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B Side, Music

Chart Success of “Not Like Us” Further Proves Kendrick Lamar Won

It was easy for Drake to become the internet’s punching bag thanks to Lamar’s masterful use of mockery and the inherent meme-worthiness of Drake’s public persona.

  • Melony Akpoghene
  • 14th May 2024

The rap feud between Kendrick Lamar and Drake has reached a new peak, with Lamar’s scathing diss track “Not Like Us” landing the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This is Lamar’s fourth chart-topping single.


“Not Like Us” is the culmination of a week-long lyrical sparring between two members of hip-hop’s presumed “Big 3”. Hip-hop has always been a competitive genre, with artists constantly trying to one-up each other in terms of lyrics, flow, and style. And in many ways, this feud is a reflection of that competitive spirit. It served as a much-needed shot of adrenaline for hip-hop as it currently is.


Lamar fired off a barrage of diss tracks, including “euphoria,” “6:16 in LA,” and “meet the grahams,” before dropping the aptly titled “Not Like Us.” Each track tackled various aspects of the rappers’ alleged rift, with Lamar leveling accusations of inauthenticity, cultural appropriation, and even sexual misconduct against Drake while Drake retaliated with domestic violence accusations against Lamar and his fiancée. A striking but not so surprising fact of the exchange is how both rappers resorted to trivializing serious issues and reducing women to pawns in a rap battle. It’s an enduring tactic in hip hop which they both reminded us of.


Since the release of “Not Like Us”, the internet has been on a field day with twitter and instagram teeming with memes and jokes at Drake’s expense. It was easy for Drake to become the internet’s punching bag thanks to Lamar’s masterful use of mockery and the inherent meme-worthiness of Drake’s public persona. In many ways, “Not Like Us” wasn’t just a diss track, it was a giant “troll”.






The fiery content of “Not Like Us” fueled its chart success. The track, produced by the legendary Mustard (to enhance “replay value”), garnered impressive streaming numbers, debuting at the top of the Hot 100 with 70.9 million streams. It had the highest first week sales for any song in 2024, with 510,000 units sold, with Taylor Swift’s “Fortnight” being the only song to outsell it, with 560,000 units sold. It also officially holds the record for the most single-day streams for any rap song in global Spotify history, knocking off Drake and Lil Baby’s Certified Lover Boy collab “Girls Want Girls,” which held this record ever since 2021 with 12.385 million streams.




Lamar’s earlier diss track, “euphoria,” also saw a surge in popularity, climbing to number three on the chart.



Drake wasn’t entirely absent from the charts. His response track, “Family Matters,” a rebuttal to Lamar’s “euphoria” and “6:16 in LA,” managed to snag the number seven spot.



However, the stark difference in chart positions suggests that, at least commercially, Lamar’s lyrical onslaught simply packed a stronger punch with cultural conversations currently dominated by the rapper K Dot. The commercial success of “Not Like Us” allows Kendrick to control the narrative.  By topping the charts, he positions himself as the victor in the eyes of many casual listeners. 


Kendrick’s lyrical ferocity throughout the feud earned him a tentative new moniker: the boogeyman. In hip-hop, the boogeyman gets thrown around for rappers who strike fear (or at least serious respect). A rapper so skilled and dominant that others avoid confrontation because they know they’ll be lyrically destroyed. Basically, the rapper you wouldn’t want to get in a diss track battle with. Think of past feuds like Ice Cube and N.W.A., 50 Cent and Ja Rule, Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, MC Eiht and DJ Quik, and the more popular ones — Jay-Z and Nas, Tupac and Biggie. These battles elevated the entire genre, and Kendrick’s relentless attack on Drake had a similar effect. Andre Gee in a Rolling Stone article likened it to “the great middleweight wars of the ’80s, when Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler, and Roberto Duran went round for round with flurries driven by competitive instinct and genuine disdain at the notion of not being seen as the best.”


It seems like the dust has finally settled. But, as we know, still waters often run deep, and it’s possible that this feud is far from over. In any case, hip-hop feels a little more vibrant, a little more alive and kicking. And for that, we can thank Kendrick Lamar.

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