Hold up, wait a minute. You thought he was finished?
Fresh off his appearance on Ellen, rapper Meek Mill dropped his brand new album Championships today, and the biggest story is “What’s Free” featuring JAY-Z and Rick Ross.
While Ross’ verse is making headlines for more problematic reasons, JAY’s direct reference to Kanye has become the subject of the most scrutiny. In particular the couplet:
“No red hat, don’t Michael and Prince me and ‘Ye /
They separate you when you got Michael and Prince’s DNA,”
Some outlets have read this as not so much a diss, but rather a plea for listeners to not pit one mega-successful black artist against another a lá Michael Jackson and Prince. A valid point for sure, and probably something that should have been practiced more by such outlets during the duo’s more harmonious Watch the Throne times.
But put into the context of the greater public one-sided war of words that Ye’s been directing toward JAY in the past, it could be read as much of a message to Ye himself. Given the public controversy around Michael and Jacko’s own paranoia surrounding how he sounds next to Prince, whereas Prince largely stayed elusive, except for the occasional tease.
Plus, considering JAY had a relationship with both Michael and Prince, the DNA line takes a different light as if JAY is the one of them who has both. Additionally, considering the rest of the verse surrounds JAY’s business savvy (like Michael) and artistic ownership (Prince), JAY leaves little room for Mr. West to be either in that particular metaphor.
Still, a midst the firestorm, JAY took to Twitter to clarify what he “meant” by that line:
The line clearly meant don’t pit me against my brothers no matter what our differences are (red hat) now go pick up Meek album . Drake and Meek on there together .
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) November 30, 2018
A diplomatic response for sure. However, this is far from JAY’s first rap beef. Over his 30+ year career, JAY has definitely expressed sentiments to the effect of “that line that sounds like a diss is clearly not a diss” or “that rhyme is not about that person” only for years later JAY to reveal that the original speculation was correct. The reason why JAY is such a Chessmaster of the hip-hop world is because he’s the foremost expert at these have-his-cake-and-eat-it-too moments, of which this could be another.
So, do you feel JAY dissed Ye?