immunity (2018)
When Drake and Jennifer Lopez ended up on Instagram together, it seemed like a match made in tabloid heaven. The picture turned out to be just that though, a picture, and Drake even admitted he got curved on "Free Smoke" a few months later. Still, it ended up in some bars later, with J. Lo's fiancé, former baseball player Alex Rodriguez. "2017 I lost a J. Lo," he said before a clever play on words and Alex's nickname, "A-Rod," saying "A Rotterdam trip had me on front page though." Guess Drake doesn't plan on going to any Yankee games anytime soon.
Song: Omerta (2019)
Drake and Pusha's very real beef was the rap story of 2018, and Drake decided to dip back into the well when he dropped his first set of new songs of 2019 after the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Finals. "Last year, n-- got hot 'cause they told on me," he said in response to Push revealing he had a son the world had yet to find out about. He kind of has a point, even if I'm not sure if I'd consider that snitching. The song was fire, though.
Song: Lose You (2017)
The victory over Meek Mill was still fresh in a lot of people's minds when he dropped More Life in 2017, including Drakes. Meek had to watch Drake take a ton of victory laps at his expense on that album, and on "Lose You," he took an especially damaging one. "All you did was write the book on garbage a-- Rollies," he said, mocking Meek's affinity to not only rap about his watches but post them on Instagram as well. It's crazy that a watch worth over six figures can be "garbage," but Drake is living a different life than me.
Song: Can't Have Everything (2017)
Meek wasn't the only one Drake aimed at on More Life on the heels of that feud. Drake's frequent collaborator Rick Ross was especially vocal during the entire beef, and you can understand why, Meek is his artist, after all. Well, Drake didn't pull any punches, even when it came to his former friend, warning Meek and Ross "Tell your big homie I'm all for goin' there again." Just like with Meek, Ross and Drake are cool again now, but i wonder if they had a conversation about Drake saying "He ain't even die and I ball with his inheritance / All that's in my account at the Bank of America."
Song: Two Birds, One Stone (2016)
Before they launched all-out attacks at one another, Drake and Pusha T spent years circling one another as they inched towards an inevitable battle. While Drake usually resorted to a line or two here and there about Push, he dedicated a large chunk of "Two Birds, One Stone" to him in 2016 and it was especially potent. Nobody had ever really questioned Push's character up until that point, but Drake clearly didn't care as he went at Push and how he thinks he's El Chapo. Once this happened we knew the clash was going to finally happen soon, and when it did it more than lived up to the hype.
Song: Sicko Mode (2018)
Yes, the bars that lead to a legendary Twitter rant from Ye that would become front page news. Maybe Drake rapping about creeping down the block and hitting his lights weren't about Kanye and a ride around Calabasas, but Ye sure thought they were and he took it all to heart. Drake somehow got the clearance for "Welcome To Heartbreak" for So For Gone a few months later so I guess in the end it didn't even matter, but it sure did rattle Kanye.
Song: Two Birds, One Stone (2016)
It wasn't just Kid Cudi and Pusha T that Drake ate up on "Two Birds, One Stone," even his label boss got jabbed in the process. "Free C 5, why the f-- they got the boss waiting?" he asked at one point, speaking about Lil Wayne's album Tha Carter V. The album would finally see the light of day a few years later, so maybe it was Drake who helped put that in motion.
Song: For Free (2016)
You know how they say punctuation is everything? This is a perfect example. On a track that's meant for day parties and stuff like that, Drake drops a random, throwaway bar, "Last year I had Drama, girl not right now," and it seems mostly harmless. But if you know his history with DJ Drama, and the rumor that Drake slept with Drama's wife, well, it could be written like "Last year I had Drama girl, not right now" and seem to have a lot more venom to it, right? Yeah, exactly
Song: Club Paradise (2011)
Drake and Diddy's beef was apparently over the beat to a song, but it may have been brewing for a long while. Some fans think it extends back to 2011, where a few random bars just might apply to Diddy and signal some sort of schism, even back then. "And I would never make up names for myself / Then change the names that I just gave to myself," he rapped on this loosie. It could be nothing, but if the shoe fits, Drake will probably diss it.