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  • Writer's pictureDeJuan Wright

4 Things Your Brand Could Learn From The Kendrick Lamar vs. Drake Beef

Very seldom are we afforded an opportunity to experience a cultural event that hits a fever pitch so high—that just about everyone seems to have an opinion on it. To the pleasure of millions of hip-hop fans around the world—we recently experienced such a moment. Undoubtedly, the Kendrick Lamar vs. Drake beef has been one of the most discussed and contentious events of 2024. 

Not only has the series of diss songs traded between arguably—the two biggest rappers in hip-hop at the moment, thrown fans in a frenzy; the beef has become such a prime topic in the United States, even President Joe Biden’s campaign has used lyrics from Kendrick Lamar’s song Euphoria (a Drake diss) to express his disdain towards former president Donald Trump. 

Aside from the sheer entertainment value that fans are rewarded whenever a great hip-hop battle ensues for the world to witness; much like two great brands dissing one another in their ads for market share supremacy (e.g. the cola wars of the 80s between Coca-Cola and Pepsi), whenever two MCs battle on wax—both the victor—as well as the loser, leave behind valuable lessons that brands could learn from.

1. Only engage in battle with a competitor if the time is right 

Conform to the enemy’s tactics until a favorable opportunity offers; then come forth and engage in a battle that shall prove decisive.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War 

Throughout the storied history of battle rap in hip-hop, for every major battle that has occurred on wax—a clear victor has always been crowned by the court of public opinion. Whether it was KRS-One vs. MC Shan. Nas vs. JAY-Z. Or 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule—the culture has always declared a clear winner whose career ascended by coming out victorious on the microphone.

And this particular battle has been no exception. Serving as judge and jury, the streets and social media has had their say. And as of the time of this publication, Kendrick Lamar has been declared the clear and consensus champion over Drake in this battle between the two iconic MCs.

A big reason why Kendrick was able to come out victorious in the battle is because he mastered the art of timing.

From initiating the battle with his subliminal diss towards Drake on Future and Metro Boomin’s song Like That, to taking his time to reply to Drake’s overt disses towards him on his songs Pushups and the Taylor Made Freestyle; Kendrick Lamar perfectly orchestrated his attacks on Drake. And carried them out only when he was ready—despite fans and media personalities demanding he reply sooner. 

If a competitor publicly challenges your brand, like Kendrick, instead of instantly reacting in a manner that your competitor would anticipate—respond, by only engaging in the battle if the opportunity arises for you to carry out an efficient strike on your opponent where they are most vulnerable. 

2. Isolation could render you vulnerable 

The more you are in contact with others, the more graceful and at ease you become. Isolation, on the other hand, engenders an awkwardness in your gestures, and leads to further isolation, as people start avoiding you.” - Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power 

Make no mistake about it, the process of building a brand—like any other aspect of business—is a battle. The battle of branding just happens to consist of the battle of the mind. That is, the mind of consumers and just how they’ll perceive your brand compared to any alternative. 

Hip-hop battles also have a similar objective. Historically, the optimum outcome for an MC who participates in a rap battle is to show the world that they are the superior rapper—in hopes that their audience will perceive them more favorably and almost just as importantly—perceive their opponent more negatively not only as an MC—but in some cases, as a person (harsh, but true).

And like most battles, it often helps if you have allies who are willing to lend you their support. As Kendrick Lamar has had in his beef with Drake. 

Hip-hop artists like: Future, Rick Ross, Metro Boomin’, DJ Mustard, and many more have all publicly shown support to Kendrick in his disses towards Drake. Conversely, no major artist (up to this point), has come forth publicly in support of Drake in the beef.

The phrase strength in numbers exists for a reason. When possible, strategically forge sensical partnerships with other brands who could possibly strengthen your brand by influencing your target audience to perceive your brand more favorably by being associated with theirs. 

3. Appreciate being attacked

Being attacked is a sign that you are important enough to be a target. You should relish the attention and chance to prove yourself.” - Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies Of War

As crazy as this may sound, if you ever find your brand being attacked by a competitor—it’s actually a good thing! That’s because typically, brands only attack other brands whose position in the market they either covet; or those who they perceive as a threat. 

As Megan Thee Stallion stated on her song Hiss, “Everybody wanna kick it when you ain’t a threat.” 

Instead of viewing being dissed by another brand as a bad thing; take it as a badge of honor—as Drake should. When other brands come at you, it means that your brand is either in a position they desire, or you’re making strides that are making them uncomfortable. 

Use their attacks as simply another opportunity to show the world why you are the best at what you do. 

4. Be the brand of the people 

“He who becomes a prince through the favor of the people should always keep on good terms with them.” - Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince 

At their most reduced form, diss songs are lyrical debates. And the best way to win a debate isn’t by being the most factual debater—it’s by winning over your audience on an emotional level (when it comes to the masses, logic cannot compete with emotions). 

The move was considered monumental by millions of fans and influencers because it allowed them to monetize their reaction videos to the songs on social media platforms like: YouTube, TikTok, X, Twitch, and Instagram without having their videos taken down for featuring the song’s music. 

Although Drake has now also removed copyright restrictions for his diss tracks towards Kendrick, many fans have credited Kendrick for doing it first. 

Some reaction creators have said the moves have allowed them to make “Life-changing money” off of their reactions videos to the songs (especially Lamar’s song, Not Like Us, which has now become the most streamed hip-hop song in one day on Spotify—ironically, exceeding the record previously held by Drake, for his 2021 single, Girls Want Girls).

Think of ways that you could also grant your audience access to your brand in a way that could benefit their lives. This would go a long way towards influencing them to view your brand more favorably. Which could help your brand win the battle that matters most—the battle of their minds. 


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