Kendrick Lamar dunks on Drake and courts controversy with Dr. Dre at Juneteenth unity concert

The Compton-born rapper performed his hit No. 1 diss track "Not Like Us" five times

By Nardos Haile

Staff Writer

Published June 20, 2024 5:22PM (EDT)

Kendrick Lamar performs onstage during the Visa Cash App RB Formula One Team 2024 Livery Reveal on February 08, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Cash App)
Kendrick Lamar performs onstage during the Visa Cash App RB Formula One Team 2024 Livery Reveal on February 08, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Cash App)

Consensus has deemed Kendrick Lamar the unspoken, unofficial winner of the bitter rap feud with Drake.

The high-profile hip-hop battle between the Canadian-born rapper and the Los Angeles native amounted to numerous diss tracks like "Not Like Us," which became the No. 1 song in the country. A byproduct of the tit-for-tat war of words was how some said it perpetuated allegations of abuse and alleged parentage.

On Wednesday, a month after the battle's climax, Lamar held a Juneteenth concert at Los Angeles' Kia Forum called “The Pop Out: Ken & Friends." The night showcased unity among West Coast rappers and musicians like Lamar's special guests Dr. Dre, YG, Tyler the Creator, Roddy Rich, Schoolboy Q and Steve Lacy. “This is unity. Y’all just don’t know man,” Lamar said as the LA-born artists took a photo and said "One West," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

At the concert event, Lamar revived the beef by performing the viral diss track "Not Like Us" five times and even adding a verse to "Euphoria" stating how Lamar's influence on rap is unbeatable and adding an additional new line: “Give me Tupac’s ring back and I might give you a little respect," reports the New York Times. Variety reported that the reference was to a ring belonging to late West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur that an anonymous buyer purchased. It was later revealed last year to be Drake. The music event, which was live streamed on Amazon Music, showed Lamar performing three out of five of his Drake-centered diss tracks.

Later in the evening, the rapper covered one of Shakur's most popular songs "California Love" with rapper Dr. Dre, who produced the song. Dr. Dre helped introduce the lead-up to Lamar's final performance of "Not Like Us."

Lamar said during an encore performance, “Y’all ain’t gonna let anyone disrespect the West Coast, huh? Oh y’all ain’t gonna let nobody mock or imitate our legends, huh?” Throughout the night, the crowd had reportedly been chanting “OV-hoe,”  another line from "Not Like Us."

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Performing his hits like "M.A.A.d City,” “Be Humble,” “DNA,” “Element.,” “Money Trees,” “Swimming Pools,” “King Kunta” and “King’s Dead, Lamar's Juneteenth commemoration was lauded as a "celebration of Los Angeles unity,” albeit one with daggers pointed towards Drake.

However, despite the praise, many took issue with one of Lamar's special guests. Some have noted that while Lamar has called out Drake for alleged abuse of minors, having Dr. Dre on stage seemed to contradict some of his previous statements. Dr. Dre has a reported history of physical abuse towards women like journalist Dee Barnes and alleged abuse of his ex-girlfriend R&B singer Michel'le’.

Rolling Stone journalist Mankaprr Conteh tweeted and shared an interview she did with Barnes last year, "No matter what Dr. Dre does or who uplifts him, many of us won’t ignore the grave accusations and witnessed acts of violence against women at his hands, including journalist Dee Barnes, who I spoke with last year."

Prominent defense attorney, Olayemi Olurin said on X, "Why did Kendrick even bother to call Drake out for being a pedophile who surrounds himself with abusers on 'Not Like Us' if he was just going to call Dr. Dre — King of the Abusers — to introduce it?"

Another person online said, "So Kendrick brought out Dr. Dre, the man who beat women to a pulp, but I thought we didn’t like abusers??? What happened to that. This why I can’t take these n****s serious."


By Nardos Haile

Nardos Haile is a staff writer at Salon covering culture. She’s previously covered all things entertainment, music, fashion and celebrity culture at The Associated Press. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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